Half-caste - Fiji


Fijian people of mixed descent were called half-caste, kailoma or vasu. This started with British colonialism, and over time developed into a race conscious, segregated system of society. The colonial government viewed this as a “race problem.” It created a privileged underclass of semi-Europeans who lived on the social fringes in the colonial ordering of Fiji. This legacy continues to affect the ethnic and racial discourse in Fiji.

Kailomas or vasus were children born to a Fijian native and European or indentured laborers brought in by the colonial government to work on sugarcane plantations over a century ago. Over the generations, these half-caste people experienced a harsh, shunned and a bizarre social treatment from the colonial obsession with herding citizens into separate, tidy, racial boxes, which led to the separation of Fijian mixed-bloods from their natural families.

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