Thursday, November 12, 2009
Asian caste discrimination is rife in Britain
Caste discrimination is rife in Britain, with more than half of those from traditionally lower-status Asian backgrounds finding themselves victims of prejudice and abuse, according to a new report. The study, co-ordinated by the Anti Caste Discrimination Alliance (Acda), suggests that the caste system is still widespread and affects tens of thousands of people in the workplace, the classroom and even the doctor's surgery. 58% of the 300 people surveyed said they had been discriminated against because of their caste, while 79% said they did not think the police would understand if they tried to report a caste-related "hate crime". 45% of respondents said they had either been treated negatively by co-workers or had comments made about their caste. 9% felt they had been passed over for promotion, and 10% said they had been paid less because of their caste. A further 5% said they had experienced threatening behavior because of their caste. The classroom also appears to be subject to caste divides: 7% of those surveyed said they had been the victims of threatening behaviour while aged under 12 at school, with another 16% suffering verbal caste abuse. According to the study, 10% of those responsible for caste discrimination against under-12s were teachers, and 42% fellow pupils. One of the most commonly reported forms of discrimination is caste-related name-calling. Almost three quarters (71%) of those questioned in the survey identified themselves as members of the Dalit community. Dalits, who were formerly known as Untouchables because of their low caste status, are sometimes referred to abusively as chuhra and chamar.