The Resolute Race against biased Equality Labs & Caste Resolutions

Equality Labs is back at it again, trying to do an end-run around the Indian-American community and include Caste as a protected category

The Resolute Race against biased Equality Labs & Caste Resolutions
The Resolute Race against biased Equality Labs & Caste Resolutions

Most Hindu Americans slept peacefully on the night of 4/29/2021 with no idea of the battle royale in California, as a sinister plot unfolded, to undermine the Indian American unity and threaten their jobs in the heart of Silicon Valley.

In Santa Clara county since November 2020, a fringe group called Equality Labs was negotiating with the Human Rights Council to include Caste as a protected category. But we, the target community under the nozzle of the gun, were clueless until recently. This weird demand would have been considered preposterous and dismissed immediately under any circumstances, given that “caste” was hardly an apparent issue in the diaspora.  But the political clout of this dubious organization and the inroads it has made into America’s social and political infrastructure, has made such rhetoric stronger by the day.

In 2018 when a so-called “Caste survey” by Equality Labs was released, no one took it seriously because of two main reasons. One, Equality Labs was a little-known organization with no academic credibility in the field of caste studies or statistical surveys. Secondly, the survey was highly unscientific and unimpressive with anomalous anonymous anecdotes that were far removed from the lived reality of most Hindu Americans.

Another Interesting trend noticed as absolutely ALL Sikh voices and ALL Muslim voices were in favour of declaring Caste as a protected category and it makes you wonder about the reason and connection.

Yet, in the two years, a caste and race stranglehold gripped the narrative in an uncanny unfolding of synchronicity of unrelated events around the USA and the world.

“Curiouser and Curiouser! Caste and Race around the world!!

  1. 2018: Equality Labs Caste report released in 2018 with a highly unscientific survey that was conducted over 8 months in 2016. A 5-year-old data and a 3-year-old report are being dressed up in victimhood and we are fed the same concocted recipe over and over again.
  2. 2019: Brandies University passes a Caste resolution on its campus in 2019.[1]
  3. May 2020: George Floyd dies in the heart of Progressive left Minnesota and BLM riots to erupt.
  4. June 26 2020: The release of Isabel Wilkerson’s book “Caste – the origins of our discontent” by none other than Oprah Winfrey makes it a best seller. Together they revive Voldemort – a conflation of Caste and Race begins.
  5. June 30 2020: Cisco Caste Case is splashed in prominent news outlets and makes for a curiously high-profile storyline around media questioning the long-held “model minority” tag for Indian Americans.
  6. July 1 2020: CDFEH (California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing) files a Caste discrimination case against Cisco’s well-known tech company. Strangely, the client John Doe, refuses arbitration, despite employment clauses in his contract, and despite all attempts at reconciliation. Even more strangely, John Doe files a case of discrimination against the very same two guys who had hired him in the first place. Why? Because they refused to promote him. The case moves out of Federal to Santa Clara, where all the “caste” action is.
  7. August 2020: Indian Americans start to look at Equality Labs more seriously and find CDFEH language uncannily similar to Equality Labs report. We study their survey report in more detail and as a survey analyst, I find a major discrepancy in their Caste Survey analysis with several technical errors.[2]
  8. September 2020: We observe the Caste and Race narrative seeping into the schools and media and in course curriculums. Caste reading groups are formed and introductory courses introduced in various universities. Various assignments pop up sporadically, that include Caste or Race.
  9. September 2020: Critical Race theory is introduced in the curriculum. For example. in Buffalo, New York, the school district’s “Emancipation Curriculum” told children that “all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racism.” Obviously causing outrage.[3][4]
  10. September 2020: In India, Hathras case of rape and death reaches international fame with a Casteist narrative despite lacking sufficient data. Another similar case in Rajasthan of a Muslim gangrape of a Dalit is totally buried[5].
  11. May 2018 – January 2021: Meghan Markle’s marriage to Prince Harry results in the couple breaking away from the royal family perpetuating the narrative of the “racist royals” and Oprah Winfrey emerges again; this time to interview Meghan Markle and Prince Harry and their sad story of identity, race and white privilege of British royalty [6].
  12. September 2020 – March 2021: Some schools in Louisiana propose that Parent-Teachers meetings be racially segregated, so Hispanic parents meet Hispanic teachers, Black parents meet black teachers and white parents meet white teachers. This puzzles everyone and most of the staff and parents feel victimized by this segregation.
  13. September 2020 – December 2020: Anti Brahmin posts flood Twitter. Even Thomas Picketty calls Student debt forgiveness a Brahmin bailout.
  14. February 2020-21: Most books on recommended reading, or shortlists and long lists were related to Caste or Race theories and related issues or stories. Go figure!
  15. Early April 2021: Two Cal State campuses Cal State in Santa Clara and Cal State in Davies pass. These resolutions are highly flawed, target Hindus and face strong opposition from Indian Americans and yet pass unanimously. Both resolutions site Equality Labs Caste survey as their inspiration![7]

Coincidence much? Let’s not forget all the statues broken or desecrated, including Mahatma Gandhi’s, calling these leaders casteist or racist.

  1. 29th April 2021: Soon and eerily, we find that Santa Clara Human Rights Commission has been approached by Equality Labs and have been in discussions for the past five months to discuss their proposal to declare Caste as a protected category, in April.

Hundreds of Hindu Americans called in on a 6-hour hearing to share their “lived experiences”[8].  Another round of anonymous anecdotal reference to personal stories becomes a subject of hearing because the Dalits are “caste oppressed” and fearful for their lives. This despite no known recorded hate crimes of such kinds have appeared within the law-abiding Hindu American community. Another Interesting trend noticed as absolutely ALL Sikh voices and ALL Muslim voices were in favour of declaring Caste as a protected category and it makes you wonder about the reason and connection.

Many second-generation voices spoke for the proposal as well.

Many dramatic cases are seen where parents are against the Caste proposal while their children are favouring the proposal. Just goes to show the level of deracination our community is undergoing. It also shows as one of the callers pointed out, how Caste agnostic our GenNext is[9]. They have no Caste acculturation and having been raised with egalitarian principles, they tend to favour and parrot a narrative that seems to stand for equal rights. They have no idea regarding the pernicious political agenda behind this hate campaign against Hindus[10].

It is definitely a hate campaign against Hindus. And while the Santa Clara HRC tried to shut speakers down when they spoke up against Equality Labs and its survey, the comments kept coming until the Chair, Reverend Bryan Franzen had to relent and say, “this is a public forum and people are allowed to criticize, as long as they are not abusive”.

It is a shame that they were told to stop in the first place.

Many speakers asked for more time and finally, the Chair intervened and said they would not make any decision today. This was a beginning of a discussion and would not conclude anything at the end of this meeting.

Stopping any decision at the end of this meeting, was a crucial objective for the Hindu Americans, as it was a one-sided partial panel anyway, based on concocted reports. While Equality Labs and its well-rehearsed speakers tried to maintain a façade of “it is not against Hindus and this is a larger South Asian issue”, it is clear from their 2016 report (which they call the 2018 report) that they are an anti-Hindu report as each comment in their report continues to reiterate.

Essentially, some of their Twitter channels have openly asked for the obliteration of the Hindu religion. Their people are known to foster hate against Hindu and Brahmins and are openly targeting Hindu symbols, Hindu festivals and even the Indian government.

The Human Rights Commission and its chair were seen to be biased towards them and asking people to refrain from commenting about Equality Labs was itself a worrisome sign and a foreboding of how tough and uphill this battle is as it is stacked against us.

In any other situation, such a biased, donkeys’ years old report (5 years is an eternity in the world of surveys) based on a frivolous study would have been the trashed long ago, but this is the new progressive America where the fringe is mainstream, and many spokespeople exist to parrot ready to use “woke” phrases.

Whether the Cisco case, the biased and flawed Cal state resolutions or the Human Rights hearing, the Hindu community in Santa Clara and the larger Silicon Valley is behaving like the proverbial Kumbhakaran.

Except for a few of us who stayed up and spoke into the wee hours of the morning, the rest of the Hindu Americans were oblivious of the imminent danger. This proposal is nothing short of a blatant attempt to divide the community, a direct attack on the Indian American tech worker and his livelihood, and a sinister plot to generate a sense of discomfort in hiring Indian Americans[11].

If this proposal is accepted even partially as relevant legally or as an HR policy in Silicon Valley, a Damocles sword of Caste will forever hang atop every Hindu American as and when they hire any more Indian Americans under them.

The good news so far is, the Santa Clara HRC was cognizant of the heavy opposition and protests from our Indian Americans and adjourned the meeting yesterday, with no decision taken forthwith [12].

We will continue to wait for the next steps and keep following this story in the coming months.

Note:
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

References:

[1] Adding Caste to Our Non-Discrimination and Harassment PolicyDec 17, 2019, Brandeis University

[2] A Rebuttal to the Equality Labs Caste ReportAug 27, 2020, Medium.com

[3] Keep Racist Critical Race Theory Ideology Out of K-12 ClassroomsApr 22, 2021, The Daily Signal

[4] Buffalo students told ‘all white people play a part in perpetuating systemic racismFeb 24, 2021, New York Post

[5] There is Caste in the Hathras Gangrape, You Just Refuse to See ItOct 1, 2020, Live Wire

[6] Oprah Winfrey Reveals What Surprised Her In Meghan Markle, Prince Harry InterviewApr 24, 2021, Huffpost.com

[7] RESOLUTION CALLING FOR CAL POLY AND THE CALIFORNIA STATE
UNIVERSITY (CSU) TO INCLUDE CASTE IN ANTI-DISCRIMINATORY POLICY
– ASI, California Polytechnic State University

[8] EXCLUSIVE: Santa Clara County Human Rights Commission debates casteApr 30, 2021, Youtube.com

[9] Life in the US campuses for students Holi fake narrative and Vivek Agnihotri talkMay 17, 2020, PGurus.com

[10] Why attacks on Hindus, Hinduism, Hindustan increased recently?Jun 16, 2020, PGurus.com

[11] My Letter Series: Dear Chicago Council…If They Don’t Have Bread, Let Them Eat Cake (with apologies to Marie Antoinette)Mar 06, 2021, PGurus.com

[12] Santa Clara HRC to vote on Caste-based reservation without consulting the 400K large Hindu communityApr 29, 2021, PGurus.com

Richa Gautam is an entrepreneur and investor working in media, data analytics, and social projects. Richa works with several welfare organizations and is actively involved in human rights issues and amplifying the minority voice.

She writes on current issues in the Indian American framework. She will soon be launching her own radio show and is actively involved in conducting webinars on current and historical perspectives.
Richa Gautam

9 COMMENTS

  1. This is an email I wrote to the Santa Clara HRC committee:-

    I am a proud Santa Clara resident as well as a proud American citizen and Indian native but am appalled by this exercise to subjugate and divide the Indians on caste system.

    I would like you to consider the following points before you come to any decision:-

    1. What is the origin of this word Caste (Casta in portuguese) and how come this word which did not originate in India come over to India?
    2. If this never existed in India when and who implemented this caste system. (Hint:- The British colonizers forcefully implemented this in the early 19th century)
    3. I heard from the so-called experts on the panel, that the caste system is not an attack on Hindus but this exists across all religions. If this is the case can you find people from all the 4 sections of caste i.e. Brahmin, Kshatryas, Vaishyas & Shudras, from different religion i.e. Islam, Christianity, Jew, Parsis and related Hindu religions i.e. Sikhs, Jain, Buddhist, that have all resided in India for centuries. Find one Brahmin Muslim, Brahmin Christian, from across the greater Indian subcontinent i.e. Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri-Lanka, Burma.
    4. If you are able to find the above how come casteism exists in religions like Islam and Christians only in India when these religions did not originate from India and if you do believe casteism exists than you would have to provide cast certificates to people of other religions and other countries as well who reside in Santa Clara.
    5. What is the origin of this word Dalit, can you find reference to this exact word in any original hindu scripture?
    6. I heard some folks talk about Manusmruti, can you find this exact word Caste in it? Manusmruti talks about Varna which is NOT based on birth, it was a fluid system where folks could move around from one Varna to another based on their preference. If you do plan to start giving this caste certificate in Santa Clara, are you saying a Teachers kids can only be Teachers in the future, or only a doctors kid can be doctors in the future?
    7. It is quite easy to identify people based on race, skin color, sex visually, but how would you easily identify people of various caste, would people be required to carry a badge or id that certifies their caste? How do you plan to give out these caste certificates?
    8. Have you thought about the differences in other religion like Protestant-Catholic in christianity, Shia/Sunni/Deobandi/Ahmedia etc in Islam. How people from a particular sect are encouraged to not visit and at times not allowed to visit other sects place of worship or restrictions with burials etc. Are you planning to also give caste certificates for this?
    9. For hindus people of any varna and so called caste, all can visit any place of worship, no differentiation in places of last rites. In Fact we commonly visit even Sikh, Buddhists temples without any discrimanation.

    I kindly request to find answers to the above from experts who are truely entrached with the hindu/indian culture and history before you arrive at any conclusion because this excercise will ultimately lead to discrimination and segregation of hindus

  2. Entirely Hindi+Gujarati all-male campaign doesn’t work in coastal states — Bengal, Orissa, Southern India. Considering people’s dissatisfaction with Mamta, BJP managed a spectacular flop.

    Other concern is, AIADMK is losing everytime it aligns with BJP. Jaya learnt this lesson and won her last election by dropping BJP

  3. Well oprah distributed the book “caste” a few months ago to the top CEOs in the USA.

    So you better package your thoughts in a nice pamphlet and distribute that.

    This war has started. Vote with your money.

  4. 1: You need to link this somehow to blood quantum for native Americans. Just like the amount of blood is used to identify and discriminate against them, caste will be used to discriminate against Hindus.

    2: time for us to intellectually debunk ELabs. This is no time to sit and complain, we need to go on the offensive. Who are their scholars, their background their affiliations?

  5. Thank you Mr. Iyer and Ms. Guatam. I support your effort and other Hindu Americans in protesting this resolution. Hindu Diaspora have come to US and flourished in US (as well as many in many Western Nations) out of merit NOT because of any “privilege” of caste. US universities did not give them admission based on caste nor did the US embassies give visas based on caste. Indians from all walks of life used the opportunities to come to US and have been highly successful in contributing to the US economy, society, and culture. No one has veer claimed this to be due to their caste. Hence, it is strange that HRC is trying to impose Caste on this Diaspora who does not care about caste and strip them of their “Rights” to a dignified and harassment free life in the name of protecting “rights”. It is opening the door to institutionalization of demonization of Hindus and discrimination against Hindus, which HRC should be acting to avoid. HRC should be “arms-at-length” organization that should not be working with any Organization but hear representations from ALL in an open hearing without furthering anyone’s /any organization’s agenda. HRC members should act to maintain its highest moral, ethical and legal standards and reject this divisive and anti-Hindu proposal. Besides, it should institute a mechanism to keep parochial and political organizations at arms length.

  6. When will people awake!
    The thoughts about such things and their direction is given only by money
    Money is free and in the hands of the Fed and your Govt which connives with te.
    Your life is quantified by maybe the number of paper dollars used to influence their ideas

    There is no use crying yourself hoarse until and unless you comprehend the root cause.
    Until you are ride of the Fed’s paper system you cannot expect change

    For you to understand here are some figures.

    In 1959, the M1 was around $159 billion. In 2019, it was around $3,800 billion – $3,8 trillion
    Now it is around $21,000 billion ( $21 trillion) in 2021 in just over a year.

    Paper printed that created debt, that you as a citizen , are responsible for. Crime committed by the US govt with your approvals.

    • My apologies for the mistakes like rid shown as ride etc, that have crept into my comment a la Gates and his systems.

  7. Insidious! What began in India a couple of centuries ago and fine tuned to a macabre art with disastrous consequences in the demography, is now sought to be done in the US. Best is to attack the fundamentals. Spread the awareness that

    -the term ‘caste’ is not Indian and therefore caste does not exist in India.
    -that India had/has Jatis and JATI IS NOT THE SAME AS CASTE.
    – that brahmins are not a jati. They are a Varna, AND VARNA IS NOT THE SAME AS JATI
    – that the only real qualification of jati is occupation and that of varna is intrinsic nature of a human being
    – that nevertheless, all varnas and jatis in India have become equal under law and the Indian constitution
    – that slowly, through natural and aided social change this equality is being affected on the ground and in society quite successfully.
    – and that as far as the US is concerned all Indians there are Americans first and have the right to be considered equal to any other American and not be docketed or separated or labelled otherwise.

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