Dalit in Silicon Valley

33 Comments
Indian American food

Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s in the United States as brown was different than now. The Indian Americans I knew were a heterodox bunch who, like me, grew up around white people, and habituated themselves to American culture. Though most were Hindu, a fair number enjoyed beef hamburgers, just like other kids.

This is why the story of caste discrimination in Silicon Valley is so striking to me. Most of you know already about what is happening with Cisco, but The New York Times covers it well in The Specter of Caste in Silicon Valley. The author of Coming out Dalit, she is herself a Dalit Indian American, and so has a unique perspective.

There is one number which is reported in the piece and aligns with everything I’ve ever seen in the United States of America: 90% of Indian Americans are not lower caste. Of those who are lower caste, whatever that means, I doubt much more than 1% are Dalit. I know this partly because I have a sampling of 300 Indian American genotypes from one of the DTC firms (four parents born in India), and the genetic variation aligns pretty much with the above distribution.

Therefore, I am skeptical of the idea of pervasive caste discrimination because there are just not that many Dalits, period. The last data I have seen shows that 25% of Indian Americans are Brahmin.

That being said since the late 1990s a massive wave of immigrants from India have arrived to work in tech and recreated their home country in the US. When I was in graduate school I met a young woman who was a master’s student with a very mild Indian accent. I asked her when she had arrived from India, and she said that she was born in Cupertino! So it would not surprise me if some people did bring the habits and views of the old country, and without assimilation into diverse workplaces, things such as caste discrimination may occur (I have heard from people that networks of people from the same region and caste are a thing, though not pervasive).

But, I don’t think this will ever be huge in the United States for a simple reason: the number of Indian Americans of 1.5 and 2nd generation who marry within caste/jati is not that high. The last data from the 2010s indicate 35-40% of those born or raised here marry non-Indians. Of the remainder, many of them marry people from other backgrounds than that of their parents. In fact, the majority.

Caste is about pedigree. That is just not maintained in the USA.

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33 Replies to “Dalit in Silicon Valley”

  1. One thing that strikes me whenever I am talking to Indians (who live in India) is that many of them claim to be “middle-class”. But being middle-class in India is more sociological than logical once you look at the background of those who claim they are “middle-class”. English language fluency in India is quite low, no more than perhaps 5%. Many of those who claim to be “middle-class” are in fact upper-middle class at the very least. Most Indians are not aware just how poor most of their compatriots really are. Even if you have a regular job, you’re extremely poor:

    https://www.livemint.com/Politics/0QrtAS8TDcBNoNtQuTzR8H/57-of-regular-Indian-employees-earn-less-than-10000.html

    Many of the same Indians (again, living in India) claim that getting to the West these days is super easy and the unstated implication is that the quality of the people going now has come down. I’ve been told more than once that those who go to the West “can’t cut it” in India and they are by no means rich/privileged.

    It just seems to be a gigantic disconnect between rhetoric and reality, especially if the 90% of Indian-Americans are upper caste is correct. It reminds me of a podcast that Amit Varma did with Shruti Rajagopalan and Alex Tabarrok (of Marginal Revolution) a few weeks ago where they went through Shruti’s and Alex’s paper on Indian elites “policy mimicry”. Wherein the authors criticised how so many Indian elites blindly copy Western laws/fads without first thinking through whether it made sense for Indian conditions.

    One example was maternity leave, where India now apparently has as generous terms as Sweden (if you’re a woman working in the formal sector). But given that the vast majority of women A) don’t work in the formal sector and B) have much more pressing problems like patriarchical violence etc, it doesn’t seem to make much sense to implement new rules and spend scarce state capacity on these white elephant projects.

    Shruti made a connection to caste, because many of the policy makers making these laws typically inhabit an international/liberal bubble where they can meet with their (Western) friends and brag how progressive they are. Many of these same policy makers have no understanding of the reality on the ground for most Indians given that they are typically both formal sector workers and usually English speakers.

    Yet another example she gave was the idealisation of village life, where caste plays a big role. But if you grew up as upper caste in an urban India where English was spoken, your experiences of caste were almost theoretical and certainly not oppressive.
    I am not sure if caste per se is as powerful force as she makes it to be in the US for the same reasons that are mentioned in the blogpost. And Shruti herself made clear that much of this disconnect in India is not driven by malice or a purposeful evil intention by upper caste folks, as much as it is by wilful ignorance of the realities for the downtrodden.

    It is a fool’s errand to make sweeping generalisations on different elites, and how “out of touch” they are in comparison. But it seems to me, at least when interacting with a clearly elite Indian audience, that many are in absolute denial over their own privilege and don’t even bother to understand it.

    So I wonder how much of this caste discrimination is overt (as with Cisco) and how much is just a byproduct. And how much is due to other factors (linguistic cliques, socio-economic backgrounds etc).

    1. So I wonder how much of this caste discrimination is overt (as with Cisco) and how much is just a byproduct.
      Can you or someone tell me what we can reasonably claim to *know* to have happened with Cisco (not merely what is alleged)?

      1. @froginthewell, https://www.mercurynews.com/2020/07/01/cisco-allowed-caste-based-discrimination-against-engineer-of-indian-origin-state-of-california-alleges

        According to this, the new supervisor of the SC engineer(‘John Doe’) at cisco told his colleagues behind his back that he was an affirmative action student, ‘Doe ‘ then filed a complaint against supervisor to the HR who later stripped him off the lead role of two key projects and so on back and forth …..

    2. “Yet another example she gave was the idealization of village life, where caste plays a big role. ”

      I would say this part is actually a mis-representation especially by people studying India. Neither in rural or urban India village life is idealized. Village life is especially brutal for lower castes, but even the UCs/ dominant caste try to escape the village as soon as they can.

      Village life being idealized is how urban folks think rural folks feel like. Its one of those Gandhian things which everyone mouths from time 2 time but nobody followed it even during Nehruvian times.

      ” But it seems to me, at least when interacting with a clearly elite Indian audience, that many are in absolute denial over their own privilege and don’t even bother to understand it.”

      Indian elites live in their own bubble. Different schools, gated communities etc. The first time they come face to face with the “other” is during Undergrads where reservations kick in. This first impression really makes them double down on the denial and solidifies their views on “merit” .

      1. Saurav:

        ” Village life being idealized is how urban folks think rural folks feel like. Its one of those Gandhian things which everyone mouths from time 2 time but nobody followed it even during Nehruvian times.”

        That was precisely Shruti’s point, so I don’t know how you square it with how these things are “misrepresented by people studying India” given that this is the analysis you yourself agree with.

        It’s funny you mention Gandhi, given that he himself grew up in an urban setting within an Bania household. His romantication of the village life was very ironic (and emblematic) of the social phenomenom I outlined.

        This could be seen even in his economic policies, where he had a very anti-industrial preference and idealised the small and informal, preferably self-employed, economic units over medium and large industrial firms. Unfortunately, this bias had hugely destructive impact on Indian economic policies for a long time and arguably continues even till this day. Arvind Panagariya and Arvind Subramanian have both written extensively on India’s large legion of small firms and the relative lack of medium to large firms.

        A last word on Gandhi. His village romanticism was in a sense also a form of ‘elite mimicry’ given that he was deeply influenced by reading Ruskin and other Western romantics who held these very same views. As Gandhi was globetrotting the globe and receiving elite education, he had no compunction by condemning the Indian downtrodden to a life of misery stuck in their villages.

        Caste does play a role here, because Ambedkar, unlike Gandhi, did actually come from a village background and he had a lower caste background. In that sense, he had a much more realistic understanding of the reality on the ground. This wasn’t because Gandhi was an evil person, he was just clueless, as Shruti argues for much of the contemporary Indian elite.

        1. Many people, Gandhi included, were themselves heavily influenced by Leo Tolstoy. Despite growing up in a fairly affluent and westernised (definitely a thing in Russia) household, he constantly idealised the Muzhik, or Russian peasant, as some great spiritual saviour of the Russian people.

          Of course, while remaining an estate owner, he loved dressing in the more “native” clothing of the peasants, but remained torn over his actual inability to live as they did. Even he could not go too far with his idealisation.

        2. Gandhi just had weird ideas on lot of things. Ambedkar also lived in cantonment towns (which would pass off as semi-urban in those times) and did some of his schooling in Mumbai. So i am not sure he was himself that village background-ish.

          “This could be seen even in his economic policies, where he had a very anti-industrial preference and idealised the small and informal, preferably self-employed, economic units over medium and large industrial firms. Unfortunately, this bias had hugely destructive impact on Indian economic policies”

          This is what i mean by urban folks thinking abt rural ppl earlier. There was nothing like bias, India just didnt have the capacity political or otherwise to have urban cities or medium or large enterprise. This is being portrayed as India consciously choose small village enterprise over urban large/medium ones. India just didnt have the ability. In some areas where it did, like Mumbai,Kanpur,Kolkata etc , there was rise of cotton mills and stuff, but they were shut down due to other circumstances.

          Long story short, India has/had a capacity problem, no subliminal bias to choose one over the other. We left Gandhi ideals the day he died or some would argue even while he was alive.

    3. “Many of those who claim to be “middle-class” are in fact upper-middle class at the very least. Most Indians are not aware just how poor most of their compatriots really are.”

      It’s more about the benchmark set by the rich in India, rather than unawareness about how poor the rest of the country is. And the article titled “57% of regular Indian employees earn less than ₹10,000” says nothing about the where those people live (cost of living matters a lot). Earning 10k in a village is far different from earning 10k in a city.

      “I’ve been told more than once that those who go to the West “can’t cut it” in India and they are by no means rich/privileged.”

      Three very relevant anecdotes here.

      I know a very rich Brahmin from north India who went to the US to pursue his degree simply because he felt there’s too much competition in India and that he “can’t cut it” here. He felt that getting into the IITs is just too tough and reservations don’t favour him either, so going to the US is an expensive (compared to IITs, still affordable for him though) but much better choice (the uni he got into is ranked higher than any IIT, although he himself admits that getting into it was far easier than even trying to get into any IIT).

      Then there’s a south-Indian (Tamil) Brahmin that I know (who is “middle class”) who took a huge loan after finishing his bachelor’s just so he could go do his master’s in the US. I’m still pretty amazed by how confident he was taking that loan.

      And the third case involves 2 unrelated people. One’s a rich non-Brahmin Tamil and the other one’s a rich Marwari. Both of them joined some random colleges in the US just to party and have fun.

      Sundar Pichai wasn’t from a rich family either, I read that his father spent a year’s salary to get him a flight ticket to the US. That is nowhere close to being rich. And seeing forward castes have to score higher to get into IITs, Sundar Pichai had to work relatively harder, that doesn’t really sound like privilege. Even though upper castes hold over 40% of India’s wealth, there’s a large amount of income inequality within forward castes too-
      https://wid.world/document/n-k-bharti-wealth-inequality-class-and-caste-in-india-1961-2012/

      “Within Forward Caste, Top 1% within FC owned almost 13.6% of the total FC wealth in 2002 which increased to 29.4% in 2012. Top 5% owned 32% in 2002 which increased to 47.6% in 2012. And Top 10% now owns 60% of the total FC wealth. This is a drastic change in ten years is which needs more enquiry. The inequality within FC group is the highest.”

      I don’t see a whole lot of non-Brahmins (given their numbers) taking financial risks to get to the US (I’m comparing Brahmins and non-Brahmins with similar income levels). Maybe other readers here have met several non-Brahmins who took financial risks to get to the US, I’m just stating what I’ve seen. Just because you see a lot of upper caste people in the USA doesn’t actually mean they’re rich or privileged.

      The “can’t cut it in India” applies to a small group of people, but the “they are by no means rich/privileged” applies to many people. There are probably some people who were brought up in “middle-class” households (or lower) on this blog too.

      1. IsThisReal:

        “It’s more about the benchmark set by the rich in India, rather than unawareness about how poor the rest of the country is”.

        I would say both can be true, and should probably be thought as true. First, how many typical Indians have a benchmark set by the rich? That alone should tell you we’re dealing with an elite audience. Secondly, this doesn’t preclude being clueless about how poor the rest of the country is. In fact, I would argue it reinforces the point.

        “And the article titled “57% of regular Indian employees earn less than ₹10,000” says nothing about the where those people live (cost of living matters a lot). Earning 10k in a village is far different from earning 10k in a city.”

        Look at the 2017-18 NSSO consumption survey, which looks at the relative welfare of people and disregards how much the earn. Per capita consumption in India *declined* from 2011-12 till 2017-18. The first time it happened since the 1970s.

        Now there is some amount of debate whether the NSSO is representative in its sampling/methodology or not. But given the controversies over the national accounts (GDP) data that Arvind Subramanian and others have raised, I wouldn’t be so quick to use that dataset instead.

        If you look at RBI’s rural wages data (adjusted for inflation), then rural wages have been stagnant for six-seven years. This is in sharp contrast to what happened under the 2004-2013 period. This means either an extreme overconcentration of India’s current GDP growth has been flowing to the very richest, or GDP growth overall has been overestimated. (I would argue both).

        “The ‘can’t cut it in India’ applies to a small group of people, but the ‘they are by no means rich/privileged’ applies to many people. There are probably some people who were brought up in ‘middle-class’ households (or lower) on this blog too.”

        Given that over half of Indians earn less than 10K rupees per month I’d say that most of the people we’re talking about are indeed privileged. We can argue about whether they are rich.

        According to the latest PLFS survey of 2017-18, just 3% of Indians earn more than 50K per month. Less than 0.3% earn more than 1 lakh per month. Source: https://www.livemint.com/politics/policy/most-regular-jobs-in-india-don-t-pay-well-plfs-1565075309032.html

        Someone earning 55K in a Tier 1 city would probably not be categoried as ‘rich’ by self-described ‘middle-class’ people. But if you are in the 97th percentile, you *are* rich. Of course, India has a lot of black income, but there’s no reason to believe that the composition of high-income earners would radically change. It’s easier to earn more money if you have more to begin with, especially for the cognitive elites.

        This is what I run into when debating Indians. They seem to think the only rich people are those earning several lakhs per month, but that’d be the top 0.1%. That’s the super rich. If that is your benchmark then you’re only proving to me how, yes, privileged, you are to begin with.

        1. “They seem to think the only rich people are those earning several lakhs per month, but that’d be the top 0.1%. That’s the super rich. If that is your benchmark then you’re only proving to me how, yes, privileged, you are to begin with.”

          This is quite true. However, apart from a small subset of the above group, who are self-aware and narcissistic enough to indirectly point out their privilege on purpose, I don’t believe the rest of the top 3% do so intentionally.

          The remainder is just not connected to those beyond their socio-economic circle and not autodidactic/interested enough to figure out the numbers on their own, ignorance is probably a bigger reason than conceit. (not that it makes things better for self-reflection)

        2. “First, how many typical Indians have a benchmark set by the rich?”

          I’m just talking about the people you’ve talked to who called themselves “middle-class”. I’m just guessing that most of them were from major towns or cities.

          As for the rest of it-

          Someone earning 55k is in the top 3% and surely way richer than most people in the country, no denying that, but I was talking getting into the US. If someone earning 55k wants their kid to study in an American university, then it’s gonna be a huge financial burden. Even sending their kid to a decent college in India (without any scholarship) would mean they’ll most likely have to take a loan.

          I know you’re gonna say that “getting a degree in India is rare and makes you privileged”, but my point is that there’s a whole lot of struggle, sacrifice and pressure involved in this income bracket too. Maybe my understanding of the word “privileged” is different from yours.

          Anyway, this survey might interest you-
          https://vaishnavmilan.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/being-middle-class-in-india-proofs.pdf

          “even among respondents in the lowest income bracket, 45 per cent self-identify as middle class”

        3. “According to the latest PLFS survey of 2017-18, just 3% of Indians earn more than 50K per month. ” — As someone who lives in a tier-2 town/city in india, i find that hard to believe. Most indians do not declare their true incomes and thus, you often see data like this. Imo, it would be at least double of that though it won’t be more than 10%.

          Now as far as wealth is concerned, if one has moderate land holdings even in the outskirts of growing/expanding town, he/she can get ‘rich’ overnight as the land prices soar up dramatically with expansion. Based on current land prices(which are not going to depreciate in the near future) in the outskirts of where i live, there are literally hundreds and thousands of folks who own lands worth more than 10 crores INR (and most of them are NOT General/UC) 🙂 .

  2. By the way, Razib, if I remember right you once retweeted a trad fellow’s attack of this author Yashica Dutt of “Coming out as Dalit” that you linked to: according to that trad, Dutt was attacking as privileged a “relatively middle class” person who had worked his way up, while (again, according to him) her own degree at Columbia was paid for by her parents (I don’t know if this claim is true, but if true I would think that Yashica is more privileged than 99% of the Indians).

    Liberal and western societies hardly ever make a genuine attempt to grapple with the possibility that two sorts of things can be simultaneously true: oppression of the sort they talk about, and the assertion that a good chunk of the people who make much of the narrative of oppression are frauds milking the leftist narrative structures. Both of us agree on something along such lines happening in the context of Chatterjees and Iyers toeing SJW line.

    1. This is true. When Yashika first came out with her book, one of the childhood experiences that she labeled as “discrimination” was that her mother faced a lot of “saturday party invite rejections” in small town Rajasthan (1980s) due to their caste. A bunch of photographs accompanying that article shows a small girl standing in front of a row of driveway plants and a well furnished home with pastel curtains on the windows.

      That already signalled to me that she was in the top 99 percentile of the economic class and all this posturing is merely to garner some credit for the real struggles of her grandparents (perhaps)

  3. Regarding idealization of the village:

    One possible reason why rural folks are given so much importance is because they are massively overrepresented in the electorate.

    I think at the time of the 2014 elections, only about 53 out of the 540 odd Lok Sabha seats were premodinantly urban. This despite the fact that > 30% of the population is urban and rapidly increasing.

    A round of constituency delimitation is due. Till such time policy makers and politicians will continue to come up with sops meant for the rural population.

    “Many of those who claim to be “middle-class” are in fact upper-middle class at the very least.”

    This is true. One reason for this is that the vast disparity in wealth between what is upper middle class and middle class is a relatively recent phenomenon caused by rising asset prices post-liberalisation.

    That said, there is certainly a marked ignorance in this group.

    1. Prats:

      “One possible reason why rural folks are given so much importance is because they are massively overrepresented in the electorate.”

      Dipa Sinha had a good talk over at Manthan last week on the paradox of India’s hunger problem. It scores worse than most of its neighbours, including those significantly poorer than India, like Nepal. Her talk can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s83ZMTueBS0

      Dipa raised a significant political-economic puzzle: given India’s still-high rates of stunting and malnutrition, how come there isn’t more of an uproar against the political class to fix this issue. Her tentative answer was that idpol got in the way. Nationally, it tends to be religion. In state-wide elections, caste tends come to the fore. Various jatis jostle over scarce resources rather than crossing the caste line and join hands as a bloc of poor voters making concrete demands on the political process.

      To be clear, India *has* made progress on these issues since 2005, but if you look at Bangladesh, it has done better here despite being poorer. Bangladesh also has a much higher share of women in the workforce. So I don’t think there’s something inherently flawed with desi culture. There seems to be a particular issue within India when it comes to allocation of resources.

      Another big issue that I am thinking about is education. The RTI act of 2009 did a lot to improve inputs into education, i.e. raise enrollment. What is missing is focus on outputs. India did participate in a special 2009 PISA round but the results were so dismal that India dropped out, claiming the test was ‘culturally biased’.

      Ajay Shah, one of the most lucid public intellectuals in India and one whom I respect a lot, wrote a summary of the whole episode here: https://blog.theleapjournal.org/2012/01/first-pisa-results-for-india-end-of.html

      Indian educational policy was once again dragged down by an elite bias. There was early investment into IITs and IIMs in the 1950s and 1960s. Lee Kuan Yew proclaimed in interviews that in Asia, if you wanted to get educated, you went to India in those times. Chinese elite universities by comparison were far inferior. But China and much of East Asia did the right sequencing. They invested heavily into primary and later secondary education. China didn’t pay much attention to universities until the late 1990s. As a result, literacy rates were much higher much earlier in China than in India and they also invested much more in vocational training. This is the backbone of their skilled manufacturing workforce.

      Santosh Mehrotra, who is the best labour economist in India, has written at length on the need for India to invest in vocational training. There was a half-assed effort with “Skill India” under Modi, but it seems to have been dropped. The guy who ran the program basically admitted “we can’t fix 12 years of inadequate basic schooling with a 1 year program”.

      Once again, Dipa’s question deserve to be asked even here. Given poor outcomes, how come there is more focus on educational accountability from India’s voters? Is it ignorance of how bad things are? Given that many teachers in Indian public schools are often absent, I doubt it.

      Is it because Indian parents don’t care about education? There’s nothing in the data to suggest that. In fact, the studies I’ve seen have shown that even poor Indian families will go to enormous lengths to educate their children. So it is a pan-Indian cultural trait rather than an elite trait. Given this, how come no accountability?

  4. meena kandasami also complains and these days suraj yengde also. at lest in south india, the angry dalit writer/activist is not seen much. i feel that many educated dalits who have moved into private sectors are getting used to a life where their caste does not matter much.

    1. On the other hand, i would argue the angry dalit writer/activist is present only in S-India. Yeah once in a while u would find a Yasica, but majority of the activists are outside of N-India. And we all know the reasons 🙂

  5. Yeah, in my experience, the overwhelming majority of Hindu Americans don’t care about caste. It’s simply not rational or beneficial to care about it, and the families that insist on it usually end up with daughters in a state of desperate spinsterhood (I know 2 such cases, one a Jatt and one a TamBrahm.)

    Actually they don’t care much about race either: Whites, Asians, and Latinas are great. There’s a stigma about dating Blacks of course, but that’s more about dating people with low SES, low intelligence, and nothing in common with you…if you find a smart Nigerian lady, people will accept that.

    Obviously Hindus and Muslims don’t get along, and dating Muslims is a fast way to get written out of the will.

    1. I’ve seen a bunch of hindu-muslim marriages in my age-group in the US that got eventual, if not immediate acceptance. Iyer girl from super chauvinistic family marries bangla muslim academic. Some brahmins can be swayed with scholastic prestige i suppose. Another was a quite parochial gujju vegetarian family, the daughter married a really liberal pakistani dude. Family barely socialized with non-gujjus, they now adore their son-in-law. There are many others, difficult situations no doubt, but haven’t seen outright rejection.

    2. When talking of Jatts it’s mandatory to clarify whether Hindu or Sikh, and phenotype

  6. HM basically outlines the most plausible and likely model from everything i know.

    but this might not apply to those who arrived 1995 and after

  7. Generally agree with H.M. Brough.

    Except many of my friends are in Hindu Muslim marriages. It depends on the TYPE of muslims.

    Dating a conservative Sunni means being written out of the will.

    Dating and marrying a Pir Shirdi Sai Nath Sufi is acceptable. All the marriages that I know of involve Sufi Irfan or liberal muslims.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    A serious question . . . why would someone (including a liberal or irfan/sufi muslim) want to marry a conservative Sunni?

    Although many troll Kabir on BP . . . even Kabir’s life would be very difficult if he were to marry a conservative Sunni.

    1. Anan, many Indian families don’t see it as you do. You can be a bacon-eating atheist who last went to Jummah when he was 14, and you’ll still be a “Muslim.” The idea of switching religions makes about as much sense as switching species.

  8. General trend for new arrivals:
    1) First preference is for Hindus. Any kind of Hindu will do, never even heard of caste being a factor, north-south-east-west everything will do. Some forms of faux discrimination can be explained by skewed girl to guy ratio among graduate students. Girls irrespective of caste, skin-tone, achievement, background have a very easy time and marry upwards. The only place this fails is when Indian parents in India try top fix an arranged marriage within caste for a guy and a girl living in the US.
    2) Overtly religious (beard, bible) Muslims or Gora people don’t care about us and we don’t care about them. African American guys seem to hit on Indian women a lot but I have only seen one who ever succeeded. I have two Hindu friends who have dated Muslim girls (one Bong Muslim another Pakistani). In all three cases (African guy, 2 Muslim girls) the Hindu person involved was not attached to the family to begin with.
    3) Indians date white people but not a lot of these arrangements end in matrimony. Indian women again appear to have a much better time in this regard but of the few such couples(Indian girl -White guy) I have known none ever married and settled down. My hunch is that despite the talk and fascination, for new arrival Hindus, Hindu spouse >> Gora spouse.

    The ones who do manage to close the deal seem to be the ones (usually Indian guys) who are really invested/interested/desperate to marry Gora girl. In this category there are a few who are shallow/insecure or in it for a green card. I have known a IIT D guy who attended a good state university, had a very good job, was reasonably good looking and fit, ended up dating and marrying a really fat subpar (in dating hierarchy, looks, achievements) white lady for a green card. Not everyone is so bad but almost all the new-arrival guys dating white chicks here are decidedly focused on catching one for whatever reason.

  9. The original story seemed like a stretch to me. I have friends who are working in manager positions in silicon valley and in private conversations they mentioned that they are dealing with more HR than product management. If an employee is not promoted, they have to provide a very detailed documentation as to why it is the case. Also, it seems that they have to signal any signs of lower than expected performance right from the beginning. It is not impossible that discrimination is the case, but highly implausible. I’ll reserve my judgement until the court decides the case. In academic circles, I have already seen this story being weaponized by left-leaning academics (more like confirmation bias).

    About the romanticization of villages; it is absolutely unforgivable in this day and age. It is a different case when you need to physically go to a village to see the villages, but these days, everything is on youtube (thanks to android). Just watching a few videos from remote India will make the poverty blatantly obvious. I discovered a YT channel on Telangana history (videos only in Telugu) exploring anywhere from Neolithic and cave painting sites to recent history.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxYBk9HttQWckFtHLB6VqXg/videos

    Just looking at the villages there gives you an idea of the standard of living. We have a loooooong way to go.

  10. In the NYTimes article, Ms. Dutt says that: “The technology giant got away with ignoring the persistent caste discrimination because American laws don’t yet recognize Hindu caste discrimination as a valid form of exclusion.”
    First, I think she meant prohibited where she said valid.
    Second, California law prohibits discrimination based on ” … race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin … ”
    Speaking here as an experienced American lawyer, I do not see why Hindu caste is not included in the the categories of race or ancestry.
    I am not a Hindu and claim no expertise in Hinduism. But, I believe that caste is an inherited immutable condition that is not distinguishable from better known racial categories such as being East Asian or African American.
    If I represented the victim, I would be willing to take the case on a contingency. I would expect a prompt and hefty settlement., a corporate apology, and clear corporate statement that caste discrimination violates long standing corporate policy.
    If I represented the employer, i would tell them to settle quickly and feel lucky that apologies and policy statements were all that was asked of them. I would then fire the responsible supervisors, pour encourager les autres.

  11. The Cisco case is not easy to understand absent some knowledge of how the JEE works. The three guys are roughly contemporary alumni of IITB EE or CS. This means that the two UC guys have really rarefied ranks. I’d guess within the top 150- 200. The AA guy would also have had a fairly good all india rank (say top 2000 nationwide) but have gotten a leg up in choice of subject. One thing IIT people can’t let go of is their JEE rank. The initial harassment seems to have been in this context of the UC chaps flaunting their JEE ranks.

    1. That’s about the most plausible explanation I have come across so far in the comments.
      AIR (All India Rank) hegemony at IITB, where I went, was brutal. During my time there, there used to be a guy from the North (Rajasthan, I think) who looked like a Kashmiri Pandit but was actually an SC (scheduled caste). He did not rank in the general category but was ranked 6th in the SC/ST category so was able to get into CS or EE.
      The general rank holders never let him forget this with constant monikers like scheddu (belonging to scheduled caste) or reminding him that he is frigging idiot who wouldn’t have been there if not for his caste.
      The funny thing is he was filthy rich so I am assuming he took all the name-calling to the chin since he didnt have to worry about getting a job or going for further studies like the other general category AIR holders.

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