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Castes and outcasts Castes and outcasts
by Joseph Gatt
2021-11-22 09:25:46
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Most, if not all societies in the world, are socially stratified. You belong to certain castes whether you like it or not.

Castes could be inherited. Your parents belong to a higher caste, so do you.

Castes could be related to your level of education. The more prestigious the university you attend, the better you stand out socially in many cultures.

ouc0001Castes could be related to your ethnicity. Perhaps your ethnic group is equivalent to a higher caste, or perceived as a lower caste by your community.

Wealth. Rich people often belong to higher castes. People less fortunate belong to lower castes and are outcasts. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, as the two castes don't mingle (often the case).

Then you have a few more subtle markers. Physical attributes can lead to you belonging to a higher or lower caste in some cultures. In others, it's your degree of eloquence or intellect. In some cultures, being competitive leads to you belonging to higher castes, as in getting better grades in school or ranking high at national examinations.

Your job will of course make you belong to a higher or lower caste. But that again is subjective. In some countries, government jobs put you in a higher caste. In other countries, working for the government puts in you a lower caste, and owning a business puts you in a higher caste. In some countries, doctors are the high class. In other countries, doctors have the same rank as taxi drivers and restaurant waiters (seriously, and despite COVID).  

But, your ID card or passport does not have your caste or social rank stamped on it. And that's how you'll see people try to “cheat” their way into fitting into one caste or the other.

So you're going to have people drive expensive cars they can't afford or wear expensive watches, jewellery or accessories they can't really afford, and that artificially bumps up their rank.

You're going to have others purchase homes in neighbourhoods with a reputation for higher castes. Or people move to cities where belonging to a higher caste is the norm. Or move to a country where people who belong to a higher caste have the reputation of living in, and living well.

Now, having been an outcast of sorts my entire life, here are things I would change to give everyone in society, regardless of social rank, a better chance at success.

-The education curriculum: a lot of the content is aimed at the higher castes, not the lower castes. The current education curriculum focuses on literature that high society tends to enjoy, i.e. you study lots of 19th century literature, but you seldom study rap music lyrics or books about rising up from the ghettos. You study forms of language spoken by high society, and you get penalized for using “slang.”

-The trust placed on people from lower castes. Seriously. I'm sick and tired (I'm speaking for myself here) of constantly having to explain that I have no ill intention at the workplace, when my white colleagues (who are not angels at that) have no need to justify such ill intention.

-Proportional punishment. People from higher castes tend to get slaps on the wrist when people from lower castes would get fired or sued for the exact same mistake.

-Denial of the truth. People from higher castes who can get the job done get all the respect. People from lower castes who can get the job done have that truth denied to them.

-Social market fluidity. In many cultures, if you're from a high caste you can't drive a cheap car. If you're from a low caste you're not allowed to discuss books, culture or intellect.

-Caste tribalism and discrimination. Saying things like “all people from high castes are geniuses” or “all people from low castes don't know how to work things out”. Or worse.

-Mixing with different castes. A lot of times, when you're an outcast like me, you just don't get invited to a lot of the parties or social events. “Yossi has the wrong passport” some would say. There are different ways people from different castes can mix, including by promoting events where all castes have a say. A cause that unites everyone.

*Note: you can't just throw random parties and invite people from different social rank to mix. The first few parties are going to have to be very structured, around a theme that unites all castes.

-Last but not least, reducing people from lower castes or social classes as “sex objects” especially when it comes to women, but even men. People from lower social ranks have their economic and social concerns, are trying to get a job, are trying to survive in society. They are more than “round asses” or “big penises”.

I hear you telling me “but this is a social problem that's here to stay”. I'd say it's a great thing to belong to a higher caste, but you have to live together with people from lower social ranks. If there's no fluidity in social rank, you're going to get riots, crime, gang violence, streets won't be safe, your house won't be safe from burglaries and the like. So, your safety is at stake!

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