Seattle turns into the primary U.S. metropolis to explicitly ban discrimination towards a person’s caste
Seattle has grow to be the primary metropolis in the US to explicitly ban discrimination towards a person’s caste. Seattle is among the largest hubs for tech corporations in the US, an trade using giant numbers of South Asian immigrants.
The Seattle Metropolis Council accredited an ordinance on February twenty first that makes Seattle the primary metropolis in the US to explicitly ban discrimination towards a person’s caste.
With 6 votes in favor and one towards, the ordinance amends protected courses within the municipal code and provides caste to different legally protected traits reminiscent of race, faith and gender id. The ordinance was sponsored by Kshama Sawant, an Indian-American politician elected on the Seattle Metropolis Council and member of the Marxist political get together Socialist Different.
Individuals victims within the metropolis of discrimination in employment, training, and housing primarily based on caste can now seize justice and search reparation.
Though not as widespread as in India, caste-based discrimination exists in the US, particularly within the office. “Caste discrimination is a widespread and more and more grave contributor to office discrimination and bias confronted by South Asian Individuals and different immigrants – not simply in different international locations, however right here in Seattle and throughout the US,” a petition circulated by Ms. Sawant within the lead-up to the vote reads.
A 2018 survey of South Asians within the U.S. discovered that 67% of Dalits, a inhabitants as soon as generally known as the “untouchables” below India’s centuries-old caste system, reported being handled unfairly at their American workplaces.
The State of Washington is residence to greater than 167,000 folks from the South Asian diaspora, or 2 p.c of the 7.6 million folks dwelling within the State, in line with the 2020 U.S. Census knowledge. The South Asian inhabitants, largely concentrated within the Larger Seattle space, is the fastest-growing main ethnic group in Seattle.
Seattle is among the largest hubs for tech corporations in the US, an trade using giant numbers of South Asian immigrants. Google as an illustration at present has over 4,000 staff in Seattle and over 7,200 staff within the state of Washington.
The U.S.-based Alphabet Staff Union representing over 1,100 staff at Alphabet, the mum or dad firm of tech big Google, shared a observe supporting the ordinance to ban caste discrimination in Seattle. The union already denounced in 2022 that “caste-oppressed staff face many boundaries all through the tech trade, together with at Alphabet,” after Google canceled a Dalit civil rights activist’s speak, including that caste is a “system of oppression analogous to racial discrimination.” It already requested Google so as to add caste as a protected attribute in its international code of conduct.
In 2016, the United Nations Particular Rapporteur on minority points acknowledged that at the least 250 million folks worldwide nonetheless confronted “appalling and dehumanizing discrimination primarily based on caste and related techniques of inherited standing.”
The time period caste refers to a hierarchical social system typically primarily based on the notions of purity and air pollution, in line with the rapporteur, with people positioned on the lowest rungs of a strict social ladder. The idea of caste system is primarily related to the South Asian area together with India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar, Maldives, and Hinduism which recognized 4 authentic, or castes, referred to as varnas.
Dalit means “those that have been damaged however are resilient.”
However at current caste has broadened its that means. It might be primarily based on both a non secular or a secular background and may be discovered inside numerous non secular and ethnic teams in all geographical areas, together with inside diaspora communities, in line with the United Nations.
India prohibits caste-based discrimination though it nonetheless stays an necessary subject within the nation.
In 2020, the California Division of Truthful Employment and Housing (DFEH), a state company charged with implementing California’s civil rights legal guidelines, filed a federal lawsuit towards Cisco Programs and two managers for discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. It alleged that managers at Cisco’s San Jose headquarters campus, which employs a predominantly South Asian workforce, harassed, discriminated, and retaliated towards an engineer as a result of he’s Dalit Indian. It was the primary time an American establishment was being held accountable for caste-based discrimination. Three months later, the DFEH nevertheless voluntarily dismissed the whole case.
Regardless of broad assist, the Coalition of Hindus of North America was towards the ordinance as a result of it “peddles bigotry and singles out the South Asian group through the use of racist, colonial tropes of ‘caste’ and ensures that our group is topic to particular scrutiny, thus denying our rights to freedom of faith and equal safety.” Different advocacy teams representing the Hindu group of North America such because the Hindu American Basis and the Vishva Hindu Parishad of America additionally argued the ordinance singled out the Hindu group.
For Hindus for Human Rights, nevertheless, the ordinance is “a victory for all concerned within the battle to get rid of caste and different types of bigotry from our world.” Ms. Sawant tweeted that “our motion has received a historic, first-in-the-nation ban on caste discrimination in Seattle! Now we have to construct a motion to unfold this victory across the nation.”
Just a few American universities together with the California State College System, Colby Faculty, Brown College, and Brandeis College have already added caste as a protected attribute of their anti-discrimination insurance policies in recent times.
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