California Senate votes to protect South Asian rights

By Leonardo Cervantes

The State Senate passed SB 403 and now awaits Governor Newsom’s desk.  The bill would add caste to the anti-discrimination law. 

The bill bans discrimination based on caste, whether the person is in a high or low position. 

Caste as a form of ancestry is protected under state civil rights law, as well as education and housing codes. The caste system has existed in India for at least 3,000 years. 

There are essentially five different levels in the caste system with Dalits being considered the lowest ranking caste. 

Caste is a social hierarchy passed down through families, and it can dictate the professions a person can work in as well as aspects of their social lives, including whom they can marry. 

While the caste system originally was for Hindus, nearly all Indians today identify with a caste, regardless of their religion. 

Many Asians migrated to California in order to avoid the harsh caste system yet a lot of them were still being discriminated against. 

If Governor Newsom accepts this new law, it could further give Asian migrants a more welcoming feeling. 

Many immigrants leave their home countries and travel to the U.S. to reach the so-called American dream. A caste system ban could make Asians much more accepting in California.

One of the many benefits of the caste system being banned will be how it will improve the work of many Asians. 

Asians will no longer have boundaries at work and will be able to get promotions if they complete the tasks at hand. 

One of the many downfalls of the caste system is that it grouped a large section with no chance of improving.

If a person knows they have no chance of getting promoted they will eventually begin doing a lackluster job. 

No matter how great they are at their job, they have no possibility of elevating their position at work. In turn, slacking off at work can possibly get them demoted to a job they are overqualified for. 

This cycle of being qualified for a promotion but not getting it because of a rule over 3,000 years is demoralizing.

California is home to 10.5 million immigrants. California has nearly double the amount of immigrants, 27% almost double the percentage  the rest of the country, 14%, according to Public Policy Institute of California. 

The foreign-born population consists of 23%. About 46% of children have at least one immigrant parent. 

Asian Americans make up 15% of the state’s population.

A caste system ban will also allow kids to set higher goals and dream bigger. 

Kids won’t have boundaries on them anymore as to what job they can and can’t do. Instead, they can work hard to qualify for any job they set their mind to. 

Each generation will keep improving on the past as they no longer have limits set in their life.

The harassment and discrimination Dalits face will also continue to lower. At the workplace, many Dalits are scared or discouraged from being social, in order to avoid being discriminated against. 

Over time with a caste system ban, this will continue to dissolve. 

Overall a caste system ban in California is needed to protect South Asians from further discrimination and help make their daily lives more pleasant.

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