Caste: An Oft-Ignored Aspect of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

A number of colleges and universities are finally acknowledging what caste-oppressed students, who mostly share a South Asian immigrant background, have long known, namely that “casteism tends to manifest in US colleges and universities through slurs, microaggressions and social exclusion”. These unfortunate dynamics are rooted in models of social stratification that have a far longer history than that of racism in the US, appearing first in The Rigveda, the oldest known Vedic Sanskrit text that has been orally transmitted since the 2nd millennium BCE. And in the context of Hinduism, this type of ‘othering’ refers to the Brahminic ideology that hierarchizes society into its distinct and immovable social classes. Inasmuch as most Americans have little understanding of the class structures inherent in other parts of the world like South Asia, when discrimination based on those status systems manifests itself, it does so only within these minority communities, thus out of view from the broader U.S. culture.

Caste: An Oft-Ignored Aspect of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Author(s): Susan Harmeling

Publisher: Forbes

Publication Date: 2/8/2022