Ethnic, Religious Identity

canstockphoto9530586In paradise some people still associate ethnicity with the supposed religion of a person.

We often hear these examples on radio talk shows and radio announcers fail to denounce this practice. I find it fatiguing and embarrassing hearing people say “that Catholic man/woman” when referring to a Creole. You may hear similar association when people speak of an Indian descendant person, they may say “that Hindu man/woman“.

It is frustrating in this day and age, (we are in 2015), that small-minded people still think this way. Where is the national mindset ? A Creole is not necessarily a Roman Catholic, the person could be an atheist or a person adhering to a totally different religion. Why do people still need to automatically fit people into religious categories here ?

When nationals are living overseas they refer to themselves as Mauritians but here on paradise they fall-back into communalism trap. This is most frustrating when you are in a young country and the nation building process is ongoing. Maybe a good dose of civic training is required to make people understand that it is rude to refer to people in that way. Show some respect for your citizens and name them as man or woman, Mr, Mrs or Miss, in short as a fellow human.

3 thoughts on “Ethnic, Religious Identity”

  1. A great majority cannot imagine someone existing without a religious identity. I do not adhere to any religion, but in Mauritius because of my name and ethnicity, I get automatically pigeon holed. To be honest, I am guilty of having done that as well. It’s probably because I have grown up in a society where religion plays such a central role, and I have been conditioned since I am a kid to think that way.
    But then so many decisions taken in our country is done on the basis of religion – best loser system for MPs, a vice-president that should be of Tamil faith (I think that’s what I heard) … etc… how do you then expect people to dissociate themselves from the idea that religious identity is something very personal and also not compulsory, when our leaders cannot set the right example?

    1. Your experience of this is interesting. The various religions are given much importance and space here especially on prime-time TV. On the one hand we can applaud the freedom that religions receive here on the human-rights aspect. However, people from the EU probably find it very strange that there is yet not separation of State matters and religion. I suppose that is why tourists are amazed at the religious and cultural fervour that can be seen demonstrated in public at various times of the year. In many EU countries religion has been relegated to the privacy of the individual and does not receive much publicity. Probably, with time, the younger generations will not carry and continue the ethnic and religious identity. With the increasing mixed-marriages there will come a time when such an identity will fade away and we will see the mauritianism factor ahead of communalism one.

  2. We have that same situation here and when you bring up the subject – no one understands what you’re talking about. If I dare to correct them, I get a blank stare in return.

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