Ethnocultural Empathy in A Pluralistic Society: Inter-ethnic Relationships of Javanese and Chinese Children in Surakarta

Taufik Taufik*
Department of Psychology, Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta, Jl A. Yani, Tromol pos 1, Indonesia

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© 2019 Taufik Taufik.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Psychology, Universitas Muhammadiyah Surakarta, Jl A. Yani, Tromol pos 1, Indonesia;Tel: 8156707945; E-mail:



The present qualitative research described the ethnocultural empathy existing between Javanese and Chinese children in a pluralistic population.

Materials and Methods:

Data was collected using focus group discussions and oral interviews. Sixteen students (boys and girls) of multi-ethnic schools in Surakarta of Indonesia participated in the present study.


Results indicated that (1) participants acknowledged that they had to feel what other people felt, and it is the beginning of ethnocultural empathy; (2) participants who had interaction-experiences with those from different backgrounds seemed to have high levels of ethnocultural empathy; and (3) at school, both ethnic groups were taught to respect each other’s culture.


The present study indicated that empathy had a strategic role in building social strength. Using empathy, each group understood and felt conditions of other groups.

Keywords: Ethnocultural empathy, Javanese, Chinese, Surakarta, Multi-ethnic, Pluralistic population.