Community reviews for Caste in the United States

Immigration revitalizes and sustains America. Therefore the nation is better served by opening its arms to those who traverse seas and deserts and make this country better. We welcome their tenacity, intelligence, and labor. We, however, ask that beliefs and practices that result in prejudice and discrimination be left behind. This report sheds light on caste oppression – its magnitude and its harmful consequences. But the report does, it is a call to action – to stand in solidarity with the Caste oppressed, to make their plight our cause.

Paul Y. Watanabe, Ph.D. Director, Institute for Asian American Studies, and Professor, Dept. of Political Science, University of Massachusetts, Boston


This excellent report confirms caste discrimination is prevalent amongst the US South Asian diaspora. Nearly 10 years ago the Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance’s report ‘A Hidden Apartheid’ found the same in the UK. Caste discrimination is a problem wherever the South Asian Diaspora settle. Time's up for the Caste deniers. We must annihilate Caste and its pernicious.

Santosh Dass, MBE, Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance, United Kingdom


The Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations UK welcomes this excellent report about Caste Discrimination in the USA. Dr Ambedkar warned the world that Caste will be emigrated to other counters. Here is some more proof.

Arun Kumar, Federation of Ambedkarite and Buddhist Organisations, United kingdom


This report is a timely intervention in complicating the history of a demography that has primarily been understood as a “model minority” in this country. Even though it has been historically identified as a homogenous Hindu community, the report states that this apparently innocuous label has hidden the experiences of Dalits, Shudras and Adivasis who continue to feel excluded, judged and marked by the community’s exclusionary practices in the United States. It must be appreciated that the report does not conflate the experiences of all South Asians under the same rubric. For instance, it is sensitive to the experiences of South Asians who have a history of indentured labor in the Caribbean and acknowledges that it cannot be conflated with the professional diaspora that migrated from India after immigration laws changed in the United States in 1965. I'd be curious to see whether the report will generate any kind of self-reflection and desire for progressive change within the South Asian community. 

Drishadwati Bargi, PH.d candidate, Department of asian languages and literatures, university of minnesota


The South Asian caste system is one of those systems that you can only truly understand if you have lived it. This peculiarity of caste system makes this report extremely remarkable given how deftly and concisely it manages to explain and contextualize the idea and prevalence of caste in the United States. The report documents how this horrible system of caste, like a nefarious virus, is not only an excellent survivor, it's also an amazing traveler, crossing oceans and mountains safely lodged in the hearts and brains of its practitioners. Without doubt, a report that deserves to be read and discussed widely.

Arif Hussain, Coalition for Democratic India


Caste in the United States provides broad and deep enough insights where one can get a glimpse of the horrors of the caste system. While it provides significant empirical evidence from respondents it lays threadbare the myth that South Asians once in the diaspora to not have to face discrimination based on caste or that the once privileged in South Asia give up their supremacist ideas once they cross the shores. As someone born into a Brahmin family, this Survey also works as a wake up call on dominant caste communities and how there is a lot of education needed within ourselves to eliminate caste prejudices in distant lands like the US.

Vinay Bhat


This report is the first and only existing demographic survey that collects information on caste affiliation among South Asian Americans. The landmark study interrupts long-held beliefs that caste logics have been abandoned or muted once oceans were crossed. Gathering demographic data on caste affiliation is a highly contested and politicized research objective -- a controversy that has helped in the erasure of Bahujan migration experience for decades. In recent years, caste-related studies on discrimination in the United Kingdom have been met with intense opposition from multiple Hindu-centric Indian groups. Despite its profound structural impact, caste as a social determinant has always been under-examined, especially in the diaspora. Among its key findings, the caste survey study demonstrates that Dalit Americans face strikingly disproportionate levels of increased discrimination, verbal harassment and physical aggression than any other caste category. Furthermore, we know from this study that Dalit-Bahujan and Adivasi desi communities are not a minority, but in fact make up over half of the sample population—further complicating commonly held notions of the dominant caste composition of the South Asian American population. The caste survey study begins to address a much neglected area of research and gap in our knowledge of South Asian communities and is an indispensable resource tool for researchers, activists and advocates alike.

Sonia cheruvil,