On Tuesday night, a vote took place in the city council to abolish the caste system.
City council member Kshama Sawant, who proposed the ordinance, said during Tuesday’s session that the measure does not single out one community, but accounts for how caste discrimination crosses national and religious boundaries.
“Our movement has won a historic, first-in-the-nation ban on caste discrimination in Seattle!” she tweeted on Tuesday. “Now we need to build a movement to spread this victory around the country.”
Thenmozhi Soundararajan, executive director of the Oakland, California-based Equality Labs, whose advocacy work along with community partners continues to push caste discrimination laws forward, called the council vote “a culture war that has been won”.
The most well-known criteria for discrimination of the caste system are race and religion. People with different layers are not even allowed to eat each other's food. They can only marry among their own layer. It has such strict rules.
The term caste originally means "pure lineage" in Portuguese. According to this system, people are categorized and they have to live in the layer they belong to. It is not possible to switch between layers. This leads to inequality.