Chinese folks, why are you so curious about the Indian Caste System

Apple majong
Jul 7 75 Comments

I have been asked about my caste twice now by Chinese immigrants.
I’m really curious if the Indian caste system is taught in China and is it the “only” thing you learn about your neighbor?

It’s super rude to ask one’s caste. Indians don’t go about asking each other’s caste when they meet new Indian people.

Caste is a very complicated topic. It’s also very personal. Please stop doing that.

EDIT: I would like to be crystal clear that I’m not defending the caste system. Would you just casually ask an African American if they are descendants from salves? Would you casually ask a white person if their family was a slave owner? These are not ice-breaking topics

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TOP 75 Comments
  • Softvision AOoB63
    How is caste system personal ? lol

    Also it’s not Indian it’s Hindu !!

    Also , Indian/Hindus don’t go about asking each others cast because they guess it from the last name so please shut the fuck up !

    Also it’s not complicated ... just like any violation of human rights or form of bigotry

    PS - I’m ( a Hindu ) Indian
    Jul 7 16
  • Microsoft swimma
    Whats ur caste level
    Jul 7 3
    • Apple majong
      OP
      “lower” caste.
      Jul 7
    • Google / Eng hooli.xyz
      OBC?
      Jul 7
    • The Home Depot FPQk51
      Twice born.
      Jul 10
  • Microsoft bigsixhero
    Chinese people in particular are interested because China also has social hierarchy thats more nebulous but just as ruthless psychologically. So hearing about a society where the hierarchy is defined at birth is intriguing.

    Source:am Chinese
    Jul 7 11
    • Microsoft UMbR31
      I see!
      Jul 7
    • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
      So how does a foreigner fit into this? Suppose I got a job at Chinese bank and move, would I always feel kine an outsider? Can I integrate or have a full social life? I don’t mean nonsense like dating
      Jul 7
    • Indeed rainwater
      @cbEV72 I think it’ll be very difficult to feel completely not like an outsider. I’m Chinese living in US and if I moved back I’d be labeled a returnee for many years to come. My habits and speaking will stand out for quite some time before I can blend in.
      Jul 7
    • Indeed rainwater
      Speaking non perfect standard Chinese because you are more used to a dialect can get you labeled as “lower class” depending on where in China we are talking about.
      Jul 7
    • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
      Ok, but would this exclude me from being invited to social events? Obviously I won’t speak the language well but would this be a real problem?
      Jul 7
  • Amazon broke&dumb
    They aren't. You're not that important.
    Jul 7 0
  • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
    You just explained why. It’s impossible to understand it by reading about it because everything is censored. You’ll never write truth about it. So people want to know from survivors. It’s a unique system and nobody else has it. Don’t assume that we’re rude. We just don’t know it’s rude to ask about it. Now that I know it’s a sensitive subject I stopped asking but am still curious.
    Jul 7 1
    • Apple majong
      OP
      Thanks!

      And I would love to sit down with someone and discuss it. Not that I’m the sole subject matter expert but I can definitely add meaningful perspectives.
      Jul 7
  • Uber hardkore
    Just tell them you are a maharaja 🤯
    Jul 7 0
  • Oracle djjdhbw
    US should give out visa based on caste. We only want the best, not the lower ones
    Jul 7 4
    • PayPal theniceguy
      🖕
      Jul 7
    • Amazon •OP
      US DGAF about it
      Jul 7
    • Oracle djjdhbw
      Of course they do, high castle Indians usually perform well and are respectful. Lower ones almost always cheat on resume, it’s in the blood.
      Jul 7
    • Amazon •OP
      If high caste Indians perform well and are respectful, and you speak disrespectfully in your following sentence🤷, you must not be in a very high caste. In the US, Americans don't care about that stuff.

      If you do care about that, and if you are in the US, I hope you are not interviewing people or in any kind of leadership position.
      Jul 7
  • Apple tim_c00k
    Out of curiosity, can Indians somehow sense/deduce what each other's caste is without asking each other? Like are there some traits or something associated with each caste that only Indians would pick up on?
    Jul 7 7
    • Medallia Maximus8
      Caste Obsessed ones could. But these days nobody cares. Castes were created to form a functional society. It’s an ancient thing. If you see any Indian asking castes stay away :D
      Jul 7
    • Microsoft UMbR31
      Some do ask even in the US. If the person's only been to schools and colleges where their caste people go to and this is their first multi cultural experience, they talk/ask somewhat openly, no ill will intended I guess... I've been asked a few times in the US.
      Jul 7
    • Medallia Maximus8
      Agreed No ill will intended in that case. But I would still stay away just for lame factor.
      Jul 7
    • Oracle / Eng lgtmstrong
      Std type traits are for that
      Jul 7
    • Microsoft xidigsigk
      Yes sometimes you can know the caste by surnames, however nobody cares about castes except when it comes to marriages especially in rural areas however even that is changing as well. Within 2 decades it won't matter at all.
      Sep 20
  • Microsoft Delhi meat
    I'm very curious which caste are Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai from?
    Jul 7 1
    • Oracle djjdhbw
      The highest of course. Lower ones don’t stand a chance
      Jul 7
  • PayPal theniceguy
    Casteism is super complicated in India and it runs on its blood underneath the skin. Masked yet it exists. It is gonna take centuries to wipe that shit out of India. Explain the world our ancestors fucked up and we are trying to come out of it.
    Jul 7 1
    • Google / Ops Huhf13
      Almost every country in the world has some version of this stupidity. Counties that don't are super small, homogeneous, and likely xenophobic (e.g. Japan and some EU counties). We'll all grow out of this eventually. America has their own version. It's just as dumb
      Jul 7
  • Amazon / IT aWqH25
    OP I understand where you are coming from.
    It is wrong to ask another's caste, unless you support that system. Let's be real, most indians do.

    If the question came from an Indian, you can become confrontational and probe them for motives. Even there you may find they are innocent questions sometimes.

    But if it's from any other culture it's better to navigate that discussion to an end leaving them with a sense of realities. Invite them over to watch the movie "Article 15". Keep it going. Political correctness be damned. Break the frozen understanding in the process of breaking ice. Understanding each other is at the core of breaking the caste system even if the other is from another culture. Expand your own horizons, you could have also learnt why they asked you such a question in the first place.

    If the response you get is also racist/casteist/classist. Add them to that junk pile that will rot away with time and move on.

    Leave them with your impression on the subject. But asking anyone to not ask such questions is not gonna improve anything.
    Jul 7 1
    • E*Trade / Finance cbEV72
      A piece of sound information at last, a movie recommendation. I’m going to watch it and come back with questions, hope they have English version
      Jul 7
  • Google / Ops Huhf13
    It is in no way shameful for an African American to be descended from slaves.
    Jul 7 0
  • Apple tim_c00k
    I mean if you are from a high caste there's nothing wrong with sharing that right? It's like the Chinese version of TC or GTFO except only used for Indians
    Jul 7 1
    • Medallia Maximus8
      But it doesn’t make sense for visa.
      Jul 7
  • Facebook public2
    Perhaps becasue china is working on implementing one themselves via the social credit score?
    Jul 7 0
  • Susquehanna International / Eng Kristaps11
    I’ve asked before because it’s complicated as you mentioned and I’m curious about the perspective on the system as a whole from someone who’s essentially a yuppie from a newer generation. Whenever I ask never ask about someone’s actual place in the system because frankly I don’t care about that.
    Jul 7 0
  • Nvidia MlrN62
    🍿
    Jul 7 0
  • Facebook betweenlit
    Whats your caste?
    Jul 7 4
    • Google / Eng hooli.xyz
      TC/YOE/Caste or GTFO
      Jul 7
    • Facebook betweenlit
      Does saying my tc/yoe/caste make you feel better? Lol
      Jul 7
    • Google / Eng hooli.xyz
      I am trying to create a new meme 😎
      Jul 7
    • Facebook betweenlit
      You’re so cool!
      Jul 7
  • Indeed rainwater
    I’ve seen many Indians on Quora ask if certain individuals are OBC so I don’t think only Chinese people will ask Indians about their caste. I can’t speak for all Chinese but from my experience (anecdote below) Chinese people are less sensitive and tend to say politically incorrect stuff, especially older generations. This is due to education and upbringing. So that’s probably why they’ve asked your caste. I personally would not think this is an acceptable topic of casual conversation.

    As a child of Chinese immigrants, I’ve noticed my parents are much less politically sensitive and will often refer to people by their skin color, race, or other traits. I.e. “who’s that Indian guy you had lunch with the other day?” This sort of thing. I’m not proud of the way they speak but at the same time it’s just a habit and is not racist or disrespectful. They expect other people to refer to them as old Chinese couple as well since their names are hard to pronounce. I would not be surprised if my parents thought asking someone’s caste is an ok conversation topic.
    Jul 7 0
  • Nvidia gruse
    Perhaps because they’re looking for techniques on what to do with Uyghurs and Xinjiang province
    Jul 7 0
  • Datometry / Eng LangEr
    There is a lot of propaganda that is spread about India by the state controlled news sources in China. I find it amusing.
    Jul 7 0

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