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Jakarta Post

'They label us with degrading prejudices': How Papuan students deal with everyday racism

The Jakarta Post Image
Students raise their hands at a Papuan student dormitory on Jl. Kalasan 10 in Surabaya, East Java, on Saturday as security officers and members of mass organizations harass them after reportedly finding a discarded Indonesian flag near the building. (Antara/Didik Suhartono)
Gemma Holliani Cahya and Benny Mawel
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Jakarta/Jayapura   ●   Sat, August 24, 2019

For many Papuans, being able to study on the island of Java — home to the nation’s top universities — is both a privilege and a curse.

With limited access to higher education in the provinces of Papua and West Papua, many young Papuans decide to leave their hometown and migrate to major cities in Java, including Surabaya in East Java and Jakarta, to get a better education.

However, that opportunity, given only to a lucky few, also comes with a price: having to deal with everyday racism making their lives more difficult.

Andi Marani, 26, a native Manokwari who has been living in Yogyakarta for the last eight years, said that while he enjoyed the city and had made strong and loving friendships with fellow students from various cultural backgrounds, as a young Papuan, he also found it challenging to find a place to live there.

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