How caste discrimination impacts communities in Canada (The Conversation)

Screenshot from video | Caste in Canada project interview with Rashpal Bharwaj

By Anne Murphy & Suraj Yengde

Many perceive caste to be a phenomenon that only exists in India. Yet, it is a part of Canadian society, and an issue that many in South Asian diasporas are contending with.

The late British Columbia-based poet and activist Mohan Lal Karimpuri described caste as a system of high and low, a form of “social, economic, political, religious inequality” that takes away the power of the many and puts it in the hands of the few. It is the hierarchical ranking of people in accordance with an ascriptive identity, associated with family, lineage and hereditary occupation.

Those who are Dalit, like Karimpuri, are among the most marginalized by dominant castes, and historically systematically excluded in social, economic and cultural terms. Dalits are most vulnerable in India where violence and exclusion remain pervasive. In 2022, Amnesty International stated that “hate crimes including violence against Dalits and Adivasis [Indigenous Peoples] were committed with impunity.”

But caste does not only exist in South Asia. In recent years, it has been formally recognized as a potential grounds for discrimination in the United States and Canada in diverse contexts in places like Seattle, Wash. and Burnaby, B.C..

This story was originally published in Read the full story here.

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