As the US stirs around the conversation of racial discrimination, a unique topic emerges on the national floor – the discussion to ban caste discrimination in the United States. India, the nation of which many of the Indian American citizens descend from is a caste-based society that has historically categorized their citizens by castes. As stress about racial discrimination and mistreatment of disadvantaged citizens is brought up, some Democratic politicians suggest a law to ban caste discrimination in the United States as well. Although this suggestion has been well received as a push for equality and human rights, some Indian American citizens object to this discussion.
The Desi American Policy Center is a nonprofit organization that works to bring awareness to the issues of caste-based social injustices in India and overseas. Their efforts have presented awareness to the issues, and conversations such as legal initiatives in the US have been started. With the hope of the complete ban of caste-based discrimination, many politicians are getting on board. California State Assemblywoman, Ash Kalra has proposed a bill to make discrimination illegal in California and to educate public officials on the issue of caste-based discrimination.
However, as more pressure is placed on the issue of banning caste discrimination, the Indian American community has presented many objections for various reasons. One of the major objections stems from an idea that the caste system is a culturally important principle to members of the Indian American community. This would require them to eliminate a key part of their cultural identity. Another objection originates from the idea that the caste system in India has changed and changed drastically throughout the past few years, into a more accommodating and relaxed system in comparison to how it was in the past.
Stemming from the conversation of making caste discrimination illegal in the US, a topic of social justice has been brought up. The idea of all citizens being equal and free of persecution has brought many citizens onto the same page, but there are definitely drawbacks to this conversation in terms of the feelings of some members of the Indian American community. Although there is work to be done to end the discrimination people face based on caste, it is crucial that steps are taken that do not create greater issues or instill negative feelings in the community.