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I just posted this on a probably-dead thread about caste discrimination, but the short of it is the folks who wish to discriminate by caste have a variety of ways to determine what your caste is. From the Vice article below:

Indians will not ask outright what caste you are, as it’s seen as overly discriminatory, but they use more subtle methods to identify your place in the caste structure.

“Sometimes they ask, ‘Are you vegetarian?’ If you say yes, they ask are you vegetarian by birth or by choice, before getting into which village you come from, because sometimes the village gives up your caste,” Sam said.

Another method described to VICE News is the pat on the back to see if the person is wearing a Juneau, a sacred white thread typically worn by the upper castes in India.

Higher-caste Indians will also search social media accounts to ascertain a job candidate’s religious views or diet.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/3azjp5/silicon-valley-has-a-...




This sounds like someone who has no idea about India.

Being vegetarian tells you nothing about somoene's caste at all, either by choice or birth. You might make a wild guess but it has very less chance of being correct. Vegetarianism permeates throughout society in both upper and lower classes.

Asking someone's village name to know anything is laughable. There are about a million villages in India, and most villages have mixed caste populations, so this is just so laughably absurd. Even if you meet someone in a local city, you will not get to know their caste by their village name, let alone meeting someone in a big Indian city or the US. Asking someone's village gives you same amount of information as doing Math.random(1e6).

> see if the person is wearing a Juneau

This is something that has almost stopped and at this point almost nobody wears it since it involves a lot of extra effort. It would be very very long ago when the % of peopling wearing it was high enough.

> Higher-caste Indians will also search social media accounts to ascertain a job candidate’s religious views or diet.

This again sounds like a handway statement that is somehow intended to show how one can easily find someone else's caste.


> Indians will not ask outright what caste you are.

My team lead asked me in a Teams call, lol. At that point, he doesn't even know what I look like (because of covid, and we don't do video calls).

(I am not OBC though)

> Higher-caste Indians will also search social media accounts to ascertain a job candidate’s religious views or diet.

I don't believe this at all. Feels like overexaggerating.


> (I am not OBC though)

Life imitates art.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taSH_nZkRdw


> I don't believe this at all. Feels like overexaggerating.

Never underestimate how petty people can be. We've seen plenty of times in the past decade where people doing hiring will examine social media of candidates (on the extreme end even demand handing over of your phone phone during an interview). So it's hardly a stretch to think people with such views could overlap with people who harbor caste prejudice.


Yeah it is probably bullshit.


This is absolutely a thing and I have witnessed it. And I'm not even Indian.


Are you indian / have you actually observed this? I'm Indian-American and in my experience this has been entirely non-existent so this article kinda baffles me. I've been asked whether I'm vegetarian before, but always in the context of grabbing food (respecting dietary preferences), and certainly haven't noticed any discrimination after saying that I'm not. I worked in SF for a year and currently in Seattle. Have several Indian friends/colleagues aswell and not once have I ever heard caste brought up


I was born in the US, and my parents immigrated from India. I encountered this once at a tech company in Seattle. My team's previous manager left the org, so we were assigned a new one. On our very first 1:1 meeting, he wasn't interested in discussing projects, but he kept asking all of these bizarre personal questions. At first, I didn't understand, but it became clear later on.


I'm really sorry that you experienced this. If you're still in Seattle and it ever happens again, know that caste discrimination is now formally banned as of March of this year. Please spread the word that claims can be filed with the city's Office for Civil Rights.[1]

1. https://www.seattle.gov/civilrights/civil-rights-enforcement...


What happens if you are from a lower caste but wear the white thread to misdirect? Or you lie about being / not being vegetarian by choice / at birth?


What happens if you lie on your resume? what if you practice speaking with a more prestigious accent than you grew up with? What if you carefully study your friends who went to private schools and summered in the Hamptons to learn how to imitate their ineffable shibboleth mannerisms?

The answer is yes, you can do these things, and it will confer exactly the benefits you imagine. And the consequences for getting "caught" aren't usually serious, either. But sometimes they are.


> What if you practice speaking with a more prestigious accent than you grew up with? What if you carefully study your friends who went to private schools and summered in the Hamptons to learn how to imitate their ineffable shibboleth mannerisms?

> The answer is yes, you can do these things

I mean, I personally can't. (From a UK perspective.) First I would need access to these people and spend a lot of time with them. That could be difficult in itself if they are discriminatory. Then I would need another separate social group to practice my new personality with. Plus I'm just not a good actor. So it's not surprising that people's movement in social class is pretty limited. This isn't even getting into how people of your previous class will treat you if they think you've deserted them.


> What happens if you lie on your resume?

Lying about credentials or experience is a bit different from wearing a piece of clothing you arguably find pretty or obviously inconsequential things like saying you eat meat or not


That's a bit oranges and apples though. If I lie on my resume I can be lawfully fired. If I try to pass myself as upper class nobody can do anything.


I had a friend in college who was an OBC. But he pretended to be General caste. By the end of final year, most people knew about it, but no one confronted him.


If someone really wanted to find out, they would be able to.

You could misdirect someone just passively asking, however as soon as the questions got more pointed, you'd have a hard time keeping up the charade.

Something as simple as the clothes you wear or the food you ate or the mannerisms you had could "give you up".


What could vegetarian by birth possibly mean


Most Brahmins (a caste) are vegetarian.


I guess born in a vegetarian family, educated as a vegetarian.


Can a born vegetarian be identified by measuring, I don't know, the diameter of nostrils or distance between nose tip and chin? And if so, do born vegans differ from those measurwmemts? And do they get bonus points?

Sarcasm aside, this whole caste system is easily a contentender for the worst form discrimination and, yes, racism is existence today.




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