On June 30, 2020, the California Fair Housing and Employment office filed a case against Cisco in the federal court in San Jose. This landmark case, filed on behalf of an employee of Cisco, charges his immediate supervisors, from the so-called upper castes, with discrimination allegedly against him on the basis of his caste. A synopsis of the case and the larger context of discrimination at the workplace against Dalits is available in the Los Angeles Times (California sues Cisco alleging discrimination based on India’s caste system) and other media reports on the issue. Online discussions that followed the lawsuit demonstrate the practice of caste among the Hindus in daily life. The testimonies that we have collected bear out such practices in the USA.
Social, cultural, political and economical lives of the Blacks in the USA and the Dalits in the USA and India draw a lot of parallels. The most unfortunate thing is that the practice of caste is made invisible to the non-Indians in the USA because the so-called upper caste dominate social, cultural, political and economical domains. They successfully projected Indians as a monolithic ethnic population in the USA. Misled the entire American population with the dubious model minority and myth of meritocracy.
Under the leadership of the Ambedkar King Study Circle (AKSC), a community organization, started in 2016, working on issues of social justice for Dalits, we have documented caste-based discrimination which has long been an unacknowledged problem in the US. Also, please see the ongoing lecture series on caste.
Ms. Isabel Wilkerson wrote in her new book, Caste, that she introduces Dr.B.R Ambedkar as Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr of India to a Black airport security officer. By knowing our common leaders and learning from our movements, we are in a right historic juncture to pull both anti-caste and anti-racial movements to uphlod the social justice.