Include the word “Caste” as a discriminatory term in US Civil Rights Act.

Include the word “Caste” as a discriminatory term in US Civil Rights Act.

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Indian American started this petition to Senator Dianne Feinstein and

A directive from the American - Indian Progressive diaspora to act against caste discrimination.

As a nation which has shown consistent improvements in various fields, India regrettably continues to follow indecent and inhumane caste practices, namely untouchability. Although it has been 75 years since the nation fought for its independence from the British, it has been unable to wring itself free of casteism and abuses in the name of caste divisions. 
In the Issue where California authorities are suing Cisco and two of its employees for allegedly discriminating against an Indian engineer because he was from a lower caste than them is the only one issue that has come to limelight, after many years. Indians are suffering the neglect from the fellow Indians of so-called upper caste at places of worship and even in the linguistic organizations run by Indians. Caste is a another form of systematic racism and is evil .
Caste is a complex and cleverly manipulated social top down structure, the Indian caste system differentiates based on birth and social standing. It is a structure of oppression that affects over 1 billion people across the world. A system of religiously codified exclusion that was established in Hindu scripture, it determines both social status and assigns “spiritual purity”, all based on the caste inheritance one is earmarked at birth.
While discrimination in other countries has by and large been in the form of color/race difference, India is the one nation that continues to indulge in differentiating people based on birth and social/class standing, in addition to race/color. All these injustices have left a large chunk of population oppressed, without any sense of self respect and with both their humanity and humane-ness brought into question. History has long forgotten the innumerable human lives which have been destroyed by the injustice meted out to the people.
Parallel to these injustices have always been social reformers and leaders who have struggled to fight against the caste system in an effort to annihilate it once and for all. Most prominent of them all was the great Dr. B.R.Ambedkar - the architect of the Indian Constitution who had the courage not only to fight but ensured even after his passing the downtrodden and oppressed never remain that way by bringing about Reservation.

While Ambedkar was the face of hope for millions of oppressed Indians, a rational movement was developing simultaneously in the Southern state of Tamilnadu spearheaded by Periyar a.k.a E.V.Ramasamy. This self-respect and Dravidian movement was again aimed at lifting those who were marginalized. It was in 1929 that the resolution was passed to remove the age long tradition and custom of suffixing caste to the names of an individual. Periyar also condemned the Varnashram which forms the base of the Indian caste system.
It was Ambedkar who mentioned in 1916, “If Hindus migrate to other regions on earth, Indian caste would become a world problem”. While it has been over 100 years since he made that remark, it could not have had more deeper meaning than today.
Yes, caste indeed is an ever growing issue among the vast diaspora of Indian-Americans. The last few decades have seen a massive influx of Indians who have relocated to US soil either by way of work or marriage and have regrettably brought along their caste system. This hierarchy has now seeped into organizations, clubs and social networks where Indians are known to frequent.
Equality Labs conducted a survey about Caste in the United States in the year 2016 and concluded this discrimination exists within educational institutions, workplace, living communities and places of worship. Discrimination often takes shape in the form of verbal abuse, derogatory jokes and being rejected in personal / romantic relationships as well. Several people reported they live with the fear of being “outed”. While the majority of Indian Hindus do not eat beef, this is not the case with all. Those who eat beef are clearly being judged and treated differently even in US, again an age old prejudice connected to caste.
An article  recently published in The Print by Kenneth.J.Cooper clearly states how caste has been carried over the US shores from the Indian subcontinent and how it is being perpetuated by Indians living here. This discrimination however does not just stop with Indians, it has joined hands with racism and people actively discriminate African- Americans and Hispanics as part of their rhetoric.
The American - Indian Humanist diaspora feel it’s about time to take reactive action to put an end to this vicious cycle. The United States Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. However civil rights laws do not explicitly ban discrimination based on caste. At the time in which it was drafted, it was not seen as an issue in America.
The recent event where California authorities are suing Cisco and two of its employees for allegedly discriminating against a Indian engineer due to him being from the so called lower caste is the only issue that has come to limelight, after several years. Indians are suffering neglect from fellow Indians of so called upper castes in places of worship and within linguistic/ cultural organizations run by Indians. Caste is simply another form of systemic racism and pure evil.
With the growth of Indians, caste discrimination is now a growing issue in America at Public Places, Educational institutions, Employer places et al, we strongly feel the need to include the word “Caste” in the US DISCRIMINATION ACT which would act as a effective barrier and timely solution for this problem and protect the Indians who are discriminated in name of caste. This would also help to create awareness in American Schools, institutions, Colleges, companies and also among American citizens, who could in turn add caste to their anti-hazing and anti-bullying policies.
We requests all humanists to join hands in the fight against caste based discrimination. This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is free from all forms of discrimination including caste.

Liberty, Equality and Fraternity while still may seem a long way to go, is a journey that every humanist has to take. Let’s take it.
The American - Indian Progressive diaspora

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