The Racial Paradigm and Dalit Anti-Caste Activism in the United States

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5 Scopus citations


Based on interviews, some field research, and an analysis of online material, this paper focuses on the rights struggles of diasporic Indian caste groups formerly considered "Untouchable"whose self-chosen descriptor is "Dalit."It examines Dalit activism in the United States around caste discrimination in both India and the U.S. The goal of this study is to demonstrate how Dalit American leaders use racial analogies in their international activism, and why race is a contested frame within the community. It makes clear that "universalistic"frames can obscure crucial particularities, making it harder to address the issue at hand. But it also reveals that dogmatic, particularistic frames can compromise the unity and mission of transnational movements. A 2020 lawsuit against Cisco Systems alleging caste discrimination toward a Dalit employee by Brahmin supervisors has opened the opportunity for anti-caste activists to develop a global norm specifically around how to address caste-based discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-734
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Problems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023


  • Dalit
  • anti-caste activism
  • diasporic social movements
  • incommensurable frames

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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