As Democrats Push to Ban Caste Discrimination, Some Indian Americans Object In the United States, caste discrimination has been a hot button issue among Democrats as they strive to eliminate the persistent social evils of casteism and racism. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Patty Murray have recently introduced the Caste System Elimination Act, which would criminalize any discrimination based on caste. Despite this effort, however, there has been considerable pushback from some Indian Americans who worry that the bill could be used as a weapon against their culture and traditions. The bill would update existing civil rights laws to include caste as a protected class. It also adds protections for people who experience social, economic, and political disadvantages as a result of their caste. In simple terms, it would make discrimination on the basis of caste illegal in the same way that discrimination on the basis of race or gender is currently prohibited. Supporters of the bill argue that casteism is a form of systemic discrimination that is not adequately addressed in existing civil rights laws. They cite evidence of caste discrimination in some immigrant communities, including the under-reporting of caste-based hate crimes in the U.S. Proponents of the bill claim that it would provide much needed legal protections to caste-affected minority populations in the United States. Critics of the bill, however, have expressed concern that it could be used to stifle their cultural and religious practices. Indian Americans object to the idea of criminalizing caste discrimination since it could be seen as interference in Indian cultural mores. Though casteism has been illegal in India for several years now, traditional practices and rituals in certain communities still reflect the presence of the caste system. Proponents of the bill have tried to stress that the legislation is meant to simply end discrimination, not interfere with cultural traditions. The bill does not make the practice of the caste system illegal, but instead criminalizes any kinds of caste-based discrimination. Ultimately, the introduction of this bill brings attention to the issue of caste discrimination and could be seen as a step forward for civil rights in the United States. It remains to be seen, however, if the Indian American community-at-large will accept these protections or continue to view them as an affront to their culture.