Indonesia is a multiethnic and cosmopolitan country. To realize a multicultural society, the variety of the Indonesian nation is employed as a feature, as the Indonesian nation’s identity. Different cultures complement each other, do not stand alone, and are even capable of adapting (flexibly) to each other in the arena of daily life. Musi Rawas Utara is one of the regencies in South Sumatra Province, Indonesia, with a diversified community in terms of religion and race. Cultural, religious, political ambitions, economic divisions, and educational distinctions are among the most widely felt throughout Indonesia, particularly in the Musi Rawas region. The goal of this study was to look at the intercultural understanding of ethnic youngsters in the Musi Rawas area. The demographics of this study include all youth ethnic groups in the Musi Rawas area. A purposive sample was used, with 75 participants drawn from three villages in Musi Rawas Utara Regency, South Sumatra. A nontest strategy was used to collect data in the form of a questionnaire. The research tool employed in this study was a questionnaire with four response options: strongly agree, agree, disagree, and strongly disagree. In this sense, it may be argued that the youth ethnic groups, Orang Rimba, in Musi Rawas Utara, have a good understanding of multiculturalism.

1. Introduction

Indonesia is a multiethnic and multicultural country. Indonesia is an archipelagic country with thousands of islands and a population of around 240 million people, which has a variety of natural qualities [1]. Indonesia is a multicultural country due to its extremely diverse population. Moreover, Indonesia’s ethnic, religious, cultural, and linguistic variety, from Sabang to Merauke, are ingrained in the country’s fabric [2].

In the framework of realizing a multicultural society, the variety of the Indonesian country is employed as a trait and as identity of the Indonesian nation. Rachmawati et al. [3] mentioned that diversity has evolved into a national identity. Diversity is not only an undeniable aspect of modern life but also a virtue that must be institutionally maintained.

The complex diversity can also be a trigger for conflict if people do not have an awareness of the values of multiculturalism. Most of the issues have occurred in countries with a wide range of cultural and linguistic differences [2]. The existing variety can act as a catalyst for conflict in people’s lives [4]. Nature’s character will shape the character and culture of a separate society [5]. In the case of Indonesia, there have been several diversity-related issues that arose since 1998–2003. Some examples include tensions between Chinese and Javanese ethnic groups [6]; conflict between indigenous and Chinese ethnic groups, which was initiated by the monetary crisis in 1998; interreligious conflict in Ambon in 1999; Sampit tragedy in 2001 that involved two tribal groups, Dayak and Madura tribes; and conflicts among Lampung’s indigenous peoples and a Javanese ethnic minority, known as a “Bungkuk” conflict and many more. In fact, Somantrie [7] summarized there were a total of 14 provinces that involved in conflicts that included about 3608 tragedies.

According to Firdaus et al. [2], Indonesia’s multicultural challenges seem never ending. In 2016 and 2017, a variety of multicultural topics garnered media prominence and generated controversy. The most recent conflict that has lasted more than 50 years is Papua conflict. According to Kaisupy and Maing [8], Freeport’s presence and racial profiling and racism against Papua students in Surabaya and Malang in August 2019 exacerbated this tension. In fact, this problem occurred due to the lack of multicultural understanding. Hermawan et al. [9] argued that young people will be morally degraded because of a lack of multicultural knowledge. Because of a lack of mutual understanding, values such as solidarity, respect for others, and collaboration will begin to wane.

Multiculturalism in Indonesia must set away SARA, which is frequently a group that believes its group is the greatest. This is what must be eradicated: the concept that no tribe or culture is superior to their own. Mutual respect and appreciation must be fostered among others so that disagreements between tribes or between tribes do not arise just because of differences in various sorts [10]. The diversity of arts and culture held by diverse Indonesian ethnic groups not only acts as a distinguishing identity but also acts as a cultural bridge that binds supportive communities with one another [11].

Multiculturalism is essentially a worldview that can then be turned into numerous cultural policies that promote the acceptance of religion, pluralism, and multiculturalism as realities in people’s lives. Multiculturalism can also be defined as a worldview that manifests itself in political consciousness [12]. Multiculturalism is more than simply a conversation; it is an idea that must be fought for to maintain democracy, human rights, and the well-being of people’s lives.

Multiculturalism is not an ideology that exists independently of other ideas. Multiculturalism necessitates the development of a collection of notions that serve as reference points for understanding and developing them in social life. To comprehend multiculturalism, a knowledge base of building concepts that are related to and support the presence and operation of multiculturalism in human life is required [13]. Indeed, the efforts to develop a multicultural Indonesia can only be fulfilled if the notion of multiculturalism is widely understood and the Indonesian people want to adopt and live by it [13].

Every individual who enters a community brings his or her own personality, including the culture he or she adhered to prior to becoming a member of the community or which he brought from childhood, so that individuals who gather in one large and diverse society frequently join and mingle with each other by bringing their respective cultures [14]. Tribal and religious culture, as well as national and official guidelines, influences our conduct and activities in everyday life. Different cultures coexisting complement one another, do not stand alone, and can even adapt (flexibly) to one another in everyday life [15]. Indeed, to expand the multiculturalism value through the nation, it is important to put Indonesian culture and multicultural into consideration.

Firdaus et al. [2] developed categories of a multicultural society according to Parekh. Indonesia multicultural society can be categorized as isolated cultures, cosmopolitan multicultures, and accommodative culture. Among the three, isolated culture is most abundant in Indonesia due to its location and the fact that few nonnatives move to the area, which can lead to a concentration of isolated cultures. It is also characterized by a lack of significant engagement with people of other cultures, due in part to the existence of geographical barriers. For cosmopolitan multicultures, it is characterized by cultures that merge; sometimes without borders, thus “group members” do not care about their own cultures and ideas. The other category is accommodative culture. It is the culture in which the majority of the population follows the culture of the dominant “subethnic” group. However, there are also cultures from another “subethnic” group that live together peacefully. Firdauz et al emphasized that in isolated culture, in the case that people from different cultures come into contact with one another, there is a high chance that this will lead to some sort of friction or conflict.

Musi Rawas Utara is one of the regencies in Indonesia’s South Sumatra Province with a diversified community in terms of religion and race. The Musi Rawas Community is made up of numerous ethnic groups, including Malay, Javanese, Minangkabau, Sundanese, Batak, and Balinese [16]. Among the ethnic groups, there is still a minority ethnic group known as Orang Rimba. Orang Rimba is a minority ethnic group on the Indonesian island of Sumatra [17]. Orang Rimba tribe community was initially feared by the broader population due to their lack of understanding of life’s boundaries [18]. The most intriguing aspect of the tribe that sticks out is its capacity to survive in the woods and use wild animals as a source of food and other essentials of existence by hunting [19].

Discrepancies in culture, religion, political aspirations, economic differences, and educational differences are among the most commonly perceived in Indonesia, particularly in the Musi Rawas area. With this diversity, it is anticipated that everyone would comprehend multiculturalism and that things that cause division will not occur. Unfortunately, Orang Rimba is considered isolated culture. Aside from geographical barriers, Orang Rimba isolated themselves from the outer world. They are uneducated, and the pattern of their life is still highly conventional. Regarding the theory, there is a potential that when it comes to contact with other cultures, the conflict will occur. Some studies have highlighted the importance of multicultural education implementation [2, 2023]. However, the previous studies view multicultural comprehension from literary studies. There is still a lack of research on how societies perceive multicultural knowledge. The number of studies involving members of specific ethnic groups is still low, despite the fact that ethnic groups are often cited as the focus of multicultural education efforts in an attempt to attain educational justice [20].

As a result, this study attempts to find out how Orang Rimba tribes, as one of the minority ethnics in Indonesia, perceive multiculturalism. Besides, it is the goal of this research to determine the prejudices of the potential conflict that may arise due to isolated culture.

2. Research Methods

2.1. Participants

The purpose of this study was to assess ethnic youths’ multicultural comprehension in the Musi Rawas area. This study’s demographic consisted of all ethnic youths in the Musi Rawas area. Purposive sampling was utilized, with 75 people drawn from three villages: Muara Tiku Village, Karang Jaya District, Musi Rawas Utara Regency; Sungai Jernih Village, Rupit District, Musi Rawas Utara Regency; and Sungai Kijang Rawas Village, Ulu District, Musi Rawas Utara Regency. They are all in the province of South Sumatra, Indonesia.

2.2. Instruments

The data were collected using a nontest technique in the form of a questionnaire. This study’s instrument was a questionnaire with four answer alternatives on a modified Likert scale: strongly agree, agree, disagree, and strongly disagree. The questionnaire indicates five multicultural indicators: culture, religion, political aspiration, educational differences, and economic differences. There were 25 different statements that present each of indicators.

2.3. Data Collection Procedures

The Rasch model was used to test the questionnaire, which was done with the help of the Winstep application. Table 1 provides the score interpretation model for the Likert scale.

The Rasch model was used to analyze the data, which were supported by Linacre’s Winstep software (2006). There are numerous processes to analyze the data in this study. First, the researchers examined the questionnaire answers using five-point Likert Scale values to calculate the average score of the Orang Rimba community’s comprehension of multicultural life. Each statement was assigned a value (strongly agree = 4, agree = 3, disagree = 2, strongly disagree = 1) to achieve an average score. The Rasch model can see the interaction between respondents and items at the same time. A value is observed in the Rasch model not based on its raw value, but on a logit value that reflects the probability of selecting an item in a set of respondents [25]. The following psychometric tools were employed in this study: instrument reliability (respondent and item), respondent and item validity, instrument unidimensionality, item detection bias, and accurate response quantity used.

3. Results

There are 25 different statements that indicated multicultural indicators. The evaluation employs a Likert scale with a maximum score of four questionnaire questions and a minimum value of one. When researchers need to collect data, they must ensure that a questionnaire is an appropriate tool for the job.

The summary findings of individual or responder data and items/questions are given in Tables 2 and 3 and Figures 1 and 2. Individual dependability is calculated as 0.87 with a separation of 2.53, whereas item reliability is calculated as 0.92 with a separation of 3.31. These findings also reveal that the individual dependability of Cronbach’s alpha is 0.93, which is greater than the minimum value of 0.7. This demonstrates that the item’s dependability is fairly high. The individual separation index was calculated to be 2.31. The inability to separate persons into more than two strata can be caused by a lack of high-quality individual separation items.

The item’s high reliability, on the other hand, shows that it is adequate and may be utilized to do actual research. Individual reliability of 0.87 and item reliability of 0.92 indicate that the consistency of respondents’ answers is adequate, and the quality of the items in the instrument is extremely good. Value of people’s reliability and item reliability: 0.67: weak, 0.67–0.80: acceptable, 0.81–0.90: excellent, 0.91–0.94: excellent, and >0.94: very good. Based on the scores of high person reliability (0.54) and item reliability (0.80), it is possible to conclude that the consistency of the responses from the respondents is poor, but the quality of the instrument’s items is good [26].

Being trustworthy is what reliability entails. A measuring instrument is said to be dependable if its measurement results are relatively consistent [27]. Based on Cronbach’s alpha, the reliability of the test instrument produced in this study was 0.93, which falls into the very good category (0.9, −0.94 = very good).

With a separate item value of 3.14, H = [(4 × 3.14) + 1]/3 = 4.52 rounded up to 3, indicating that there are three types of questions: difficult, medium, and easy.

The outfit mean square, outfit z-standard, and point measure correlation are the metrics used to determine item accuracy [28]. Values that are outside the bounds of statistical correctness show response patterns that require more investigation. This information table may be shown in the Winstep program using the person fit sequence function, sorted from unfit to fit [29].

According to Table 4, because the Outfit Mean Square suitability value is (MNSQ) 0.5, MNSQ 1.5, it is known that the improper Outfit Mean Square response outcomes include responders with 56, 25, 37, 34, 3, 51, 26, and 45. While many other respondents are included in the outfit Z-standard aspect, 70, 40, and 57 who match the measurement sample requirements are regarded as eligible since the outfit Z-standard (ZSTD) value is −2.0 ZSTD +2.0.

Then, the point measure correlation values, one of which is 25, 71, and 31, exhibit an unexpected response pattern. The criteria employed to verify the suitability of items that do not fit (outliers or misfits), namely, outfit means square (0.5 MNSQ >1.5), outfit Z-standard (−2, 0 ZSTD +2.0), and point measure correlation (0.4 Pt Corr size 0.85), did not suggest a problem. In other words, all questions are thoroughly understood by all responses, and there are no misconceptions [30].

The pattern of responses can be seen in the Guttmann scalogram table (Table 5). There are commonalities in responses among the 75 respondents with the highest ability, one of whom being respondent no. 48. 52 and 32 also have the same pattern of answers. This time, there are not many commonalities in the responses of the respondents. The scalogram shows that the response pattern is erratic and does not correspond to the answer. This also demonstrates that the respondents tend to agree with the statement on some items (earning a high or challenging item score), while refusing on others (earning a low or easy item score).

This could be because the respondents were unmotivated to react to the scale at the time. Because of their limited motivation, they respond inadvertently. As a result, depending on their attitude when responding to the item, their responses varied and were inconsistent. This, however, had little effect on the overall response results [31].

According to Hidayat et al. [32], those with low thinking ability will have trouble understanding the statement items on the scale. Their response pattern cannot be replicated due to the misunderstanding of the sentence. Second, responders use certain techniques to react to statement items, such as responses including social propriety. On issues deemed sensitive, they will attempt to demonstrate that they are ideal social beings, while on items deemed nonsensitive, they will provide honest comments [33].

4. Discussion

The results of the study indicate that Orang Rimba tribe who took part in the study has a high level of awareness and comprehension of diversity. They also have a strong tolerance for diversity and differences. This can be seen from the choice the respondents chose regarding the five multicultural indicators. Most of the respondents from the three villages chose between strongly agree (4) and agree (3) to respond to the statements that represent multicultural understanding in the aspects of culture, religion, political aspiration, educational differences, and economic differences.

Their agreement on the statements that describe multiculturalism value practice indicates their multiculturalism understanding. It also represents their willingness to accept the differences that occur in their society. Multiculturalism entails not only living peacefully amid variety but also being able and willing to respect, accept, and acknowledge societal differences [2, 34, 35]. Budirahyu emphasized that multiculturalism refers to cultural policies that emphasize the acceptance of the existence of cultural or ethnic (multicultural) diversity that exists in people’s lives, concerning the values, systems, culture, habits, and politics that they hold. Moreover, tolerance grows in importance as people realize the value of multiculturalism [35].

In terms of the religion aspect, almost all the respondents have the same perception toward the third point in religion indicator. It was stated that regardless of one’s religious affiliation, everyone has a moral obligation to treat people with respect. It means there is no reason for society to be tainted by differences in opinions, and we must treat each other with respect regardless of our differences of opinion. In fact, all the respondents gave a very agreeable response in all places that were used as objects of research. With this finding, prejudice toward ethnic minorities is shattered. According to this study, regardless of how conventional their lifestyles were, the participants demonstrated a multiculturalism awareness.

The finding is in line with what Fidiyani [36] found during her study about religious tolerance practice in one indigenous community in the village of Aboge in Cikakak, Wangon, Banyumas Regency. In the middle of a conflict, there is almost no conflict that stands out as a conflict in the Aboge Community, which has different beliefs from most religious people (in general, Islam) but still lives in peace. Another study that is also relevant is the study from Hemafitria [37]. Her study on one ethnic community in Mempawah indicated that the community already understands multicultural awareness as knowledge of the existing culture, which must be regarded as a necessity that generates an attitude of respect, respect, and tolerance. Harmi [38] also showed that indigenous residents of Sindang Jaya Village, Sindang Jati Village, and Suro Bali Village r have a high level of multicultural awareness. In addition, the cultural diversity of the Dayak and Banjar tribes contributes to harmony among the two indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo. They are all on the same island and treat one other with mutual respect and tolerance for differences in culture [39]. To summarize, the strong preservation of cultural value is the driving force behind the awareness of religious variety, which in turn has an effect on the harmony between different religions. The indigenous community, on the other hand, tends to be tolerant and open to new ideas. They can tolerate the variety of principles, but they cannot accept those that assert to be the most correct.

However, in terms of education, according to the reply, there is one issue that is undesirable. The statement that is legal to help in the sphere of education does not take into account the educational aspect. Some but not all respondents overwhelmingly disagreed with the statement, according to a survey. A conclusion might be drawn from this that the respondent’s social experience is inconsistent with the claim. To put it another way, individuals still prioritize education when deciding how to help others. Many people are reticent to offer aid to those who are less educated than themselves or who are in a similar position to them. The study from Kołodziej [40] can be the insight for this phenomenon. According to Kołodziej, students with pedagogy background of education tend to have a higher level of willingness to help others. This makes sense than to accept that one with certain educational background has more willingness to help others. Notwithstanding, it is important to consider that helping behaviour involves a giver and a taker. When two people are involved, there is one provider and one recipient. Help can be one-sided, if resources only move from the giver to the receiver, or two-sided, if the receiver also helps [41]. In fact, a focused investigation into this phenomenon is required.

The same thing goes to the culture indicator. Interestingly, a number of people in each village disagreed with the assertion in the questionnaire that people’s interpersonal connections are coloured by their cultural values. The majority of respondents, on the other hand, believe that cultural values play a significant role in the association. This is evident from the overwhelming majority of responders who agreed with this assertion. Future research indeed needs to be conducted regarding this contradictory phenomenon.

5. Conclusion

Based on the data analysis results, it is possible to conclude that the items contained in the degree of multicultural awareness of ethnic groups can be classified into three types based on their level of difficulty, namely, difficult, medium, and low items. Following the completion of various stages of testing, Rasch’s analysis, which explained (1) person size, (2) Cronbach’s alpha value, (3) person reliability value and item reliability, and (4) infit MNSQ and outfit MNSQ, it can be concluded that the level of multicultural understanding of the Orang Rimba tribe in Musi Rawas Utara Regency can be measured. This signifies that all respondents strongly agree with the statement about the multicultural indicators presented in the questionnaire. This demonstrates the Orang Rimba tribe’s high level of multicultural sensitivity in Musi Rawas Utara.

Data Availability

The data used to support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon request.

Additional Points

Implication. The result of the study is expected to educate wider ethnic groups. Despite their educational background and their conventional way of living, the youth of Orang Rimba who participated in this study showed a high level of multicultural understanding. They demonstrated strong tolerance for diversity and differences. It is recommended that educational parties and government support the Orang Rimba tribe’s education distribution. A larger society must also be educated; although the Rimba tribes are still living conventionally, they deserved to have better treatment. Orang Rimba’s strong level of multicultural understanding must be a lesson for more educated community to live in harmony. As a result, multicultural education must be promoted and taught in a variety of community groups across Indonesia. Limitation. The data in this study were collected only from the Orang Rimba tribe in three villages in the Musi Rawas Utara District. Further study may be conducted on the Orang Rimba tribe in additional places, as well as using a variety of other research instruments. Besides, this study measured the multicultural understanding of the respondents by using a questionnaire. It is suggested that the future research can highlight the effect of the way certain ethnic perceives the multicultural aspect and their practice of multicultural understanding.


This research is a part of the responsibility of a lecturer.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.