Is caste discrimination so rampant in the US to warrant separate legislation?

Source– The post is based on the article “Is caste discrimination so rampant in the US to warrant separate legislation?” published in The Indian Express on 25th February 2023.

Syllabus: GS2- Diaspora

Relevance: Issues faced by Indian diaspora in US

News- Recently, Seattle passed a resolution in its city council against caste-based discrimination in Indian American social life.

What is the status and historical origins of the Indian diaspora in the US?

Indians are the second largest immigrant group in America after the Mexicans. They went there in the late 19th century, mainly as agricultural or railroad workers.

In the early 20th century, Indian students started sailing to universities like the University of California and Cornell.

Hindus were not always welcome in America in the initial years. There was a riot in Bellingham town near Seattle in September 1907 in which a mob white Americans attacked Hindus .

The situation has reversed now. Indians in America are now the most desired immigrants. They are now professionals, earned riches, and nation’s public life figures.

Is caste discrimination a reality among Indian-Americans today or is it a design to malign the community?

There are some vested interests with weak credentials and opaque funding sources. They lead this campaign against Indian-Americans.

These include organisations like Equality Labs. It produced a controversial report on caste discrimination in workplaces in the US in 2018,

There are enough federal and state legislations in the US that prohibit any form of discrimination based on national origin, ancestry, and ethnicity. Many transnational corporations too have strict guidelines with regard to such discrimination.

The Carnegie report on ‘Social Relations of Indian Americans’ suggests that more than half of all Indian-Americans do not identify with caste at all.

It dismisses the Equality Labs survey. It actually says that Indian-Americans as a group are the second most discriminated against in America.

Groups that champion caste discrimination are generally Hinduphobic. They are using this discrimination card to malign the Hindu religion.

Singling out Indian-Americans in the name of caste discrimination is in itself a discriminatory approach.

What will be the impacts of such groups on Indian immigrants in America?

Their politics may harm the entire Indian-American community. Apple has included caste discrimination as one of the prohibited aspects of employee behaviour.

Persons of Indian origin may have difficulties in getting jobs.

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