The Threat of Fabricated Race and Caste Studies Driving Policy in United States is Real

Concocted academic surveys have been behind Race- bias workshops shaming employees through "Reverse Racism" and a similar threat looms for Caste workshops as lawmakers in California ignore real-world evidence against SB403 - a so-called Civil Rights bill. If not vetoed by the governor, this bill is dangerously unconstitutional, singling out a micro-minority immigrant community. Further, it is based on dubious and debunked research by Equality Labs as pointed out by the court, reputed survey houses, and the Indian American community.

Sep 15, 2023 - 13:19
The Threat of Fabricated  Race and Caste Studies Driving Policy in United States is Real
The Threat of Fabricated  Race and Caste Studies Driving Policy in United States is Real

Last month, Florida State University fired Professor of criminology, Eric Stewart, for “extreme negligence, incompetence and false results” in his research. His studies that “proved” systemic racism infests America’s police and American society have now been retracted.

This is not a fringe academic research theorizing racism. His research and work were cited 8500 times by other researchers for many years and Stewart held many influential positions like vice president and fellow at the American Society of Criminology. He also received millions in grants and was a W.E.B DuBois fellow at the National Institute of Justice.

Dangerous and divisive, his research declared that whites perceive blacks as criminals and that problem was accentuated among conservatives. Among the studies he has had to retract were claims that whites wanted longer sentences for Blacks and Latinos.

One of his juniors turned whistleblower to reveal how Stewart faked sample sizes when the real research did not deliver “intended” results. Stewart and his research had a very far-reaching impact on real-world scenarios as seen in the rising trends in reverse racism in the USA, where white professors and doctors are continuously targeted and shamed.

Fake and Falsified: Equality Labs Caste Survey

Caste Files has been exposing similar divisive and false research that is driving policy and  caste discrimination narratives in the USA. It is concerning to see an unscientific survey by Equality Labs being quoted in academia and in the highest echelons of power, including lawmakers like Senator Wahab, claiming caste-induced “rapes and murders” despite zero police complaints.

In 2018, Equality Labs released a research survey report titled "Caste in the United States: A Survey of Caste Among South Asian Americans” that made racist, discriminatory, and false allegations without any evidence or data. The report was based on a survey that began in 2016 building a snowballed sample of 1,534 people with a 47-question survey. The survey was conducted via different mediums such as direct contacts, community listservs, immigrant organizations, cultural and linguistic networks, and social media.

To hide the biases and flaws, Equality Labs has not shared the raw data survey methodology and research design of their study to validate the structural elements of their study like design, sample selection, methodology, and selective cohort determination.

Indian Americans have been spending significant time educating their lawmakers regarding the unscientific and biased survey by Equality Labs. An investigation has revealed many anomalies in this data that are being used for real-world policies.

 A few glaring issues to note with the EL survey are:

(1) While the survey claims to study “caste in the US,” it was open to participants from anywhere in the world and numerous participants from outside the US took part in it. This is enough to disqualify the study for any use within the US.

(2) The religious affiliation of the Dalit respondents has not been shared, with a faulty presumption that all Dalits are Hindu. Given that the report is a hate fest against Hindus, it is an important identifier to determine respondent bias.

(3) Further, EL conducted its survey without sample randomization and without qualifying the ‘sample’. Responses were collected using an online self-administered platform using a snowball sampling method, which builds an inherent bias in the responses. The data is not projectable and in fact, is entirely misleading.

(4) The overt bias of the authors cannot but inform the survey methodology. If the survey is disseminated and then analyzed by the same people who call Hinduism an “evil, social construct” and something that “needs to be dismantled” then it is difficult to deny observer bias. Equality Labs has a conflict of interest in conducting the survey as well as in suggesting Caste policy while rooting to conduct corporate caste-bias workshops.

(5) Total respondents were reduced to 1,200 from 1,534 citing duplicate responses, intentionally illogical and misleading responses, and other factors not meeting the criteria. These 20% discarded responses need to be studied to see if they did not adhere to Equality Labs' “intended hypothesis” for caste discrimination, thus building confirmation bias.

6) The judiciary system in California and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace have both debunked and discarded the findings of the Equality Labs Survey as inadmissible and unrepresentative of realities in the US.  This is very important to note as the current legislature is working at cross purposes with other arms of the government.

Carnegie Endowment Study shows Caste-based discrimination is rare, has a very low sample size, and is hence not quantifiable for projections.

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, John Hopkins University, and the University of Pennsylvania have discredited the EL report explicitly in the report in Footnote 29:

 “This study relied on a nonrepresentative snowball sampling method to recruit respondents. Furthermore, respondents who did not disclose a caste identity were dropped from the data set. Therefore, it is likely that the sample does not fully represent the South Asian American population and could skew in favor of those who have strong views about caste. While the existence of caste discrimination in India is incontrovertible, its precise extent and intensity in the United States can be contested”

Carnegie Endowment warns against using caste data from their survey as the sample sizes are extremely small “Given that only 5 percent of IAAS respondents report being victims of caste discrimination, any subgroup analysis must be interpreted with due care given the small sample sizes involved.”

The readings within the group show how caste needs a more detailed study before jumping into the deep end with caste policy, instating a confusing and alien concept into American law.

Many questions were left unanswered in the topline study on caste conducted by Carnegie Endowment. Quoting from their website.

Caste discrimination is a surprisingly equal opportunity offense. Responses are divided neatly into thirds when it comes to who is doing the discriminating: Indians, non-Indians, and people of both categories are almost equally to blame.49

How might non-Indians discriminate against Indians based on caste if caste is not a salient category for them? This is a genuine puzzle. One possibility is that the person or persons engaged in caste discrimination could be from another South Asian country, where caste might be a meaningful marker of status and hold greater salience.50 

Another possibility is that respondents interpret caste discrimination as a stand-in for other forms of discrimination—based on skin color or country of origin, for example.

In conclusion, there are unanswered questions from the Carnegie Endowment Survey that need further exploration before any policy is implemented. Secondly, a blatantly erroneous and unscientific survey like Equality Labs survey not only needs to be thrown out, but those conducting it and those using it need to be questioned for their ethics and moral standing.


Further Reading

[1] Carnegie Caste Survey, Footnote 29. See

[2] Questionable Survey, India Today, By Rami Desai. See

[3] EL Caste Report Parts 1-3. See

[4] EL asking foreign respondents to falsify and fabricate Zip code. See

[5] The Sikhs behind one faction at Fremont's Gurdwara are linked to violence and drugs. Some say terror, too. See

[6] Busting the lies of Equality Labs. See

[7] Why Do We Say No to Holi? A Guide to Challenge Casteism By Equality Labs. See





Abhijit Bagal and Richa Gautam Abhijit Bagal is a legal analyst at Caste Files. He is a Healthcare Analytics technologist at a managed care organization specializing in publicly funded behavioral healthcare. He holds a master's degree in software engineering and an MBA with a specialization in comparative international health. Additionally, Abhijit is a part-time law student with a focus on civil rights, due process, and equal protection of the law. Richa Gautam is Founder of Caste Files and Co-Founder and Executive Director at Cares Global. She has been active in the field of advocacy and human rights for over a decade. She is currently engaged in the field of diversity, inclusiveness, and minority rights as well as decolonial practices with Cares Global and she is a Senior Research Associate at Indus University and a Fellow of the Center of Indic Studies at Ahmedabad.