If this is accurate, that's pretty messed up. If a private company, especially one of Cisco's stature knew of any form of harassment and then decided that this type of harassment is fine because its not technically illegal they should be punished. Harassment at work for any reason is never ok, work should be a space where you are judged on your productivity level and attitude, not on the place of birth of your ancestors.
On paper discrimination shouldn't happen but IRL it does everywhere.
We shouldn't jump to conclusions. If it went to legal, I would venture to guess that people were at least told to cut that shit out. Legal isn't very tolerant of these things because they know there's liability exposure even if it's not illegal.
Indian caste system is probably the longest running abuse,racism, human rights violation in the human history. Even,now in some parts of the country people from lowest caste are made to carry human waste on their head.
After independence,thanks to rights offered by constitution & reservation by governments to repent the sins; many from lower caste were able to get educated.
Inequality is often perpertraited by people at the top of the food chain and in the case of caste system its been Brahmins and those acknowledged by them. Brahmin patriarchy is the deep state in India, do a quick search about top CEOs in India, Majority of Company auditors are Brahmins so the company/tax laws are often dictated by them (I just stated one example of brahmin patriarchy w.r.t context of the article).
Ask the lower caste team members of any large IT company in India e.g. TCS, Infosys led by a Brahmin manager(who is not an atheist); you'll hear about discrimination they face.
At the same time, Ex.Brahmins (Brahmins who have denounced their affiliation to caste system) have been one of the top voices in support of human rights & equality this includes freedom fighters, newspaper publishers, several leading luminaries, economists, Nobel laureates and top scientists who have left India for good.
Is the religious component that large? I'd assume that it's simple ingroup/outgroup, like most discrimination.
You don't need to believe that your group is special by divine ruling, you just need to believe that you'll get a better personal outcome if you strengthen people that are like you, as they'll hopefully do the same for you.
1. Like many other religion, basis of caste system in Hinduism is that lower caste people came from supposedly less important organ & upper caste people came from more important organs.
2. People from upper caste perform cushy jobs, have access to education and all amenities. People from lower caste literally have to carry shit of upper caste people on their head. Obviously caste is hereditory!
Now any tell that to anyone who says 'Hinduism is not a religion', they would say 'Caste system was not hereditory, but way of job management'; but they will have no answer or tell a lame excuse when you ask them "Why caste attrocity exists till date, would you help uprooting caste system and make it illegal? or better will you let your son/daughter marry a lower caste person?"
And there are people who staunchly believe in the caste system as the core of their belief system, so much so that honor killings happen even in western countries by people of Indian/Subcontinent origin; Yes honor killings happen in India almost every other day.
So yeah, casteism cannot be taken apart from religion/ideology.
So which company/tax laws are anti Dalit? The only law about casteism is ridiculously anti Non-Dalit. They can jail anyone with just a complaint, no proofs are required. You have to fight in the court to get out of jail, not go in the jail.
Do you mean that jail where two-third of prisoners are Dalits, tribals and from Other Backward Classes (OBCs), 19% are Muslims?
Or are you talking about the prison/judicial system which is statistically proven to be Brahminical.
India has 1bn+ people, you can't generalize this. There are bunch of Brahmin people at higher level who actively work to uplift others and they do this without being atheist. There are 12 types of beliefs defined in Indian spirituality, it's not binary as in atheist vs believer.
Also, food for thought - are all Brahmins in India are still privileged to earn status of CEOs and managers? The amount of caste based reservation in education to jobs - it's hard for Brahmins to get a seat in college or take a job nowadays, still if these people are on top - do you think it's only some privilege? You are wrong here.
Please provide both the sides on platforms like HN or some brahmins in india will have to have their own version of BLM - "Brahmin Lives Matter"
Have you seen the matrimonial ads in India?
Why am I getting a feeling that you are a Brahmin and you are not happy that people from lower castes have their own quotas in govt jobs/education.
and no, I'm not unhappy for the said reason. If you read my comment properly, I was pointing out the fact that mentioning only one side of the story, because one fell victim to the caste system, on a forum like HN is wrong as it provides very different picture. Most of the people reading this have no clue what it's like. Be responsible.
 Is just the caste violence, even for that data is not complete.
Should we talk about discrimination then?
Shame is good, it will help you change.
I am referring to guys from the southern part of India where I am from. Its not a common practice there.
My interpretation of this is these folks have a perceived sense of superiority feeling about their caste and having it in the last name is a form of boasting.
In South India there has been a social movement in the last few decades to allocate quotas for "lower" caste members in universities and govt jobs to stop the domination of brahmins (merits, or lack there of, of the quota system is whole different topic). So having Iyer or Iyergar as last name would be frowned upon/judged endlessly there. May be they feel a sense of freedom here in US that prompts this behavior.
Though the percentage of the seats reserved varies with each state.
Yes, dalits. Read the rest of the comments to understand why.
Hindus believe that humans are like dogs and they have a breed. So a person who is born in a higher caste is of a better breed than a person born in a lower caste. Numerous genetic studies have found no significant difference amongst Indian castes. The moment an upper caste person realizes that you are a lower caste, you will be made fun of and ridiculed. Caste is also tied to your last name, so when a Hindu person says his full name he is telling his First name and his Caste. Which is why brahmins will be the first ones in a group to say their full name, while dalits will only meekly say their first name. The entire religion and caste system was built to make people feel shameful of their last name. In fact, some last names of lower castes are commonly used as abuses by upper caste.
It is the worst form of discrimination known to man and it's horrible how hindu society openly supports and promotes it. While slavery lasted only for a couple of hundred years, caste system has been going on for millennia. Dalit atrocities are common in India even today and everyday 10s of lower castes dalits are raped, killed , tortured and humiliated just because they were born a lower caste Hindu. Upper caste hindu managers openly look down on lower caste hindus, even in the US , and will discriminate against them. Caste shame is also inbuilt in a lot of Dalit hindus and they themselves feel embarrassed while even saying their full name.
One of the best things I did after coming to this country was to convert to christianity and a few of my dalit hindu friends have done too. Upper caste hindus have no problem seeing a converted christian as their equal, but they would still regard a hindu dalit as inferior. Hinduism has a huge conversion problem even in India, and it is the fastest shrinking religion in the world.
Indian jatis have usually been endogamous for over a thousand years. We’re talking genetic differences as large or larger than between Ashkenazim and Poles here. Less than one in-marriage per generation.
> Genetic Evidence on the Origins of Indian Caste Populations
> The origins and affinities of the ∼1 billion people living on the subcontinent of India have long been contested. This is owing, in part, to the many different waves of immigrants that have influenced the genetic structure of India. In the most recent of these waves, Indo-European-speaking people from West Eurasia entered India from the Northwest and diffused throughout the subcontinent. They purportedly admixed with or displaced indigenous Dravidic-speaking populations. Subsequently they may have established the Hindu caste system and placed themselves primarily in castes of higher rank. To explore the impact of West Eurasians on contemporary Indian caste populations, we compared mtDNA (400 bp of hypervariable region 1 and 14 restriction site polymorphisms) and Y-chromosome (20 biallelic polymorphisms and 5 short tandem repeats) variation in ∼265 males from eight castes of different rank to ∼750 Africans, Asians, Europeans, and other Indians. For maternally inherited mtDNA, each caste is most similar to Asians. However, 20%–30% of Indian mtDNA haplotypes belong to West Eurasian haplogroups, and the frequency of these haplotypes is proportional to caste rank, the highest frequency of West Eurasian haplotypes being found in the upper castes. In contrast, for paternally inherited Y-chromosome variation each caste is more similar to Europeans than to Asians. Moreover, the affinity to Europeans is proportionate to caste rank, the upper castes being most similar to Europeans, particularly East Europeans. These findings are consistent with greater West Eurasian male admixture with castes of higher rank. Nevertheless, the mitochondrial genome and the Y chromosome each represents only a single haploid locus and is more susceptible to large stochastic variation, bottlenecks, and selective sweeps. Thus, to increase the power of our analysis, we assayed 40 independent, biparentally inherited autosomal loci (1 LINE-1 and 39 Alu elements) in all of the caste and continental populations (∼600 individuals). Analysis of these data demonstrated that the upper castes have a higher affinity to Europeans than to Asians, and the upper castes are significantly more similar to Europeans than are the lower castes. Collectively, all five datasets show a trend toward upper castes being more similar to Europeans, whereas lower castes are more similar to Asians. We conclude that Indian castes are most likely to be of proto-Asian origin with West Eurasian admixture resulting in rank-related and sex-specific differences in the genetic affinities of castes to Asians and Europeans.
So now anecdotes spilling vitriol are allowed?
Replace Hindus/Muslims and Casteism/Terrorism and would you allow this if someone claims they are Muslim.
> To me it's primarily a report of the commenter's experience as a dalit, and a very interesting report actually.
The generalization without evidence is the problem. We should not give into false generalizations just because they are "interesting." This is the kind of thing over time leads to things like "All Xs are bad."
My point is that generalizations (false, true) of groups tend to incite emotion that end up dragging things down.
Appreciate the response here and your moderation.
If caste is beyond religion in India, then why did Ambedkar leave Hinduism and urge all of his followers to do so.
Can you tell me one other religion which has the concept of caste in religious scriptures?
That's not exclusive to Christianity. Universal equality is a basic tenet of Hinduism (including non violence towards all living things not just humans). I will not get into a debate of what is "Hinduism". I also don't disagree that some people do face a lot of discrimination. Sadly, the old generation needs to die off for this stuff to be behind us.
They may not be having caste-based discrimination but they do have other forms of discrimination. That's why you have terms like heathens, heretics and kafirs.
While I agree that Hindus have more of this caste-based discrimination, a simple search shows that it's not exactly uncommon in other religions in India.
I'll reiterate, it's very rare in other religions and uncommon. Mostly remnants of Hinduism. But ask an average muslim or a christian his caste and he will say that he doesn't have one.
Aren't there Shia/Sunni divisions and even centuries long wars?
Not exactly castes, but probably worse.
> But ask an average muslim or a christian his caste and he will say that he doesn't have one.
Almost 80% population of India is Hindu. It's obvious that relatively less number of muslims and even less number of christians are gonna talk about caste.
Holy shit if there was ever a red flag on an employer and their HR it’s this.
“We have determined that whilst we pay lip service to getting rid of good ole US style bullying and discrimination we are ok with non-US people bullying and discriminating against each other in their own cultural way as long as it doesn’t break the US law.”
I can add Cisco to a company I’d never work for.
This is one of those things that my parents tried to enforce on to me, but it didn't work, and if/when I have children they will be taught to consider themselves not Brahmin (because my wife isn't even Indian).
Thankfully I grew up with the Western world schooling system where equality is continually preached. When I was old enough to think for myself, I realized I cannot be better than anyone else just because of birth. In the context of BLM, sometimes it is hard to see that our continual strive towards equality is indeed somewhat working. (It just has a very long long way to go.)
I wouldn't expect HR to side with the lower level employee as generally HR groups are there to protect the company.... but I would wonder what their findings were that found it wasn't illegal.
But I'd expect the state to argue that discrimination against an indian caste is inherently national origin based discrimination since they're unlikely to treat any non-indian as they would a dalit, and even if they did they'd be then discriminating on the national identity of the non-indian (ie, treating non-dalit indians better) OR treating all other indians as bad as they'd treat the dalit indian (unlikely, since Iyer is indian)
That would be stupid. Caste discrimination is pretty obviously not national origin discrimination. But it is race discrimination! Race and caste are identical concepts -- you get them from your parents.
(It is, however, not discrimination against a race that is recognized by American law.)
>Cisco’s workforce includes thousands of Indian immigrants, most of whom were born Brahmins or other high castes.
well, wolves determined that eating lambs is ok :)
Discrimination is bad for businesses. Not just if it hits the press, but those employees being discriminated against aren’t going to be as productive as those being encouraged. Fire bad managers. HR works for the company, not middle management.
HR doesn't have a way of seeing the discrimination happening. The managers say X candidate is good so they get hired and then they get promoted because the managers give them good reviews. HR can't tell if the candidate/employee is actually good because they rely on the managers for that. And it's very dangerous waters for them to start making accusations about discrimination in hiring. Both because it can be seen as targetting the managers based on their race and admitting that the company is discriminatory in hiring.
I also don't know how it was at Cisco, but my first job all the lead developers except for one was Indian. How can you punish them if they're all doing the same thing? You can't exactly fire all your leads and if you punish one you risk them all quitting.
And is it really bad for business? Indians make up a huge part of the IT landscape. If the majority want to discriminate then you can either hire them or the smaller pool of people that don't. Most companies will choose the first. Often they don't even know they're making that choice. They hire one and then that person recruits from their network and is the gatekeeper for other hires. If that person discriminates on caste they will likely hire others that do as well.
Because HR generally doesn't have arbitrary hiring and firing power, and because their job in most firms is to protect, first, the company bottom line from unacceptable risk of legal liability for employment actions and, second, the company’s management (who presumably are looking out for the bottom line in other ways).
Happy to see the thing blowing up, so.
EDIT: Fixed Hindi to Hindu
My own brother is part of an Indian clique, which is, believe it or not exclusive only to members of our own caste. He has been living in US for almost 20 years and all his friends are from our own caste.
It bothers me that Indians in US follow all these customs and superstitions blindly after being so educated and having travelled the world. But then moving to California doesn't mean travelling the world of course.
How this shit is legal.
Religion or creed.
National origin or ancestry.
Physical or mental disability.
Anything else you can think of is a legal reason to discriminate
Seriously though, would something as foreign to US be a protected class?
The intent is not social justice, but to splinter the Indian community in the US by legalising divisions and forcing them to declare it in their documents.
As a child growing up in south India where we do not have caste names, I became caste conscious only in high school. Friends and class mates, some of them from wealthy, powerful and privileged families would point out how all they need was a B grade to get in a college of their choices. Whereas I may not even if I got all As.
It is not that I come from a "high caste", my ancestors were refuges of islamic invasion and were subsistence farmers. It is just that one needs the political clout to be classified as a backward caste to enjoy the many benefits of being classified as one including college admission, scholarships and government jobs.
In hindsight I am happy that I made it without reservation, because I do feel less like a free loader.
Ironically, my parents did give me a first name popular among brahmins and in hindsight I do see why some Christian teachers might have been especially harsh on me.
Stop promoting hate & divisions, especially if you are in a position of power.
Further, the fact that such a quota system was supposed to be for a fixed/limited period for upliftment of such groups, has been renewed again and again for vote-bank politics and that has caused even more acrimony. This has nicely played into the politicians' dream of dividing people into clusters that they can manipulate.
The owner, an Indian gentlemen, invited me into the restaurant rather than making me wait until it opened. He was exceedingly polite and even offered me a complimentary cup of tea while I waited for the restaurant to open.
Then he barked something in an Indian language (I would presume Hindi but I don't know there are a lot of languages spoken in India) and a small man who looked older than he probably is came out of the kitchen with the tea for us.
He would not look us in the eye. He had only a few teeth.
I didn't realize until after I left the restaurant that the Indian family who owned the restaurant probably brought their lower caste servants from India with them to labor at the restaurant.
The whole thing made me feel terrible and I haven't been back to the restaurant since.
Are you sure what you saw was caste discrimination? It may have been a person taking advantage of an illegal immigrant, something that several people and companies in the US are accused of every year.
For example, in the US you can legally bring your unpaid servants to the US on a B-1 visa.
Conversely, if he is a paid employee and legally migrated with the family then there is nothing to be done about it.
To be honest I'm amazed at all the top level comments around caste, surname etc.! In my career never came across such situations.
At places like Microsoft, Amazon etc the promotions and perf eval brutally gets fought over during calibrations time. All in open, one manager against another, supported by data - who shipped what, how well, who could have done better, and so on. The last thing one would bring about is 'caste', 'surname' etc., even whiff of it would have pulled down the managers among their peers and their managers (typically group head), before even reaching to HR.
I'm not sure what kind of companies all these people worked at. Just so that HN readers does not get a skewed view - in my two decade plus experience I did not see any evidence AT ALL in those FANG+M companies and also do not hear in startups from my friends.
British Caste System isn't active in india https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrTUp2mKbWs
It's despicable and I fail to understand how educated and technical people can still practice something so inhuman.
To the people saying nothing has changed in India, no, so so much has changed, there are many more intercaste marriages and anecdotal but like 50% of marriage news I hear are all intercaste. Casteism is on a decline as far as I can tell. The young generation seems to care about these things.
Also people saying Indian parents don't allow to marry anyone with a lower caste are being selective. Indian parents don't allow to marry anyone outside their "own" caste whether they are higher or lower, practised by both "lower" and "upper" caste parents.
Have your heard of honour killings where a dalit family killing the upper caste bride or groom?
There is nothing "Indian" about the caste system, certainly nothing to do with "Hinduism" where even rocks, tree, animals are considered divine.
The modern caste theory was synthesised by British scholar by putting together two separate ideas that existed in the Indian culture.
"Varna" - found in one of many law books called manu-smrithi used by some kingdoms at some point in time. It postulates society and a nation's strength lies in the four pillars of society based on the type of powers and responsibility a person has based on where he/she fell, nowhere does it make the claim that it is by birth. I have never known anyone who has actually read the Manu-smrithi nor have I even seen one, so much for the theoretical indulgence.
And it is very practical and fair in that harsh laws apply to people of power like royalty, clergy, teachers or landowner for crimes committed.
The "jatti" on the other hand evolves naturally based on the work passed on from father-son and communities based on profession, marriage. In fact, different jetties do have their own temples, with their own priests and gods related to their profession. This is in strong contrast to the Church that monopolised god.
Jatti is strong among people who still live in traditional rural settings still following professions passed on from father to son. So ironically jatti is extremely relevant among the poor and weaker sections.
So who benefits from promoting casteism today?
- Politicians who can divide and rule
- Christian evangelists who have done similar things around the world like in Rwanda
- The elitist among the different castes who either benefit from reservations, exclusivity, politics or as bargaining chips
- Even for people who do not care about caste, will find it exceedingly difficult to find a partner for marriage outside their community network
I'm more surprised 67% of Dalits would have coworkers knowing their caste. Can someone give context on how this happens?
Is this because people from a specific caste tend to concentrate in a specific geographic region?
I've learned as a Westerner that there's no model I've grown up with that's really the best for making sense of India as someone who wasn't born there. What makes the most sense to me is what an Indian colleague told me - "think of it as the United States of Europe -- that many languages, that much diversity, that much complexity and problems."
In old Indian kingdoms, there were warriors, priests, teachers, business people, janitors etc.
The caste system basically puts a social value on each of these with priests (who were also teachers) being at the top.
The problem is, you couldn't just choose to be a priest.. or a warrior.. or a janitor. You were born into the profession. You were a janitor because your father was a janitor and his father before him.
Discriminating based on caste for the purposes of education, work, government services, etc.. has been outlawed in the Indian constitution since 1948. It still happens, because people are people, but less so with each generation.
Its similar to black people having white sounding to avoid being skipped over while applying for jobs.
Yeah, it might take you longer to figure out if someone was from Florida or California, but that would probably come out relatively quickly in how they talk about beaches.
Humans group and identify others (often wrongly) really quickly.
So you’re actually fully allowed to discriminate based on the color of someone’s clothes, although probably not accent since it could be considered a proxy for race or national origin.
Discrimination happens any time a choice is made. When we hire one person because we think they'll do a better job or avoid someone because they lack skills we need, we're not hiring indiscriminately -- i.e. we discriminate. Sometimes the criteria make sense and other times they don't.
Like others have said, you can't say "I won't hire you because you have red hair" either for example. If I make up the practical equivalent of a race and arbitrarily deny jobs to people because of it, that violates the equal employment opportunity law. If I deny jobs because of skin melanin content, regardless of sociap definitins if race, the fact that I don't call it race does not change the fact that it is "race" , a classification of humans that identifies behavioral,physiolgical and intellectual traits based on membership to a unique genetic ancestory.
Accent and color of your cloth are not bioligical hereditary properties.
Caste is based on profession.
That's not anywhere in what I wrote.
> U.S. employment law does not specifically bar caste-based discrimination, but California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing contends in the lawsuit that the Hindu faith’s lingering caste system is based on protected classes such as religion.
Or are you wondering if such a reclassification will be allowed? I can certainly see it being so.
We saw cases like this (although not for employment per se) but for service industry in this landmark case: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masterpiece_Cakeshop_v._Colora...
Consider how east asians can sometimes have skin whiter than scandanavians but their race is still asian. Or how brown skinned southern europeans can be white while similarly skin-toned north africans are excluded from whiteness.
This Jati is so pervasive in India that even the non-Hindu religions such as Sikhism and “Lingayat” which were explicitly formed to be away from the Hindu caste system couldn’t escape it. So we now have a few dozen Jati within Sikhism and Lingayats with an overly of Verna.
I can’t think of a religion that doesn’t have this structure in India. Maybe Parsee?
Caste matters everywhere: schools, jobs or life at large in India https://archive.vn/tj8tI
And Casteism is worse than Racism;
Casteism = Racism + Slavery https://archive.vn/mPsqz
The colonialist did the same in Africa, dividing different communities into "tribes". There is no lower tribe or upper tribe.
If not for reservation (affirmative action), no one would call themselves a lower caste.
In some ways, it's our ignorance, in other ways, it's really quite mysterious.
Explained a lot cause many of those promoted, didn't deserve it as much as others, who were probably in lower castes.
This seems too important to just throw in unsubstantiated. I have never seen this kind of statistic.
>In 2003, only 1.5 percent of Indian immigrants in the United States were Dalits or members of lower castes, according to the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania. More than 90 percent were from high or dominant castes. About 2.5 million people of Indian descent live in the country, including those born here.
Caste strongly correlates with this, children of higher caste families tend to be richer or have rich relative, have extended family working in well connected places, have well educated parents and grand parents and have access to better schools.
Edit: Having checked, the annual pretax income required to be in the top 1% of earners in India is 77000 USD.
1. access to opportunities, and
2. The denial of opportunities to others through socio-economic-psycho-religious conditioning.
These 1 percenters you are referring to have used the latter to gain the status of the former.
It generally takes resources to immigrate. Poor classes don't have those resources.
There are, of course, exceptions when a wave of immigration is driven by war or asylum seekers from a country leadership change.
Would be cool if article didn't state as fact that some castes are higher than others and/or that people belong to castes.
> allowing him to be harassed by two managers which consider him to have a lower status caste
The prejudice should be attributable to the managers, or better, alleged to the accused.
While I agree nobody should be discriminated against based upon their national origin, race, caste, gender etc., people need to come to terms with the fact that life is unfair. Some day you are the pigeon, some day you are the statue.
I have heard open statements from brahmin students about their "so called superiority" during college - many of them are not really smart or intelligent, but they were of brahmin caste (assumed superiority). One of the YC funded startups has a person who graduated from the same college - he was a prick who would discriminate purely based on caste.
I was hoping workplace would be more meritocratic, but it turns out Indian Hindus are screwed up from the inside. You can easily validate this for yourself, goto any organization in India, and you can easily see the upper caste domination - majority of the managers and higher ups would be from brahmin caste or "other upper castes".
Brahmins like to project it like, people from other castes are not their equals and since these people from other castes are unable to match them, they are throwing stones at them due to their frustrations.
But this is far from the truth, in many organizations if the truly valuable person for the company isn't from this caste or other "so called higher castes", then they don't get promotions, hikes, and end up being harassed and forced to quit if they retaliate - seen too many cases, and am smart to know truth of what happened.
And this is all true for ANY non-brahmin people, not just the lower caste ones.
The real problem though, there is no real solution to this problem except making these people realize they are being stupid for "assuming superiority" and not understanding science.
Many people in the society (obviously from the brahmin caste, especially from south India) have recently come openly stating they are superior and only people born into their caste are brainy. And the Indian government doesn't take any action!
Winston Churchill had said this about brahmins : "To abandon India to the rule of the Brahmins would be an act of cruel and wicked negligence. It would shame for ever those who bore its guilt. These Brahmins who mouth and patter the principles of Western Liberalism, and pose as philosophic and democratic politicians, are the same Brahmins who deny the primary rights of existence to nearly sixty millions of their own fellow countrymen whom they call ‘untouchable’, and whom they have by thousands of years of oppression actually taught to accept this sad position. They will not eat with these sixty millions, nor drink with them, nor treat them as human beings. They consider themselves contaminated even by their approach. And then in a moment they turn round and begin chopping logic with John Stuart Mill, or pleading the rights of man with Jean Jacques Rousseau.
While any community, social or religious, endorses such practices and asserts itself resolved to keep sixty millions of fellow countrymen perpetually and eternally in a state of sub-human bondage, we cannot recognise their claim to the title-deeds of democracy."
Comes from growing up overseas (I live in the US), and having servants.
These were the people that raised us, and were, for all intents and purpose, “family.”
Except they weren’t, and when I found out how they lived, it broke my heart.
I was also raised by a British mother, who was an awesome woman, but came from a middle-class Liverpool (“scouse”) family, and spent her entire early life feeling “not good enough,” despite attending an Ivy-League university, and excelling at her work (http://cmarshall.com/miscellaneous/SheilaMarshall.htm).
Knowing how she felt also broke my heart.
The British have a heavy-duty caste system that isn’t as codified as India’s, but just as pervasive.
Of course, in the US (and, I believe, in other parts of the world), we are currently facing a reckoning about another type of “caste system.”
There seems to be an innate human need to “just be better” than others. I think we all have it, and have to make a conscious effort to suppress the impulse.
e.g. David Cameron, Eton educated prime-minister, described himself as middle class.
Edit: You could argue that everyone is middle class these days - almost nobody self identifies as working class and there are so few real upper class people (I've never met one).
Edit2: Of course, you used to be able to buy entry into the upper class. But that doesn't happen anymore ;-)
That is my impression as an outsider anyway. I'm sure the details are different somehow.
Those toffs can absolutely shred you, while complimenting you the entire time.
It's watching the English language being wielded as a weapon.
We recently had a woman that works for the State Department give testimony, and one of the things she mentioned, in her prepared remarks, was that she came to the US, because she couldn't get a fair shake in the UK, due to her "Northern accent," despite some heavy-duty cred.
The one thing that the Indian caste system has, is something to outlaw.
Since it is so codified, there's a specific thing to point to in a law.
Even if you become a doctor you still won't be a part of the aristocracy.
The best you can do is upper middle class. That might mean you're the head of a FTSE100 company, which is still pretty good but you won't be upper class until the Queen dishes out a knighthood for all great works of charity you'll do.
...and even then though you'll probably still wear the wrong kind of shoes and hold your knife a bit funny at supper.
Although I work closely with many people in India I don't understand the caste system at all. So I'm just listening to the rest of the conversation and being informed.
European caste system on the other hand is very clear on who is royalty, and who isn't. In fact even today in countries like Denmark, ordinary people are NOT allowed to have royal second names.
God is also monopolised by the church and the clergy, until people (the new middle class) started quitting the church.
Please do not mistake the progress made due to economic development to social changes, and the other way around.
Caste on the other hand is an entirely different beast, as you have rightly pointed out.
I've spent 6 months backpacking all over india in 2008 and 2010, and what I saw there broke my heart many times. The frequent kindness of the poorest folks on top of their misfortunes was very inspiring though
The Hindu caste system talks about spiritual evolution of the soul as it goes from body to body in each birth.
You might be a lower-caste in this birth, but you might get upper-caste birth in a next life. And vice-versa. That's how you escape it.
Well, atheists don't believe in anything before or after this life. It's usually such people who have no fear of committing crimes when they are confident they won't get caught.
> why should you not suffer in this current life?
they will suffer. But not because of you or me. But because of reactions to their actions long ago.
Does it mean you can ill-treat them without consequence ? No. If you do so, you will be born in that caste in a next-life and suffer the same oppression they're facing now.
I think this is the opposite of a caste system.
Now America in the other hand, we hold greater respect for self-made immigrant success stories than a privileged rich kid spending daddy’s money.
I did not mean to offend anyone. I was simply talking about my experience, in my life, and my outlook. I am very grateful for others sharing their experiences and outlooks, and it has helped me to understand things a bit better. I appreciate it. Really.
I understand that this is an emotional topic, and that some people have suffered greatly.
But let's not turn this into a flame war.
I've enjoyed the responses, and the responses to responses. I've learned a bit from it.
This has been a really good thread, about a topic that has a thousand years of pain behind it.
Caste and class are similar but not the same. Merging the two concepts into one is useful for generating outrage and maybe for bonding, but less useful for understanding the suffering of one society compared to another.
The British system has a lot more to do with who mommy and daddy are, than what the sheepskin says.
It's pretty hard for people raised in the US to understand it. We keep looking at it through our lens, and we have a relatively young, egalitarian, culture that started when our continent was used as an overflow for the prison system.
A lot of folks in the UK try to get ahead by modifying their speaking patterns and accent. My mother had impeccable English (her mother sounded like she came from Liverpool). She was a scientific editor, and was absolutely brutal. I know. She edited some of my work.
I don't think it really got her what she wanted.
EDIT: I removed the quote of your insult, and simply flagged your post. Let's be adults, here. I'll probably remove this post before the two hours are up.
Flat-out, deadly, insults are. It was delivered as an insult.
> Don't take this the wrong way this is your white privilege showing
I didn't "take it the wrong way." I took it exactly as it was intended.
What's ironic, is that the insult was delivered without the person even taking a few minutes to find out a bit more about me. I don't hide anything. It's all there, for you to examine.
I understand that this is an emotional issue, which was why I carefully kept all of my responses to my own experience, and never made a value judgement.
I'd suggest that you read through all my comments, and point out my insults. If I have inadvertently done so, then I sincerely apologize, and will make any amends possible.
I am not Indian, and won't even pretend to understand what Indians of lower caste go through, but I do have some experience in the British system.
It seems to me that the American system is more antagonistic, in the sense it really prefers some groups (or classes) to another. And this causes more issues (and more resentment). Am I understanding this right?
In the US, it's perfectly legal to fire someone, just cause you think their haircut is stupid, they stole your girlfriend, they root for a sports team you don't like, or you just plain don't like them.
I don't want to over-generalize, because Europe is a collection of many different legal systems, but in general European employees can only be fired for just cause. That is instead of listing why you can't fire someone, they enumerate specific reasons you can terminate an employee.
Therefore to protect against discrimination, the American system requires listing protected classes. The European system does not, because they simply omit "discrimination" from the list of acceptable just causes for termination. However in the US discrimination, i.e. employment termination for reasons unrelated to job performance, is perfectly legal. As long as it doesn't coincide with officially prohibited types of discrimination. Discriminating against employees on the basis of race, sex, or religion is a big problem. Discriminating on the basis of sports fandom, haircut or taste in music is perfectly legal.
IIUC, correlation of any of those with any of the protected classes will land you in trouble though (and I would guess at least the second two from your list are definitely so correlated).
As a result, again IIUC, all the large companies(+) follow, in practice, a European-style approach: there has to be a well-documented, based on some clearly-non-discriminatory criteria (++), reason for firing you (hence performance-improvement-plans, etc, etc).
[+] large companies == worth suing - again IIUC small companies can basically do what you say
[++] I think that still ends up being easier than firing people in many European countries, though
Our constitution simply states that no-one can be treated unequally, without acceptable reason, based on race, sex etc etc or any other trait related to the person itself.
So caste discrimination would be illegal here as it is a reason based on the person. The loophole of ”Acceptable reason” there is mostly to allow them to put only people with testicles in mandatory military service without it going against constitution.
- world view or religion,
- sexual preference, or
This law applies in most legal matters, including hiring. Some classes, like the physically impaired, have their own laws.
Used PE teaching because I can't think of a better example.
It's remarkable how good this thread has managed to be, given the difficulty of the topic. Please let's not spoil that.
Edit: by the way, from your other comments in this thread I gather that you're probably Indian, or from an Indian family, and you're mostly expressing your personal experiences and frustrations. This of course is not at all the same thing as outside prejudice, and we're always mindful of the difference in such cases.
The trouble is, the internet can't tell the difference. If you post like this, your comment is indistinguishable from that of a racist or nationalist person who just has a problem with Indians. I'm sure you'd be the first to object to comments coming from that ugly place. So if you're going to post on these topics, we need you to include enough information to disambiguate your intent, and also make the post more personal and less of a general denunciation.
The general principle is: since a comment's impact on future discussion is determined by how others hear it, the burden is on the commenter to disambiguate intent.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23698379.
Edit: it's clear from your comment history that you've been using HN primarily for ideological battle. That's not allowed, we ban accounts that do it, so I've banned this account. If anyone wants further explanation about exactly how and why moderate HN this way, I've written about it many times: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu....
I can accept that circumcision is a medical need in some cases (my brother required it, something he elected to have done in his late teens), but I can't accept the double standard of "it's fine to chop parts off a baby boy without his consent because it's a part of our culture, but it's unacceptable that their culture allows them to chop parts off a baby girl".
So the point is, why are "Western values" automatically better than other values? I think you're being hyperbolic that "migrants have come over in such numbers that they have little pressure to assimilate", that is plainly nonsense.
This seems to happen less when people are living among different cultures, even if those are all "foreigners" in the country.
I can see this phenomenon happen also with "expats", particularly Americans as its pretty easy for them to find each other. I've met many such expats around Paris who had lived here for several years and could hardly say a word of French. But I guess that the "culture shock" isn't as strong because US and French cultures aren't as different as say French and Indian.
This is a very good point. Very difficult to "integrate" when you face hostile natives.
The AAP has waffled for years, putting their thumb on the scales of every guideline to include a “cultural factor” to the cost- benefit analysis which is literally “but people really want this for religious reasons.” They generally aimed for neutral, until the 2012 task force statement.
Accordingly, if you look up their most recent position statement (2012) they headline with “benefits outweigh risks.” But if you go -into- the actual statement they phrase it more delicately:
“ Although health benefits are not great enough to recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns, the benefits of circumcision are sufficient to justify access to this procedure for families choosing it and to warrant third-party payment for circumcision of male newborns.”
The benefits are sufficient to -still ask insurers to pay for it-. If health benefits -actually- outweighed risks, they’d recommend it for all infants routinely.
Accordingly, they got raked over the coals by pediatric organizations outside the US, which aren’t accustomed to cosmetic circumcision:
“ To these authors, only 1 of the arguments put forward by the American Academy of Pediatrics has some theoretical relevance in relation to infant male circumcision; namely, the possible protection against urinary tract infections in infant boys, which can easily be treated with antibiotics without tissue loss. The other claimed health benefits, including protection against HIV/AIDS, genital herpes, genital warts, and penile cancer, are questionable, weak, and likely to have little public health relevance in a Western context, and they do not represent compelling reasons for surgery before boys are old enough to decide for themselves.” (https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/131/4/796?utm...)
- The headline includes "benefits outweigh risks"
- The text notes that "the benefits of circumcision are sufficient to ... warrant third-party payment for circumcision of male newborns"
I got downvoted to claiming they said "the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks". I'm sorry, but... they do. Literally and unambiguously.
Assuming you trust the AAP (which many Americans probably do), comparing it to FGM is patently absurd.
And what argument do they make for it?
They trawled the data for things like reducing the transmission of HIV - which it does, in third-world country where condom usage is low, antiretroviral usage is low, pre-exposure prophylaxis is low. In first-world countries, circumcisions have not been shown to be protective, because in a setting with a higher baseline level of antiretroviral and condom usage, its effect is somewhere between negligible and non-existent.
The AAP is writing recommendations for America, not the third world.
Likewise, the reduction in cancers is a tiny effect. Small to begin with and, again, negligible in first-world countries.
As other pediatric bodies outside the AAP noted, including these "benefits" is a reach, and the AAP got raked over the coals for doing so.
So, no, not literally - the AAP made a strong political soundbite headline, and then walked it back in the text of their position paper, because they couldn't defend that headline.
And certainly not unambiguously, when they were widely criticized for relying on weak studies that didn't apply to the population in question.
The AAP isn't a terrible organization, but it's not immune to politics, and this shift in their official stance was political, not data-driven.
> The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks.
> Not exactly.
And then proceeded to write up why you believe they are wrong.
> I agree there's some room for argument as to whether it should be recommended or not, but
> I'm sorry, but... they do. Literally and unambiguously.
You replied, once again, indicating why you believe they are wrong.
To be very clear here...
1. They do say the benefits outweigh the risks. Period. That they say this is a fact.
2. I'm not arguing they are right. I'm saying they say it and a lot of people value what they say.
3. I also think that comparing it to FGM is patently absurd, but that is completely orthogonal to your argument that they didn't say what they very clearly did.
If I print a headline that says "ALL DOGS ARE RED" followed by a text qualifying the words "all," "dogs", and "red", you certainly can assert until the cows come home that I said "All dogs are red", but that would also be incorrect, given anything but the most superficial reading.
Lastly, to the extent that you're presenting the AAP statement as a direct argument from authority, I'm pointing out those other organizations not to argue "I disagree with the AAP", but to point out that in this instance "an argument from authority is invalid, they're roundly criticized by the other authorities."
That being said, I think we're obviously talking past each other here, so I'll just agree we have different views on the subject.
Furthermore, MUTILATION was a word coined by the Apostle Paul himself. The King James version uses an obscure word CONCISION in Philippians 3:2 and Strong's Greek Dictionary tells you it means MUTILATION.
Another point you probably are unaware is that the Jewish rabbis changed their method of circumcision to be the "laying bare of the glans" in about 140 A.D., a fact verified as true by the Jewish Encyclopedia itself. CircumcisionInBible.WordPress.com
you mean like the uppety expat communities of Anglo-Saxon background who can't even bother learning German or French in Berlin or Nice even after 5 years in the country, the ones who go shopping every Saturday in their English groceries stores in Lyon and Munich and who will never invite the locals to their gatherings. Yes I've seen them in Singapore, HongKong and even Germany & France these British expat clubs. Think in India they're called British Raj unto this day for a reason.
I've been living as a foreigner all my life and the higher the contrast between rich/poor between the foreigner/host the less of "integration" you see. Telling people to "integrate" or claiming certain types of "foreigners don't integrate" is extremely xenophobic. Anyone speaking of "integration" needs to be sent to the country these people come from and forced to live on the local salary and do as the locals do in that country, ... if the speaker hasn't tried this, you can assume that what comes out of their mouth is racist garbage.
> contrast between rich/poor between the foreigner/host the less of "integration" you see.
integration is something that is expected of you when you're poor - nobody ever asked me (a white man with a foreign wife) to integrate - in fact being able to live in my own bubble in a large house just outside Cannes, with "cars" being my hobby, the kids in private international school, a gardener, pool-boy (a poor North African immigrant) and 2 maids --> even the locals will give you respect and applaud you for "making it, all without learning the local language" (I did learn French later but it wasn't required of me in the same way it would have been if I were poor).
the "fail to integrate" argument is always hypocritical. it is a way of saying "how dare them for refusing to be dominated by us"
 integration was a big problem for him because he was Muslim even he spoke French (natively).
British in Germany or France seems pretty horizontal to me though.
What's scary is how close-knit diaspora groups sometimes end up becoming more foreign to the host country than those in their ancestral country would be, holding up questionable traditions long after they are overcome by those who didn't leave. Permanently entrenched minorities are discrimination by definition, it can't stop without both sides stopping. Close-knit diaspora groups are a dangerous local maximum optimisation trap.
How about white people being racist towards Asians, of which there are many more instances than the opposite. By your logic what we really need to do is not allow whites to live in the country.
You've taken a very half-baked understanding of caste-based dynamics and ran with it to create a whole immigration policy thesis. I really hope someone like you never ends up in power, for my own sake.
Honestly, I don't believe you. This just sounds like the same thing racists and xenophobes have been saying for years. Do you have numbers from a source that isn't clearly a right-wing publication? If not, why say these things?
the reason why it sounds like a racist argument is because it is.
Now we are completely past that, and we have women wearing burkas and niqabs; things covering the entire body. This also increasingly includes indigenous French women. So not only some groups don't assimilate, they actually proselytize and convert others.
It used to be politically incorrect to say it but nowadays the entire political class, including the left, is forced to recognize that it's an issue.
It's especially a tremendous issue in France because it used to promote assimilation: the idea that anyone, racially, could become French as long as they completely abandoned their culture of origin (i.e. the opposite of multiculturalism). In practice it mostly worked with other Europeans like Spaniards, Italians, etc.
Now we have an issue since we have de-facto (and non-working) multiculturalism in a country that still officially promotes assimilation.
So yes it's definitely a problem, and as far as I can see it's been a problem everywhere, and throughout history. The idea that people with radically different cultures can live in the same place is not confirmed anywhere. In fact we can see that even people of the same racial background, with slightly different cultures, cannot really live together (a good example of that is Belgium, where Wallons and Flamands can't find political agreement).
Seriously: How does someone else wearing a headscarf - or more - actually affect you beyond the hypothetical of what a person could do?
It's an issue because a nation, a society must have a common bond, a common culture. It's not a giant supermarket or a hotel.
I did not make comments about Islam specifically, and whether it is "good" or "bad" in the absolute sense. I could have made the same argument by pointing out that protestant and catholic Christians have had trouble living together in Europe. My point is more generally that cultures that are too different can't live together in the same place; Islam in France was just a contemporary example I'm familiar with.
And no, it isn't an issue because it is a nation. There are lots of ways to have a common bond or culture. It is an issue because segments of the population have decided to be xenophobic and shun parts of this particular religion. You can have things like belief that everyone is equal as a common bond. Language is a common bond. Education can be (and is!) a common bond. Compassion can be a common bond. But this is the hill you are dying on instead.
Peoples and nations have histories, cultures, roots. You can't just copy/paste people around and expect everyone to be happy. The world has never worked this way.
First-generation South Asian mothers in Canada give birth to 142 boys for every 100 girls:
There are multiple court cases filed against Infosys and other Indian companies in the US for racial discrimination in hiring practices.
These are real issues that we cannot brush under the rug.
Same thing with your second link. First generation South Asian mothers in Canada... doesn't exactly mean that sex-selective abortion is 'becoming' widespread in Canada. It simply means that a minority of overall Canadians might do this, and it is higher in a certain subgroup. I honestly don't care about reasons for abortion, as it falls clearly in "none of my freaking business" and would rather simply keep it legal so that folks don't turn to unsafe practices. Again, though, the solution to 'fix' the issue (sexual equality in children) is really to fix it globally instead of targeting a minority in one country. Of course, this is widespread social uplift sorts of things.
Hiring discrimination is entrenched in culture - this is not the only marker for it. Again, there is no need to point out one minority for the practice when it is widespread other places. 'Western values' supports systematic racism and until recently, outright discrimination.