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Explainer: Ulterior Equality Labs, a controversial council member and Seattle City\’s absurd anti-caste discrimination law

The Seattle City Council enacted an amendment on February 22, 2023, which added \”caste\” to its anti-discrimination statutes. This makes Seattle the first city outside of South Asia to pass anti-caste discrimination legislation. According to the ordinance (now the legislation), caste is a system of social stratification that has been prescribed by law, traditions, and religion. In contrast, the passage of this Act is predicated on the discrimination of Hindus under the guise of an effort to abolish discrimination. In the West, motivated and agenda-driven organisations like the Equality Labs and contentious council members have used the opportunity to rally support to malign Hindus and Hindu practises, furthering falsehoods about Hindus and fueling hatred towards Hindus. The legislation derives its rationale from a 2016 report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on minority issues, which asserts that caste is a global issue and cites Equality Labs which provides a local context and sees it as a human rights issue. However, the hasty ordinance rests its reasoning on the phenomenon, but fails to give statistical or scientific data to support its reasoning. As a result, the ordinance promotes institutionalise prejudice against a specific Hindu minority group. In this explainer, we analyse the anti-caste discrimination ordinance, its backers, and their possible reasoning for supporting an anti-Hindu and anti-Indian legislature.

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