Caste will now be a protected category at California State University so that “disadvantaged castes” will be protected under the university’s anti-discrimination policies. This comes after complains from young Indian students. Caste biases persist even among overseas Indian communities. In the US, one in four Dalits has experience physical or verbal attacks because of their caste.
Los Angeles (AsiaNews/Agencies) – California State University (Cal State, CSU) has decided to include disadvantaged castes in its anti-discrimination policy.
More than 485,000 students are enrolled in Cal State, many of them from South Asia and overseas South Asian communities. With caste as a protected category, anti-Dalit bias will now be targeted on Cal State’s 23 campuses and eight off-campus centres.
“One of our students brought our attention to caste discrimination as not being something that is happening far away, but something that is being dealt with daily by some of our students in their personal lives,” said Prof Dr Sarah Taylor, chair, Department of Social Work, CSU East Bay.
Cal State, one of the largest American public universities, is the first to adopt such a policy in the country.
This kind of issue is not new. In California, Cisco Systems, one of Silicon Valley’s technological giants, was sued by the State following a complaint by an Indian-born engineer who was “outed” by co-workers as a Dalit who gained entry to the Indian Institute of Technology, one of India’s most prestigious universities, only as a result of affirmative action benefitting members of Scheduled Tribes and Castes.
The Indian community in the United States numbers more than four 4 million, and like people back home, is divided in castes, a reality that is still hurtful for many.
An in-depth survey carried out in 2016 by Equality Labs found that 25 per cent of Dalits living in the United States suffered caste-related physical and/or verbal abuse. Among university students, one in three has suffered discrimination for the same reason.
Some 60 per cent of Dalits living in the United States reported being mocked in the workplace because of their caste.