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Invisible Apartheid: What You Need to Know to Be an Ally in the Fight Against Caste Discrimination

What is caste? What is caste discrimination? In her book “Caste,” Isabel Wilkerson powerfully writes that looking at caste is like holding society’s X-ray up to the light. But what happens when you don’t know what to look for? The challenge with caste discrimination is that, sometimes, even those who perpetuate it can’t explain what it is or how it works. As is becoming increasingly clear through California’s recent litigation against Cisco Systems for its role in the perpetuation of caste-based discrimination, caste perpetuates itself nonetheless, in India and at home in the United States--whether we know what it is or not. The question that remains is how do attorneys respond to the challenge of caste, how do institutions account for and protect against caste discrimination, and how (if at all) does US law learn to recognize, prohibit and punish caste discrimination.


  • Thenmozhi Soundararajan, Executive Director, Equality Labs
  • Kevin Brown, Richard S. Levin Professor of Law, Indiana University Bloomington Maurer School of Law
  • Jaspreet Mahal, Accessibility Specialist for Graduate Students, Academic Services, Brandeis University
  • Nico Slate, Professor of History and Department Head, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University


Joint Sponsor: ABA Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice

Co-Sponsors: ABA Center for Human RightsABA Center for Public Interest LawABA Commission on Disability RightsABA Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights & ResponsibilitiesABA Commission on Homelessness & PovertyABA Commission on ImmigrationABA Commission on Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the ProfessionABA Commission on Sexual Orientation and Gender IdentityABA Commission on Women in the ProfessionABA Council for Diversity in the Educational PipelineABA Criminal Justice SectionABA Diversity and Inclusion CenterABA Government and Public Sector Lawyers DivisionABA International Law SectionABA Law Student DivisionABA Section of Environment, Energy, and ResourcesABA Section of State and Local Government LawABA Standing Committee on the Law Library of Congress, ABA Standing Committee on Public Education, ABA Young Lawyers Division


Transcript: Invisible Apartheid: What You Need to Know to Be an Ally in The Fight Against Caste Discrimination

We are not a stereotype

Caste in the United States

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The Annihiliation of Caste

Castes in India: Their Mechanism, Genesis and Development

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

How to be an Anti-Casteist

India Untouched: Stories of a People Apart

The Indian Dalit

India 'untouchables' explained

The Battle of Bhima Koregaon

Equality Labs

J-CASTE - A Global Journey on Social Exclusion

Boston Study Group

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