South Asian Americans and others who opposed adding caste to the non-discrimination policy on California State University campuses say they are facing retaliation.
In an op-ed published by Religious News Service, they say they’ve been inundated with threats and harassment on social media.
The 23 campus system this year became the first to ban discrimination based on caste, a term that applies to a social hierarchy present only in South Asian countries.
“They label us bigots, dox us and demand that the names of all signatories on our petition be publicly revealed, ” the article by Praveen Sinha, Sunil Kumar, Suhag ShilaShare stated. “We are mocked in cartoons falsely alleging that our opposition to the CSU vote is rooted in a religious compunction to discriminate against our colleagues and students.”
The 80 wrote a strongly-worded letter opposing the policy. They argued existing law already prohibited such discrimination and said adding a law that only applied to Hindus and Indians was discriminatory in itself.
“It pretty much puts us in a targeted category that ‘these are different people,’” said Sinha. “And I think that federally it’s prohibited,” said Sinha to Inside Higher Ed.
Others, however, in the South Asian community said discrimination based on caste is real and needed to be addressed.
“I was experiencing discrimination within the university and outside the university at the community level,” student Prem Pariyar said. “My ancestors, my dad, my mom, my grandparents, for generations have been experiencing caste discrimination … and there was no conversation about that.”
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