“When I tell them my caste, silence descends”: Caste-based Discrimination among the Nepali Diaspora in the San Francisco Bay Area, USA

Main Article Content

Prem Pariyar
Bikash Gupta
Ruvani W Fonseka

Abstract

Recent cases of caste-based workplace discrimination in Silicon Valley in the United States (US) have highlighted the practice of caste-based discrimination in the San Francisco (SF) Bay Area. Most documentation of caste-based discrimination in diaspora populations in the US has focused on the Indian diaspora, omitting the perspectives of Dalits from other South Asian countries. This study investigated caste-based discrimination among the Nepali diaspora living in the SF Bay Area. Twenty-seven Nepali-American Dalits in the SF Bay Area participated in qualitative research on their experiences of caste-based discrimination. Aligned with findings from studies of Dalit diaspora members in other settings, the research found that Dalits faced social exclusion, workplace prejudice, microaggressions, and housing bias in the Nepali diaspora in the SF Bay Area. To preempt or avoid discrimination, some Dalits hid their caste, and many did not feel comfortable taking action regarding caste-based discrimination because of the absence of caste as a protected category in their workplaces and in local government policies. Caste-based discrimination affected the Dalits’ mental health as well. The findings highlight the need for policy interventions for Dalits living in the SF Bay Area and facing caste-based discrimination within their diaspora communities.

Article Details

How to Cite
Pariyar, P., Gupta, B., & Fonseka, R. (2022). “When I tell them my caste, silence descends”: Caste-based Discrimination among the Nepali Diaspora in the San Francisco Bay Area, USA. CASTE / A Global Journal on Social Exclusion, 3(1), 199-212. https://doi.org/10.26812/caste.v3i1.320
Section
Policy Arena
Author Biographies

Prem Pariyar, California State University

Department of Social Work, California State University East Bay, 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd, Hayward, California, 94542, USA

Ruvani W Fonseka, San José State University

School of Social Work, San José State University, One Washington Square, San José, CA 95192, USA