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Seattle is the first city in the United States to outlaw caste discrimination

Seattle is the first city in the United States to outlaw caste discrimination

Seattle is the first city in the United States to outlaw caste discrimination

Seattle is the first city in the United States to outlaw caste discrimination

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  • Proponents of the prohibition argue that it is necessary to prevent caste bias from becoming more common.
  • In India, the caste system has been in place for almost 3,000 years.
  • It is faced by South Asian American and other immigrant working people in their workplaces.
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Seattle: Following a decision by the city council, Seattle has become the first city in the United States to outlaw caste discrimination.

Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, who drafted the law, said the struggle against caste bias “is deeply connected to the fight against all forms of oppression”.

Proponents of the prohibition argue that it is necessary to prevent caste bias from becoming more common in the United States.

In India, the caste system has been in place for almost 3,000 years and separates Hindu society into rigid hierarchical groupings.

The Seattle legislation voted on Tuesday follows similar bans on caste bias that have been implemented on US university campuses in recent years.

“Caste discrimination doesn’t only take place in other countries,” said Ms. Sawant, who is the only Indian American on the Seattle city council.

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Caste discrimination in working place

“It is faced by South Asian American and other immigrant working people in their workplaces, including in the tech sector, in Seattle and in cities around the country.”

Ms. Sawant, a socialist, has previously spoken of her upbringing in an upper-caste Hindu Brahmin family in India, where she witnessed similar discrimination.

Some Hindu American organizations have argued that a ban is unnecessary because US law already outlaws such discrimination.

In an open letter, the Washington DC-based Hindu American Federation argued that while the ordinance’s intentions were admirable, it “unfairly singles out and targets an entire population on the basis of their national origin and lineage for differential treatment”.

They stated that Indian Americans made up fewer than 2% of the population in Washington state and that there was a minimal indication of widespread caste discrimination.

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Caste discrimination has been illegal in India since 1948, yet, discrimination remains, especially among the Dalits, who were originally dubbed “untouchables”.

According to the Migration Policy Institute think tank, the US is the second most popular destination for Indians living abroad.

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Seattle council to vote on law banning discrimination
Seattle council to vote on law banning discrimination

Caste discrimination is a serious issue in the US. With South Asian...

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