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A sadu sitting along the ghats of the Ganges River. Photo by Jen Goings, India Semester.

The Caste System

The second someone is born in India one’s whole life has been written from start to end and there is no way of truly escaping. The caste system in India is illegal but is a social construct that is still in place today. Here last names give away the caste you are in and will determine the jobs you get. Caste systems are important because it points out societal differences in marital, familial and social networks. One would say that the United States is progressive enough where there is no version of the caste system, but I disagree. In the U.S. ethnicity gives Americans ways to articulate the feelings of being marginalized. American society is hierarchical and resistant to change and therefore I think we do have a version of a caste system in America.