The legislative effort to add civil right protections against caste discrimination should be all the evidence one needs to know that multiculturalism has reached its farcical end.
As reported in CalMatters (“A small world: How caste discrimination came to California,” June 8) and elsewhere, many South Asians — Hindus, I presume — who have immigrated to the United States feel that they are being discriminated against by their fellow South Asian immigrants because they come from a lower caste. To add to the multicultural mix, the bill’s author, Sen. Aisha Wahab (D-Fremont) is not South Asian but Afghan. Only in California!
Based on my very limited knowledge of the subject (consisting of a perfunctory Internet search), There are four main castes — the Brahmins at the top and the Dalits (the so-called “untouchables”) at the bottom. Apparently, those four castes can be further divided into about 3,000 castes and 25,000 sub-castes, each based on a specific occupation. These designations are central to the Hindu religion.
Senate Republican leader Brian Jones (R-El Cajon) is often mentioned in news stories as an opponent to the caste-discrimination legislation. In this he is joined by many Muslim, Bengali, Hindu and Indian-American groups. Even the American Atheists stand in opposition.
But, again according to CalMatters, so divisive is the bill in the South Asian community that the legislature’s two South Asian members — Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and Jasmeet Bains (D-Bakersfield) — refused to respond to inquiries.
I cannot help but think that this episode, along with a few others in recent memory, serves to show just how far down the “multi-culti” rabbit hole the state has descended.
The 50-year effort to end the dominance of White Protestants was premised on the idea that doing so would lead to a more tolerant and accepting society. California has been on the forefront of this effort.
Over the decades, we were told that embracing cultures outside of the Anglo-American norm would create a safe, nurturing society where all people could thrive.
We were told that extending positions of power and authority to non-White Protestants would in and of itself end decades of racism and exclusion.
We were told that diversity and multiculturalism would lead to a harmonious society where Americans of all races and ethnicities would live in concord.
It hasn’t worked out that way.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no beef with South Asians, which I think refers mostly to subcontinental Indians. Good luck finding a doctor or engineer who isn’t Indian (as their White Protestant peers have pursued less demanding careers). Indian-Americans are success-oriented and family-focused. Indian food ranks with Mexican and sushi as the go-to choice for hungry Californians. In all, Indians appear to be fully integrated into American life and are rightfully enjoying all that the country has to offer.
But based on the concerns of this bill’s proponents, appearances can be deceiving.
You might have observed that this effort to eradicate caste discrimination comes just months after Latino members of the Los Angeles City Council were recorded making racist comments about another councilmember’s adopted black child. The derogatory statements were made in a conference call during which Latinos were strategizing to maintain their political advantage vis-à-vis the city’s African-American residents, no less. Outrage and racial discord ensued.
And that’s not the least of it. Just last month the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) issued its “Hate in the Golden State: Extremism & Antisemitism in California, 2021-2022” report declaring that California “is home to the country’s highest number of extremist-related murders and plots and has seen numerous incidents of political violence.”
Among other disturbing facts, the ADL reports that, according to the latest FBI hate crime statistics for 2021, there were 1,765 reported hate crime incidents in California, an increase of 33 percent from the 1,330 incidents recorded in 2020.
As is to be expected, the ADL, founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, is mostly concerned with antisemitism. On this front, California reported the second-highest number of antisemitic incidents in 2022, following only New York. In particular, the ADL found a significant spike in antisemitic incidents following hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians in May 2021.
Although the report tends to emphasize the role of white supremacists in those incidents, it also calls out the Nation of Islam and Palestinian groups.
Just this week the state’s Attorney General released the 2022 Hate Crime in California Report confirming that hate crime “events” have surged, from 1,763 in 2021 to 2,120 in 2022. But it’s not just the usual victims. Anti-Protestant bias events rose from 2 in 2021 to 12 in 2022. That’s a 500 percent increase!
By both legal and social means, California is arguably the most racially and ethnically policed society in the world, the former Yugoslavia and Lebanon excepted. Schools, governments, and corporations work in concert to enforce very strict codes of conduct regarding race, ethnicity and any thoughts or comments regarding either. Enormous amounts of resources are spent on trainings and formal, administrative processes to give recourse to any “minority” offended or otherwise put upon (unless, of course, that minority is a White Protestant). In this we are, as the state’s progressive politicians are constantly crowing, the model for the country and the world.
If immigrants are importing their various forms of discrimination…
If Latinos are just as prone to racially insensitive remarks as any unreformed, knuckle dragging White troglodytes…
If hate crimes continue increasing at breakneck speed despite decades of educational efforts to curb such behavior…
Then the only conclusion must be that multiculturalism is dead.
Or perhaps the better word is “failed.” Because, unfortunately, the half-dead corpse of multiculturalism — and its sibling diversity — is likely to linger on life support for decades more to come.
J.S. Scifo is a North County resident who has worked in national and state politics.