Professor Wadan Narsey writes a personal view on racism in Fiji and highlights the racial dynamics a lot of us would have experienced in some form or another. A great read!
Kerosene and water, mixing slowly: the internal racisms (a personal view)
Professor Wadan Narsey
9 April 2014
“You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Mathew 7:5)
This is the third part of an article which began with the MIDA incident, premised on the allegation that Vesikula’s “kerosene and water don’t mix” statement was an expression of racism or “hate speech” against Indo-Fijians.
[Part I of the article pointed out that raising concerns about indigenous people lagging behind systematically, such as in education and commerce, and calling for Affirmative Action was not racism. Part II of the earlier article focused on the mutual prejudices or racism of Indo-Fijians and Fijians.]
This article, drawing on my own personal experience over the years, focuses on the many internal racisms, which might equally be described by Vesikula’s metaphor “kerosene does not mix with water” and his statement “race is a fact of life”.
I suggest, that on the contrary, both are being eroded as Fiji moves towards a multi-racial society, pushed along by the young folk especially, and the forces of globalization.
I conclude by suggesting that Fiji’s political leaders can either destructively perceive our multicultural diversity as “forces that divide us” (as our political dinosaurs have in the past), or they can constructively use the diversity as a wonderful asset that can enrich our lives, both spiritually and materially (as in the tourism industry).
I first cast stones in my own family glass house, which not only illustrates the racism of Gujarati against Hindustani (i.e. “non-Gujarati Indo-Fijians”), but also the great progress made within just one generation, of racial barriers breaking down, holding much hope for Fiji’s future.