Recently, the California state legislature passed a bill that bans discrimination based on caste, a deeply entrenched system of social stratification originating from South Asia. Caste discrimination is a form of discrimination based on the social hierarchy, which is determined by a person’s birth.
The caste system was seen “as the basis of order and regularity in society.” The system classified Hindus into four categories, and a person was born into the caste system, finding no way to escape the classification. The groups at the bottom are considered ‘lesser human beings’ compared to other caste groups.
California has become the first in the United States to pass a bill banning caste discrimination, adding caste “as a form of ancestry protected under state civil rights law.”
Discrimination, in its many forms, could lead to many social issues. To gauge public opinion and share awareness on the matter, Real Research shared a survey on California banning caste-based discrimination.
- California banning caste-based discrimination received the support of 69.68%.
- 42.21% saw adding caste as a protected category in California as slightly important.
- 41.9% are willing to support initiatives to combat caste-based discrimination.
Awareness and Support
While caste was formally abolished following India’s independence in the late 1940s, caste has existed for decades. However, Dalits, who occupy the lowest rung of the caste system, say that caste-based discrimination exists to this day and is taking place in workplaces, classrooms, and social settings.
To combat this discrimination, Democratic State Senator Aisha Wahab said, “I’m proud to stand in solidarity with every person who said they, as a Californian, experienced caste discrimination, and others who say they want it to stop.”
Our survey revealed that a substantial 44.22% of respondents were well aware of the California bill banning caste-based discrimination, while 37.% were vaguely aware. However, 18.78% of those surveyed were not aware of it.
California’s caste bill received the support of 69.68% of the participants, with 41.61% supporting it and 28.07% strongly supporting it. On the other hand, 26.34% opposed California’s decision, and a small number of 3.98% strongly opposed it.
Necessity and Importance
State Senator Wahab added that this bill shed light on a “long hidden form of discrimination thousands of years old.” California banning caste-based discrimination has been supported by a large number of civil rights and social justice organizations.
78.06% shared the senator’s opinion and claimed that the addition of caste as a protected category in California was important. In detail, 42.21% saw the addition as slightly important, and 28.26% claimed it was somewhat important. California banning caste-based discrimination wasn’t viewed as important at all by 21.94%, and only a small number of 7.59% thought it was extremely important.
Legislation was slightly needed to address caste-based discrimination in California, according to 40.84%. 29.42% said that it was somewhat needed, while 20.1% opposed it and stated that it wasn’t necessary at all. Only a small percentage of 9.64% claimed that it was extremely needed.
Opposition and Unfairness
California banning caste-based discrimination was met with fierce opposition from a number of Hindu American groups. They argued that “this divisive bill that still implicitly singles out/targets South Asians must be vetoed.”
Those groups questioned the seriousness of caste-based discrimination in North America and claimed that the legislation singles out Hindus.
When asked if they agreed with arguments made by some Hindu American groups that the legislation unfairly singles out Hindus, 48.73% agreed, 22.73% disagreed, 22.43% strongly agreed, and 6.11% strongly disagreed.
Effectiveness and Initiative
The survey revealed varying levels of confidence in the legislation’s potential to address caste-based discrimination effectively. 47.09% were slightly confident, 27.41% were somewhat confident, 19.58% expressed not being confident at all, and 5.92% were extremely confident.
A considerable 41.9% expressed willingness to get involved in supporting initiatives that aim to combat caste-based discrimination in their community, while 34.67% remained unsure, and 23.43% would not consider getting involved.
|Survey Title||Survey on California Banning Caste-Based Discrimination|
|Duration||September 22 – September 29, 2023|
|Number of Participants||10,000|
|Demographics||Males and females, aged 21 to 99|
|Participating Countries||Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia,… Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.|
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