Maine University of the Liberal Arts outlaws caste discrimination

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A A private liberal arts college in Maine prohibits caste discrimination, a system based on inherited wealth and social status.

Colby College announced Tuesday that it has added caste to its non-discrimination policy, saying: “Like racism, castism is a form of descent-based discrimination, where family background determines which caste they belong to. birth”.

“Often visualized as a pyramid, those in the dominant caste, or at the top of the pyramid, have access to opportunities facilitated by the accumulated generational wealth. indigenous people of South Asia) and Dalits (the most oppressed in the caste system) because they are even lower than the lowest caste, ”the school continued. “Similar to racism, the ruling castes systematically oppress the Dalit Bahujan (oppressed castes), whether through segregation, violence or discrimination.”

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Sonja Thomas, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, has spearheaded the policy change.

“I hope it will be a model for other schools,” she said. “What a ripple effect that could be.”

The caste-based system is observed in some countries, such as India, but the idea that it is “this strange and ancient thing related to Hinduism that is happening elsewhere” is a “misconception” Thomas said.

“[Caste] discrimination occurs across religions … [and] has an impact on students – both South Asian Americans and other races – in higher education and learning, ”she continued.

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Several higher education institutions have made headlines for race-based policies, such as reports that a California professor has been suspended for refusing to rate black students more leniently and that a Washington University is offering a separate housing at a Black Affinity housing program that “celebrates the diversity of Black and African American people and culture.”

Colby is the second college to adopt the new non-discrimination policy behind Brandeis University in Massachusetts, which added a ban on caste system discrimination to college policy in 2019.

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Key words: News, Higher Education, Education, Race and Diversity, Discrimination, Maine, India

Original author: Misty severi

Original location: Maine University of the Liberal Arts prohibits caste discrimination


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