After the city council voted to outlaw caste-based discrimination, Seattle became the first US city to do so.
Kshama Sawant’s statement
The legislation’s author, councilwoman Kshama Sawant, stated that the struggle against caste prejudice “is inextricably tied to the struggle against all forms of injustice.”
In order to stop caste bias from spreading more widely in the US, the ban’s supporters argue that it is necessary.
Hindu society in India is split into tight hierarchical divisions by the nearly 3,000-year-old caste system.
Similar prohibitions against caste bias have recently been implemented on the campuses of American institutions, and Seattle’s law from Tuesday follows suit.
The only Indian American member of the Seattle city council, Ms. Sawant, asserted that discrimination based on race is not exclusive to other nations.
It is a problem that South Asian Americans and other immigrants deal with at work, particularly in Seattle’s tech industry and other cities nationwide.
The socialist Ms. Sawant discussed her upbringing in an upper-caste Hindu Brahmin family in India and the discrimination she experienced there.
The opposition to the bill
Some American Hindu organizations have opposed the bill, claiming it is unnecessary because US law already prohibits such discrimination.
The Hindu American Federation, based in Washington, DC, claimed in an open letter that although the ordinance’s objectives were admirable, it “unfairly singles out and targets an entire population on the basis of their national origin and lineage for differential treatment.”
They said there was little evidence of widespread caste-based prejudice and pointed out that Indian Americans made up less than 2% of the population of Washington State.
Despite the fact that caste discrimination has been outlawed in India since 1948, it still occurs, particularly among the Dalits, who were formerly referred to as “untouchables.”
The United States is Indians living abroad second-most favorite destination, according to the Migration Policy Institute think tank
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