NATION

Analysis: Indian ID Tag Is Racial Profiling, Needs To Go

One identification tag says Fiji Indian Division. Another says Fiji Indian Circuit. The ID for Indo-Fijian talatalas (reverends or ministers) in the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma reminds us
23 Aug 2018 10:00
Analysis: Indian ID Tag Is Racial Profiling, Needs To Go

One identification tag says Fiji Indian Division.

Another says Fiji Indian Circuit.

The ID for Indo-Fijian talatalas (reverends or ministers) in the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma reminds us of a past that we prefer to stay buried.

The tags are still worn by the church’s Indo-Fijian clergy at the Bose ko Viti (annual conference) even though the issue was raised at last year’s conference.

The question of racial profiling was brought up because the 2013 Constitution says we are all called Fijians.

Lest we forget nationals from India are called Indians. Indo-Fijians denote those who are of Indian descent and citizens of this country.

The issue could come up again for discussion in this conference.

Either the church renames the tag Indo-Fijians or scrap it all. If we are all called Fijians there is no need to call a group by their ethnicity.

Indo-Fijian circuit Dudley in Suva can come directly under the mainstream division.

While the language barrier had necessitated the setting up of the Indo-Fijian division, the increasing use of English as the language of religious communication can be a great leveller. Many people from both sides of the racial divide can speak, write and comprehend basic English.

The plan to introduce Hindi and Indo-Fijian culture as a new subject at the Davuilevu Theological College can complement the one-banner move.

When members of the church become tri-lingual (English, iTaukei and Hindi) it would make the integration among the different races easier and quicker.

Outside of the church, another area that stands out like a sore thumb is the teaching profession where teachers join trade unions on ethnic grounds.

The Fijian Teachers Association (for iTaukei) and the Fiji Teachers Union (Indo-Fijians) perpetuate this division on racial lines. They are at odds with modern trends and realities.

The only way forward is to amalgamate the two unions and form a united front which will be more powerful.

While the challenge to form one organisation and integrate it is tough because of the political differences, this does not apply to the Methodist Church.

The church divisions work together in unity. The only difference is the language and name.

The language issue is being addressed. All is left to change now is the name. It’s an anomaly that needs fixing as soon as possible.




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