Your thoughts will soon no longer be Private – (fMRI)

Imagine that police or counter-terror experts in the future decide to search suspects for brain waves that suggest a propensity toward violence—a sort of cognitive profiling. These neuro-imaging technologies scans can show that the parts of the brain responsible for impulse control and empathy are underactive and those responsible for aggression and more animalistic, violent activities are overactive.

As brain scans become increasingly sophisticated, they are becoming de rigueur in death penalty trials, where defence lawyers routinely seek to introduce functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to prove that their clients were unable to control their violent impulses. Under the relaxed evidentiary standards for capital sentencing, this evidence is usually admitted, and lawyers predict that “neuro-law” evidence will increasingly transform the legal system, calling into question traditional ideas of moral responsibility.

If the war against terror escalates, the government may deploy even more controversial forms of electronic surveillance, such as neuro-imaging technologies that can detect the presence of electrochemical signals in the brain. The promoters of this “brain fingerprinting” say that it can detect brain waves that are consistent with particular kinds of recollection.

Imagine that police or counter-terror experts in the future decide to search suspects for brain waves that suggest a propensity toward violence—a sort of cognitive profiling. These neuro-imaging technologies scans can show that the parts of the brain responsible for impulse control and empathy are underactive and those responsible for aggression and more animalistic, violent activities are overactive. In the future, suspects who show a propensity for violence might be detained indefinitely as enemy combatants, even though they have committed no crimes.

Scientists are able to analyze the genetic makeup of embryos created through in vitro fertilisation, using that information to help aspiring parents implant in the woman’s womb only those embryos that display a specified range of desired characteristics— including not only sex but also, perhaps someday, intelligence, eye colour, and height.

Some scholars already claim that neuro-science should lead the legal system to jettison retribution as a goal of criminal punishment because it’s unfair to hold people responsible for actions that are predetermined by their brains rather than chosen by their free will. Alternatively, imagine that in the future, brain scans can predictably identify people with dangerous propensities to violence and imagine that a state predicates a civil commitment on the results of scans.




 source:Privacy, Property, and Free Speech: Law and the Constitution in the 21st Century by Jeffrey Rosen

Race consciousness is key to how we learn to perceive ourselves and the people around us.

Race consciousness is key to how we learn to perceive ourselves and the people around us (even if we don’t always want to admit it); just think of how we describe people—“an elderly asian woman, about five foot three; a tall black man in his thirties, wearing a leather jacket”. In these “identifying descriptions”, race, along with gender, is essential, especially if it is other than white.

There aren’t too many who want to claim to be racist, and most people would like to believe they are “colourblind” when it comes to matters of race. But race and racism are integral and inescapable parts of our culture and social history.

Race consciousness is key to how we learn to perceive ourselves and the people around us (even if we don’t always want to admit it); just think of how we describe people—“an elderly asian woman, about five foot three; a tall black man in his thirties, wearing a leather jacket”. In these “identifying descriptions”, race, along with gender, is essential, especially if it is other than white.

Given the importance of race to our society, it’s remarkable how difficult it is to talk about and how complex the definitions of race and racism can be. In fact, the issues surrounding the definitions of race and racism are themselves a product of racism’s long and conflicted history in our society.

“Racism involves the subordination of people of colour by white people. While individual persons of color may well discriminate against a white person or another person of color because of their race, this does not qualify as racism according to our definition because that person of color cannot depend upon all the institutions of society to enforce or extend his or her personal dislike. Nor can he or she call upon the force of history to reflect and enforce that prejudice. . . . History provides us with a long record of white people holding and using power and privilege over people of color to subordinate them, not the reverse.”

(Paula Rothenberg. Defining Racism and Sexism)

Institutionalized racism: Because racism is an ideology that is entwined within the cultural ideology of this society, at some level, everyone who is a cultural member shares many aspects of the ideology of race. That belief system plays out in our day to day interactions with each other – whether we are blatantly (or consciously) racist or not. The system of race sets up certain hostilities and conflicts that are played out in our lives.

Institutionalized racism is the structuring of benefit for the group with power. Institutionalized processes carry multiple generational effects and are sometimes called “past in present” discrimination.

Privilege: The structures of racism work in two ways: to discriminate against and subordinate people of color, and to privilege white people. Privileges are unearned benefits from the structuring of inequality, and as such are intimately tied to discrimination. Privilege (unearned advantages) is sometimes difficult for those receiving them to see.

This is particularly true in a societal environment such as the United States, when we think that we get things because we are nice people, or because we worked for them. Molly Ivins once alluded to privilege with the analogy of baseball – a person is born on third base, but thinks they hit a triple.

Institutionalised Racism: The Housing Market

A good example of how institutional racism works is the housing market. The creation of the suburbs in the United States was driven by public policy and tax payer money. The GI Bill through the VHA opened the opportunity to purchase a home to millions of veterans after World War II. However of all the home loans made in those boom years, less than 2% went to non-whites. Meanwhile, the federal government set up lending standards and created “red lining.” “Red” districts had low insurability because people of color lived in those areas. White communities were seen as “good risks,” and hence lenders did not offer mortgages in red lined districts. These practices excluded people who were not white from the home ownership market.

The implication of this one set of policies has had (and still has) massive ramifications. For the majority of people in the United States, their home is their single most important form of wealth. The exclusion of people of colour from the housing market meant that only whites had that access to this form of wealth. Getting and owning a home became a “privilege” of being white.

Meanwhile, much school funding is still financed through local property taxes. Since people of colour were concentrated in areas where they could not own homes (or the homes they owned were devalued) there was less money for schools – degrading educational opportunities. Meanwhile, for whites who had moved “out and up,” their schools had more funding and were seen as better schools. Quality of education relates to economic opportunity, and those who were left behind ran even further behind. None of this has anything directly to do with individual bias. Rather it is the consequence of a social policy where whites, acting rationally in their own best interests, participated in increasing levels of inequality between the races.




 source: Race and Racism - Illumination Project Curriculum Materials By Dr. Rowan Wolf, Sociology Instructor and Caroline Le Guin, Writing Instructor Portland Community College Oregon. c/f 24/09/16- 24/09/16

Racial disparities in school discipline?

These analyses have consistently found that race remains a significant predictor of Black over-representation in suspension even after holding poverty constant; that is, while African American students in poverty are more likely to be suspended than poor White students, middle and upper class Black students are also more likely to be suspended than their peers at the same demographic level.

Poor students are disciplined more frequently. Studies have found that low-income students are consistently over-represented in the use of out-of-school suspension. A variety of variables typically associated with poverty, including presence of mother or father in the home, number of siblings, and quality of home resources, are significantly associated with the likelihood of suspension.

It is not entirely clear however, that this relationship is due to students from poverty backgrounds engaging in more disruption: Reviews of the literature have shown that, while poverty does correlate with increases in disruption or behavioural disorders, those relationships tend to be small.

Even if poverty did have an impact on rates of suspension and expulsion, that does not necessarily mean it would have an impact on racial and ethnic disparities in discipline. Whether racial disparities in school disciplineacial disparities in school discipline are due entirely to poverty status can be tested statistically through multivariate statistical analyses.

These analyses have consistently found that race remains a significant predictor of Black over-representation in suspension even after holding poverty constant; that is, while African American students in poverty are more likely to be suspended than poor White students, middle and upper class Black students are also more likely to be suspended than their peers at the same demographic level. Finding that urban schools consistently suspended a higher proportion of Black students out-of-school even after controlling for poverty.

In the UK: Black Caribbean boys are around six times more likely to be permanently excluded from UK schools than white boys, according to Department for Education and Employment Statistics. While there has been a lot of media interest in soaring school exclusion rates in England and Wales, the statistic no longer appears to shock. Yet for black Caribbean families it amounts to a crisis in the education of their children. With an estimated 10,000 – 14,000 permanent exclusions during 1995-96, schools are dumping the population of a small town each year. This suggests bad practice and possible unlawful discrimination in managing behaviour in schools. Exclusion from school often means the denial of the child’s right to education; once excluded a pupil has only a 15% chance of returning to mainstream schooling.

The cross-cultural validity of child disorders may vary drastically depending on the disorder, but empirical evidence that attests for the cross-cultural validity of diagnostic criteria for each child disorder is lacking. There is a need for studies that investigate the extent to which gene–environment interactions are related to specific disorders across cultures. Clinicians are urged to consider culture and context in determining the way in which children’s psychopathology may be manifested independent of their views.





Audrey Osler. 'School exclusions: a denial of the right to education', Human Rights Education Newsletter, No 18, Autumn 1997.Brantlinger, E. (1991). Social class distinctions in adolescents’ reports of problems and punishment in school. Behavioral Disorders, 17, 36-46; Noltemeyer, A., & Mcloughlin, C. S. (2010). Patterns of exclusionary discipline by school typology, ethnicity, and their interactions. Perspectives on Urban Education, 7, 27-40; Skiba, R. J., Peterson, R. L., & Williams, T. (1997). Office referrals and suspension: Disciplinary intervention in middle schools. Education and Treatment of Children, 20, 295-316; Wu, S. C., Pink, W. T., Crain, R. L., & Moles, O. (1982). Student suspension: A critical reappraisal. The Urban Review, 14, 245-303. 6 Hinojosa, M. S. (2008). Black-white differences in school suspensions: Effect on student beliefs about teachers. Sociological Spectrum, 28, 175-193.Letourneau, N. L., Duffett-Leger, L., Levac, L., Watson, B., & Young-Morris, C. (2013). Socioeconomic status and child development: A meta-analysis. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 21, 211-224. accessed 24/08/16- Dimitrina Petrova, Denial of Racism

India’s untouchables Racism: Trends and Patterns in Discrimination

More than one-sixth of India’s population, some 160 million people, live a precarious existence, shunned by much of society because of their rank as “untouchables” or Dalits—literally meaning “broken” people—at the bottom of India’s caste system. Dalits are discriminated against, denied access to land, forced to work in degrading conditions, and routinely abused at the hands of the police and of higher-caste groups that enjoy the state’s protection.

More than one-sixth of India’s population, some 160 million people, live a precarious existence, shunned by much of society because of their rank as “untouchables” or Dalits—literally meaning “broken” people—at the bottom of India’s caste system. Dalits are discriminated against, denied access to land, forced to work in degrading conditions, and routinely abused at the hands of the police and of higher-caste groups that enjoy the state’s protection. In what has been called India’s “hidden apartheid,” entire villages in many Indian states remain completely segregated by caste. National legislation and constitutional protections serve only to mask the social realities of discrimination and violence faced by those living below the “pollution line.”

For most of the world caste remains an ancient cultural artefact and untouchability a long eradicated practice. This paper attempts to shift the debate on caste and on broader issues pertaining to socially institutionalised discrimination. It begins with a brief description of the characteristics and mechanisms of caste discrimination and a summary overview of the Indian government’s response. It then attempts to dismantle those misperceptions that have allowed the system to survive, and comments on the barriers that keep the international community from effectively intervening against a practice that relegates millions of people to a lifetime of segregation, discrimination, and violence.

India’s caste system is perhaps the world’s longest surviving social hierarchy. A defining feature of Hinduism, caste encompasses a complex ordering of social groups on the basis of ritual purity. A person is considered a member of the caste into which he or she is born and remains within that caste until death, although the particular ranking of that caste may vary among regions and over time. Differences in status are traditionally justified by the religious doctrine of karma, a belief that one’s place in life is determined by one’s deeds in previous lifetimes.

Traditional scholarship has described this more than 2,000-year-old system within the context of the four principal varnas, or large caste categories. In order of precedence these are the Brahmins (priests and teachers), the Ksyatriyas (rulers and soldiers), the Vaisyas (merchants and traders), and the Shudras (labourers and artisans). A fifth category falls outside the varna system and consists of those known as “untouchables” or Dalits; they are often assigned tasks too ritually polluting to merit inclusion within the traditional varna system.

Within the four principal castes, there are thousands of sub-castes, also called jatis; endogamous groups that are further divided along occupational, sectarian, regional, and linguistic lines. Collectively all of these are sometimes referred to as “caste Hindus” or those falling within the caste system. The Dalits are described as varna-sankara: they are “outside the system”— so inferior to other castes that they are deemed polluting and therefore “untouchable.” Even as outcasts, they themselves are divided into further sub-castes and practice untouchability against those ranked below; the discrimination is wholly internalised. Although “untouchability” was abolished under Article 17 of the Indian constitution, the practice continues to determine the socio-economic and religious standing of those at the bottom of the caste hierarchy. Whereas the first four varnas are free to choose and change their occupation, Dalits have generally been confined to the occupational structures into which they are born.

With little land of their own to cultivate, Dalit men, women, and children numbering in the tens of millions work as agricultural labourers for a few kilograms of rice or less than US$1 a day. Most live on the brink of destitution, barely able to feed their families and unable to send their children to school or break away from cycles of debt bondage that are passed on from generation to generation. At the end of day they return to a hut in their Dalit colony with no electricity, kilometres away from the nearest water source, and segregated from all non-Dalits, known as caste Hindus. They are forbidden by caste Hindus to enter places of worship, to draw water from public wells, or to wear shoes in caste Hindu presence. They are made to dig the village graves, dispose of dead animals, clean human waste with their bare hands, and to wash and use separate tea tumblers at neighbourhood tea stalls, all because — due to their caste status — they are deemed polluting and therefore untouchable.

In November 1999, after a cyclone slammed into the eastern state of Orissa, killing thousands and rendering millions homeless, the government brought in 200 Dalit manual scavengers from New Delhi, and planned to bring 500 more from other parts of Orissa, to load animal carcasses onto hand-drawn carts and take them away to be burned. Government officials had offered local upper-caste residents more than the daily minimum wage for each animal burned but they refused citing the decayed conditions of the carcasses and the fact that the task was beneath them: they had “some self-respect left.” Even in times of natural disaster, the laws of purity and pollution prevail and the government moves quickly to accommodate the prejudice. At all levels, and under all circumstances, the discrimination is institutionalised.

Dalit women face the triple burden of caste, class, and gender. Dalit girls have been forced to become prostitutes for upper-caste patrons and village priests. Sexual abuse and other forms of violence against women are used by landlords and the police to inflict political “lessons” and crush dissent within the community. According to a Tamil Nadu state government official, the raping of Dalit women exposes the hypocrisy of the caste system as “no one practices untouchability when it comes to sex.” Like other Indian women whose relatives are sought by the police, Dalit women have also been arrested and tortured in custody as a means of punishing their male relatives who are hiding from the authorities.

Any attempt to defy the social order is met with physical or economic retaliation. According to the most recent figures available, between 1994 and 1996 a total of 98,349 cases were registered with the police nationwide as crimes and atrocities against Dalits. Given that Dalits are both reluctant and unable (for lack of police co-operation) to report crimes against themselves, the actual number of abuses is presumably much higher. Whether the clashes are social, economic, or political in nature, they are premised on the same basic principle: any attempt to alter village customs or to demand land, increased wages, or political rights sets off a chain of events and leads to social boycotts and acts of retaliatory violence on the part of those most threatened by changes in the status quo. Dalit communities as a whole are summarily punished for individual transgressions; Dalits are cut off from their land and employment, women endure physical attacks, and letter of the law is rarely enforced.

Most of the conflicts take place within very narrow segments of the caste hierarchy, between the poor and the not so poor, the landless labourer and the marginal landowner. The differences lie in the considerable amount of leverage that the higher-caste Hindus or non-Dalits are able to wield over local police, district administrations, and even the state government. A theme that is almost universal in its application, it illustrates a crucial aspect of identity politics: one’s identity as a person belonging to a certain caste is perceived not only by one’s absolute rank but also by the relative treatment meted out to communities that are ranked below.

Building on constitutional provisions, the government of India has pursued a two-pronged approach to narrowing the gap between the socio-economic status of the Dalit population and the national average. The first approach involves regulatory measures designed to ensure that relevant legal provisions are adequately implemented, enforced, and monitored; the second focuses on increasing the self-sufficiency of the Dalit population through financial assistance for self-employment activities and through development programs to increase education and skills.

The protective component of this two-pronged strategy includes the implementation of legal provisions contained in state and central government legislation, and reservations or quotas in the arenas of government employment and higher education. India’s policy of reservations is an attempt by the central government to remedy past injustices related to low-caste status. To allow for proportional representation in certain state and federal institutions, the constitution reserves 22.5 percent of seats in federal government jobs, state legislatures, the lower house of parliament, and educational institutions for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Though some have benefited the reservation policy has not been to bring about social change has been hampered by institutional prejudice and police corruption, with the result that many offences are not registered. Ignorance of procedures or a lack of knowledge of the act itself has also affected implementation. Even when cases are registered, the absence of special courts to try them can delay prosecutions for up to three to four years. Some state governments dominated by higher castes have even attempted to repeal the legislation altogether. Much like other “social welfare” legislation in India, the act remains a paper tiger with little actual effect.

The existence of constitutionally mandated quotas and a large body of legislation and administrative agency mandates assigned exclusively to deal with the plight of Dalits is held up by the government as a panacea to problems of discrimination. These so-called remedies have also shifted attention away from the institutional nature of caste prejudice. It would be difficult to convince the Dalits of Dholapur district, Rajasthan, that after over fifty years of independence, government intervention had made a difference. In April 1998, a Dalit of the area was assaulted by an upper-caste family who forcibly pierced his nostril, drew a string through his nose, paraded him around the village, and tied him to a cattle post — all because he refused to sell bidis (hand rolled cigarettes) on credit to the nephew of the upper-caste village chief. The message sent from the judiciary on caste discrimination is equally grim: in July 1998 in the state of Uttar Pradesh, an Allahabad High Court judge had his chambers “purified with Ganga jal” (water from the River Ganges), because it had earlier been occupied by a Dalit judge.

India’s distinction as the “world’s largest democracy” also helps to mask the abuses. For Dalits throughout the country who suffer from de facto disenfranchisement, democracy has not been a self-fulfilling prophecy. During elections, those unpersuaded by typical electioneering are routinely threatened and beaten by political party strongmen in order to compel them to vote for certain candidates. Already under the thumb of local landlords and police officials, Dalit villagers who do not comply have been murdered, beaten, and harassed. Dalits who have contested political office in village councils and municipalities through seats that have been constitutionally “reserved” for them have been threatened with physical abuse and even death in order to get them to withdraw from the campaign. In Tamil Nadu in June 1997, a newly elected Dalit village council president was beheaded by caste Hindus displaced from their once secure elected positions. In 1999, a Dalit woman from Uttar Pradesh considered contesting elections. She was gang-raped and subsequently beaten and murdered as a lesson to other villagers not to disturb the status quo. As with most cases of violence against Dalits, the culprits have yet to be convicted.

Political mobilisation that has resulted in the emergence of powerful interest groups and political parties among middle- and low-caste groups throughout India since the mid-1980s has also largely bypassed Dalits. Dalits are courted by all political parties but generally forgotten once elections are over. The expanding power base of low-caste political parties, the election of low caste chief ministers to state governments, and even the appointment of a Dalit as president of India in July 1997 all signal the increasing prominence of Dalits in the political landscape but cumulatively have yet to yield any significant benefit for the majority of Dalits. Laws on land reform and protection for Dalits remain unimplemented in most of India’s twenty-five states.

Political parties have frequently fashioned their manifestos and campaign slogans around the need for “upliftment” of these marginalised sectors, while political leaders, mostly drawn from higher castes, offer the promise of equal status and equal rights. However, the laws have benefited very few and, due to a lack of political will, development programs and welfare projects designed to improve economic conditions for Dalits have generally had little effect. Dalits rarely break free from bondage or economic exploitation by upper-caste landowners.

Equally insidious, though not as apparent, is the fact that Dalits are denied their place in the public consciousness. The plight of India’s “untouchables” elicits only sporadic attention within the country. Public outrage over large-scale incidents of violence or particularly egregious examples of discrimination fades quickly, and the state is under little pressure to undertake more meaningful reforms. Despite ambitious calls for action by central and state governments in the aftermath publicity of massacres and police raids, the Indian authorities have shown little commitment to resolving the root causes of caste conflicts. Society as a whole has turned a blind eye to the institutional character of caste-based abuse and discrimination. Laws are openly flouted, police allegiance is routinely up for sale, and society continues to sanction what the legislature defines as crimes. In the eastern state of Bihar, for example, the first person to be convicted under a decades-old law combating child labour was in 1998.

A loss of faith in the state machinery and increasing intolerance of their abusive treatment has led many Dalit communities into organised movements to claim their rights. In response, state and private actors have engaged in a pattern of repression to preserve the status quo. Unable to find sustainable alliances within, and in an effort to counter their invisibility at home, Dalit movements have from time to time turned outward to look for parallels in struggles abroad. During the 1970s, for example, the Dalit Panthers emerged outside the framework of recognised political parties and aligned themselves ideologically to the Black Panther movement in the United States. During the same period, Dalit literature, painting, and theatre challenged the very premise and nature of established art forms and their depiction of society and religion. Many of these new Dalit artists formed the first generation of the Dalit Panther movement that sought to wage an organised struggle against the varna system. Dalit Panthers visited atrocity sites, organised marches and rallies in villages, and raised slogans of direct militant action against their upper-caste aggressors.

The determined stance of the Dalit Panthers served to arouse and unite many Dalits, particularly Dalit youth and students. The defeat of ruling party candidates and the boycott of elections in some areas forced the government to take notice of the movement: Panther leaders were often harassed and removed from districts for speaking out against the government and Hindu religion. They also became frequent targets of police brutality and arbitrary detentions. Disagreements over the future of the movement and inclusion of other caste groups ultimately led to a dispersal of Dalit Panther leadership. The former aggressiveness and militancy of the Dalit Panthers has for the most part dissipated, though small splinter groups or groups that have adopted the name still survive.

In the 1960s, leftist guerrilla organisations with Marxist, Leninist, and Maoist orientations began advocating the use of violence to achieve land redistribution. By 1970, these so-called Naxalites had initiated a series of peasant uprisings to seize land, burn property records, and assassinate exploitative landlords and others identified as “class enemies” in large areas of the countryside stretching from West Bengal to the southern state of Kerala. Although the Naxalite insurgency was brought to an end in most parts of the country by a brutal police crackdown designed to eliminate the militants and their supporters, the movement continues to survive, albeit with some splits and regroupings, in the rural areas of West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, and Bihar. Higher-caste landlords in Bihar have organised private militias to counter the Naxalite threat. These militias, or senas, also target Dalit villagers believed to be sympathetic to Naxalites. Sends are believed responsible for the murders of many hundreds of Dalits in Bihar since 1987.

Though offshoots of militant movements still thrive in many parts of the country, the strategy for the actualisation of rights has in the past fifteen years undergone a major shift. Beginning in the 1980s, a handful of Dalit organisations began turning to the United Nations as a possible forum for the mobilisation of international support and condemnation of caste-based abuses. However, the difficulty of slotting caste-based abuses into standard categories of human rights violations, and the prevalence of constitutional and legislative protections at the national level, has allowed these abuses to escape international scrutiny. The government of India has consistently asserted that the caste issue does not fall within the mandate of various “race”-based UNHCHR bodies. The government has also refused to allow relevant working groups and special rapporteurs to gain access to the country.

In turn, the response of the international community has been superficial at best. Dalit activists now find themselves struggling to overcome their invisibility abroad. Though caste identity is used as a justification for segregation and exploitation, the discrimination is so entrenched that the victims’ shared membership in lower-caste communities is often ignored by upper-caste families and international bodies alike. While the world was united in its condemnation of increasing attacks on India’s Christian community this past year, for example, it ignored a significant underlying cause: a majority of Christians in India are Dalits and tribals for whom conversion offers a partial escape from untouchability and exploitation. Conversions are therefore threatening to the social and economic status quo.

Like evaluating the symptoms without diagnosing the disease, most international interventions have also overlooked the fact that Dalits, numbering in the tens of millions, comprise the majority of those driven to bonded labour, manual scavenging, and forced prostitution, under conditions that violate national law and their basic human rights. Despite their mandate of reaching the “poorest of the poor,” international development institutions have yet to understand that for those at the bottom of its hierarchy, caste is a determinative factor for the attainment of social, political, civil, and economic rights.

Which strategies then are likely to be effective in reforming socially institutionalised discrimination? Part of the answer lies in supporting the work of grassroots Dalit and human rights activists throughout the country who for many years have assumed many state-like functions and have stepped in where the administration has failed. The second part is to involve the international community in forcing the government to remedy its failures.

In 1998, the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights was born out of an initiative of grassroots Dalit activists in eight Indian states. Many of these activists were involved in the drafting of over forty recommendations to the government of India and the international community that are contained in a Human Rights Watch report on caste violence released earlier this year.2 The campaign, which has since expanded to include fourteen states and eleven countries, seeks to mobilise a national coalition that operates at the grassroots level while eliciting the participation of the international community in its struggle. Still, there are other prejudices to be overcome before such participation can be ensured. Internationally, the cyclone in India received little attention in comparison to other recent tragedies of similar or lesser magnitude. Like disparities in responding to crises in Europe and Africa, the “otherness” of those most vividly affected by violence, disaster, or day-to-day deprivation, eases the decision not to respond. When the victims of attacks, even massacres, are non-Christian Dalits, the news barely breaks into international headlines.

Interventions on caste discrimination, if any, have been limited to inquiries regarding the mechanisms of protection offered by the state, without asking for evidence of their effective implementation (which, generally speaking, is a recurring problem in the nature of international intervention on race and ethnicity matters). The Indian government needs to place a priority on strengthening institutional mechanisms aimed at addressing issues of violence and discrimination. But it also needs the active support of — and pressure from — the United Nations, multilateral financial institutions, trading partners, and national and international non-governmental organisations to eradicate the pervasive problem of caste-based abuse. Will the international community respond or even apply the necessary pressure to stimulate domestic political will? Or will it continue to deny Dalits and others their place in the public consciousness?

Entrenched forms of discrimination stemming from the world’s longest surviving system of social hierarchy may offer some lessons as we prepare for a global forum on modern day “racism.” The first and most obvious is to look beyond race as the only arbiter of rights. The second is to look beyond democracy, affirmative action, and the existence of domestic legislation as sufficient guarantors of basic freedoms. The third is to recognise the resilience and adaptability of ancient custom to contemporary global trends. The fourth is to scrutinise the discrimination inherent in the international community’s decision to act, and more importantly, in its failure to respond.





Emerging markets can tap the Potential of digital in the food chain

Emerging markets can tap the potential of digital in the food chain through innovations such as precision agriculture, supply-chain efficiencies, and agriculture-focused payment systems.

Emerging markets can tap the potential of digital in the food chain through innovations such as precision agriculture, supply-chain efficiencies, and agriculture-focused payment systems.

Precision agriculture is a technology-enabled approach to farming management that observes, measures, and analyzes the needs of individual fields and crops.

Soil sensors and aerial images help farmers manage crop growth centrally, with automated detection systems providing early warnings of deviations from expected growth rates or quality.

Transport times can be cut in half by using smart meters to improve routing.

Coupling transport-management systems with agricultural sensors can allow unified hauling of inbound transportation, generating average savings of 10 to 20 percent.

 source: Magnin
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