Philosophy, action and reflection
Shot I took in the streets of Agra.
Today Nita Ma’am spoke of the caste system in India. She described the historical context of the caste system and how it impacts modern day India. She explained the hierarchical ladder. Individuals at the top are the most educated, and typically revered religious people. Below that, is the government and people of political status. Below that, are the merchants and business owners. Then finally, the working class.
I could not help but to compare this to the caste system in the United State. If I were to dissect America’s caste system into four categories, it would not be much different than India’s. At the top, you would see Politicians. Below that would be the business men and women. Which some American’s, including myself, may say that politicians and business men and women are considered the same thing. Especially considering our current political climate. Next, would be the merchants and business owners and below them, the working class.
Nita Ma’am also touched on how informal education through family socialization can reproduce caste. For example, if you are born into a family of shoe makers then you will very likely become a shoe maker yourself based on how you were raised and what you learn from your environment. She mentioned that this is a problem for education and I could not agree with her more. You can also see this happening a great deal in the states, particularly among urban communities or people oppressed by race and status. In America, if you are a poor, African American man or woman, who was raised in a hostile, crime ridden environment, the likelihood of you becoming a successful, well educated, wealthy, business man is extremely rare. In my opinion, the way that America’s caste system is constructed keeps oppressed families oppressed. No longer does America represent the rags to riches story of Thomas Jefferson. If you are born into rags, you and your family will most likely remain in rags. That is why you see the middle class dwindling in the states. The rich get richer and the poor stay poor.
The only way I know how to effect change in this flawed system is to educate the youth. That is why I have always wanted to educate students of low socioeconomic status. To give them a full scope of education, not just what the government believes they deserve. I believe education is the way out of repeating caste systems in America, and in India.
Authored: Kaylah Krueger