Caste and California: the lawsuits are in!

Cal State banned caste discrimination. Two Hindu professors sued:

Two Hindu professors are suing the head of their university system to oppose the addition of caste to an anti-discrimination policy amid a broader battle over whether colleges should explicitly call out caste-based bias.

The California State University System professors argue that naming caste as a protected characteristic unfairly targets Hindus and wrongly suggests that oppression and discrimination are among Hinduism’s core tenets. Sunil Kumar and Praveen Sinha contend in the complaint, filed Monday, that Hinduism is about compassion and equanimity — principles directly opposed to a discriminatory caste system.

Here are some things I believe

– This law is impractical and wrongheaded. There are very few Dalits in the US, so there is by definition very little discrimination against Dalits (even if you grant that individual Dalits experience pervasive discrimination, which I honestly do not grant). Additionally, most Americans cannot tell different types of brown people apart, so its impact is not religious-cultural but racial.

– Hinduism has a strong connection with the caste system because Hinduism, as it exists today, developed out of the indigenous religious systems of the Indian subcontinent, and those religious systems are inextricably connected to Indian culture, which is riven with caste.

– Caste consciousness also seems pretty pervasive among many Christians and Muslims in the subcontinent.

– If you view religion as a bundle of characteristics that change over time, there’s nothing fundamental to Hinduism, or any other religion. This is my personal belief. For most of its history, Islam and slavery were closely connected because slavery is addressed in the sharia. That ended in the 20th century for historically contingent reasons. Though some level of varna awareness seems to exist in Bali and among the Chams of Vietnam, the elaborate jati system does not. Probably because here Hinduism is unmoored from its Indian matrix.

Some interesting quotes…

 But Sundaram said many younger Hindus have formed alliances with other affinity groups, such as Black Lives Matter, and are more inclined to call out caste discrimination.

Young American Hindus are the least likely to care, or even know, much about caste. But they are the ones worried about it and engaging in activism. This is performative because they are progressives searching for a problem that is fading and diminishing before their eyes.

Most importantly, she said, she disagrees with the Hindu American Foundation’s argument that caste is not foundational to Hinduism.

“You absolutely can acknowledge this as part of the tradition and fight back against it, but to argue that it doesn’t exist in the tradition, it’s just false,” Sundaram said. “There’s just no way to really make that case.”

Foundational and traditional are distinct. Is the reporter engaging in manipulation, or did the activist professor consciously misunderstand?

8 thoughts on “Caste and California: the lawsuits are in!”

  1. Caste is more of an issue in Brahmaladesh, Kaneda. Caste consciousness is strongest among a certain group there. Razib also noted this the Central Valley.

        1. The map on his avatar shows Khalistan as including Haryana

          Not sure how this is supposed to be workable as it would be majority Hindu in that case.

          Then again the Sikh empire was majority Muslim + Hindu as well.

          1. The most anti Khalistan ultra nationalist regions are included in their maps. It is beyond delusional and just done as a form of trolling at this point. All the rivers start in Himachal. It would have 0 economy. It’s just an extortion racket at this point. Some even include Kutch. The whole thing is moronic.

            It is a feudal Jat Sikh project and now the young generation are brainwashed to think it is “Woke.” The whole thing is a fraud.

            There are real grievances with 1984 and water rights. I get it. But the whole state is a subsidy project at this point and going bankrupt. Refusal to support agriculture reform will turn it into a desert quickly. It is a sad situation.

  2. Incentives, reminds me of jonathan haidt, 2 parts of academia, justice vs truth. Truth has no incentive, only few who work all their lives and discover something get recognition, but by being activist in an arena where a lot of progress has already been made, you can piggyback on it and try to get something out of that. So, you can be third rate musician, third rate academic and it makes sense to get recognition as told by manu joseph. They wont go after islam because the cost/ benefit analysis is too huge to venture both from the group and also from outside.

    Only way out is to ensure not all universities go woke. The side for truth has to capture some castles/ universities and businessness and judges. And fight from there .Instead I see people talking about arguing their case, explaining, wondering aloud why no one cares for truth. Interests beat truth. In a democracy, identity Interests of the proles beat interests of the 2% smart people. Also, the economic interests of the proles could not be aligned because there is competition with individual interests vs collective interests. A significant number of people from working class do infact become rich or get promoted and can see that .

    Identity is easier. But even here, You can use money to buy native informer vs the group. Again it depends on backlash and ability to punish. As to the question of traditional vs foundational. Genetics is the best answer. Until gupta period, there was fair amount of intermixing, also Hinduism has a longer history than most religions. 2000 yrs of memory before caste took over. christinaity by comparison benefited by the renaissance and development of sciences after only about 1500 yrs. China on the other hand, inspite of being equally if not more older had massive wars. In the long run,probably, ahimsa and vegetarianism again probably adopted from the sister faiths of buddhism and jainism did more to damage social mobility in traditional hinduism. no wars and no meat means stratification and purity/pollution. counter intuitive.If one wants to preserve egalitarian impulses in medieval period, then perhaps one needs wars . Enough to engage large numbers of proles .

    In short, use genetics to argue it is not foundational which is the simple truth. Conquer at least some castles, some judges and some businesses and media.

    It seems nietzsche has something to teach us and for me to learn. slave morality seems to be winning for now.

  3. The caste system is so messed up, seriously. I think this move is a good one by the American lawmakers, caste discrimination or any of that Hindu nationalist stuff should not be allowed in America or anyone else and it should be banned legally.

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