Kalpana - The Year 2020 has given us new terms to learn, understand, and fight for. First, it started with COVID-19: pandemic, social distancing, quarantine. Then came Black Lives Matter, brought into the spotlight when people took to the streets to fight for the human rights of visible minorities abused and killed by police. And now, for people in India, "nepotism" came to the front pages when Sushant Singh, a 34-year-old talented and versatile Bollywood actor committed suicide because of his depression as a result of it. His untimely death shocked the media and the common people.
Charo - Nepotism is not a new word. It originated in the 1600s, from the Italian word “nepote”, which means nephew. It originally referred to the privileges bestowed on the Popes’s nephews, who, in many cases, were their illegitimate sons. Today, it refers to privileges that people in positions of power bestow on their own relatives, friends, or peers. Unfortunately, it's still a very common practice, and it is indeed a form of discrimination.
Kalpana - Taking over an entire industry or ruling by favouritism is unfair and abusive, and eventually makes it impossible for the common man to enter and succeed in any field. They are basically stealing opportunities that legitimately belong to enthusiastic men and women who are legitimately worthy of the jobs being offered, or the public funding that is being channeled.
Charo - Definitely, it is stealing — stealing people’s dreams, people’s opportunities, people’s future. That young Indian actor, Sushant Singh, shouldn’t have had to die. He should have never had his hopes devoured by a ruthless industry that considers not art nor talent, but name and position. It's a true crime. One that happens everyday, everywhere.
Kalpana - I have seen people get frustrated when someone cuts in line to get a coffee. That frustration may go away, but it's still a dishonest and unfair behaviour. Nepotism and favouritism are somewhat like cutting the line, a line where some people actually respect each other and wait for their moment. This practice can be dangerous to a community. Maybe some readers can relate, because they have seen promotions happen in front of their faces, and it never seems to be their turn, and the selection procedures are questionable, without transparency.
Charo - I agree. When you realize that people in higher positions are always the same, and that your moment never comes, you start looking for a different place to live. This creates a transient community and a transient community can’t have warmth, colour, or personality.
Kalpana - Giving opportunities to friends and family may look nice, but please look at the dark side. I have heard many stories about favouritism in the workplace in Fort St. John. A friend of mine joined a company at the same time as a coworker, but she was denied a promotion because she was not a friend of the hiring group. This became a huge setback in her immigration process to bring her husband to Canada. As a result, she has been staying alone for two years, and has put everything on hold just because she was not friends with the management team.
Charo - The terrible part is that, for many, this nepotism adds weight to other kinds of discrimination, like race, sexual orientation, and age. They end up losing all hope.
Kalpana - Things are hard enough for common people to survive and lead a decent life. Crushing their dreams and blocking their opportunities is not humane and it is not decent.
Charo Lloret is from Spain; Kalpana Loganathan is from India. They reflect on their experiences immigrating to Fort St. John.