Trapped in Silicon Valley’s Hidden Caste System

Born in a cowshed in India, Siddhant now works for Meta in California. But he hides his background as a Dalit and fears he can never reveal his true self.

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Hasnain says:

Long but very worth a read. It’s a human interest story that goes into one man’s experience with casteism throughout his life; and through this covers a lot of history of discrimination in India and the fight to overcome it. And then talks about how the same thing is happening in the US and in Silicon Valley.

“In April 2021, the debate over caste cropped up even closer to home. Siddhant listened in on a video call organized by the Santa Clara County Human Rights Commission, which was debating whether to add caste to its antidiscrimination policy. Over seven hours, 269 people queued up to deliver 30-second speeches. Anonymous, self-identified Dalit tech workers kept their videos off as they described how they had lost jobs and faced casteist slurs. Residents from dominant-caste backgrounds spoke of witnessing bias in their communities and in the region’s tech companies. A representative from the Alphabet Workers Union spoke of how difficult it is for victims, many of whom are in the US on visas, to come forward. Numerous allies topped off their statements with “Jai Bhim”—a tribute to Bhimrao Ambedkar—but others, including a few who self-identified as members of oppressed castes, worried that adding caste as a protected category would perpetuate negative stereotypes about Indians, and especially Hindus, as bigots.”

Posted on 2022-03-02T07:15:08+0000