I recall a conversation with my colleague regarding casteist practices in their community. During the course of conversation, I learned that he is planning to attend a business meetup that weekend but he explained that I cannot attend it or be a part of their WhatsApp group as I am not from the same community. He further elaborated that they all worship the same God and marry within the community and ostracize anybody that defies and marries outside their community.
Madhivanan Durai, Dallas,TX
Math/Science Olympiads are Not for so-called Lower Castes
When I went to Cupertino schools to inquire about Math and Science Olympiad teams, I found that most of these were dominated by brahmins. These brahmins are well-established, have close rapport with teachers and run the show disguised as volunteers. They do not allow 'others' i.e. non-brahmins proper access to the resources like practice kits and practice tests.
They strategically form teams where events requiring more work are assigned to non-brahmins whereas they become part of events that do not require much work. They also place their kids in teams that have previously won or scored well in competitions. Some of them also practice Hindu ritual ways of thanking the teacher after school hours 'unofficially' and off the record.
B Jayakumar, Cupertino, CA.
Casteism is even more traumatic when practiced casually with no acknowledgement of its violence
My wife and I experienced this trauma on many occasions. Once, we were in a social party in Houston where we met a couple that were recent acquaintances of ours. They spoke the same Indian language and were from the same Indian state. Suddenly, the lady of the couple asked my wife 'what is your caste'. We had to tell them. Since then they slowly withdrew from us. It is painful to face discrimination by caste.
On another occasion, we had a different kind of encounter: A mangal sutra is worn by married Hindu women in India, and after seeing ours, a lady told us that this kinda design will be put on only by lower caste women in India. This was very hurtful.
I have heard Indian folks working in the USA speak very poorly about so-called ""lower castes"". Sometimes it is very scary to express your identity during such conversations and talk against them."
A Marimuthu, Houston, TX.
Separation in the residential community
We, 3-4 Indian families, lived in the same condominium community. One family lives beside my house, the second family lives opposite my house and the third family lives 2 blocks away. When we initially moved here, we visited each one's house in the first month with some sweets (as a friendly gesture in the Indian tradition), introduced ourselves, discussed their kids' names and ours. Our kids' names are Christian names and only later did we realize that they recognized our caste from our kids' names. They were quite normal at that point of time, and then we also invited them to visit our home to get to know each other better.
It's been almost 2 years since then, and no one has visited us yet, so sad. The other three families get together frequently, go out for family picnics, and even for new year parties. We were never invited and excluded somehow. We learn about their parties and status etc., only through social media.
J Alex, Chicago, IL.
Music is for the so-called Upper Caste!
When I took my daughter to music class, the teacher explained that only certain sects of people have the ability to learn master music and then proceeded to inquire about our caste.