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‘There are Dalit Millionaires...Why are They Protesting?’ NYT’s Tweet is a Total Facepalm

While the tweet by NYT was a part of the article, it wasn’t a summarization of it.

Adrija Bose | CNN-News18

Updated:April 9, 2018, 1:02 PM IST
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‘There are Dalit Millionaires...Why are They Protesting?’ NYT’s Tweet is a Total Facepalm
Members of Dalit community stage a protest during 'Bharat Bandh' against the alleged 'dilution' of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Act by Supreme court.

Last week, thousands of Dalits across India took to the streets, protesting against the dilution of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, a law that was meant to protect them.

The protesters called for a Bharat Bandh, blocked roads, participated in sit-ins and chanted slogans. Police then opened fire at the demonstrators leading to the death of at least 11 people.

The country witnessed massive protests by the so-called ‘low caste’ and this was a turning point in India’s caste struggles.

Naturally, the world, too, started writing editorials and opinion pieces around it. This wasn’t to be missed.

New York Times published a piece showing how the caste struggle hints at a ‘fiery’ election ahead.

While NYT pointed how Dalit discrimination is not “gently entombed in the past”, but people still follow caste taboos, often quite violently, their tweet wasn’t anything close to the piece. In their attempt to summing up the article, this is what they tweeted.

The tweet was a part of the article, but it wasn’t a summarization of it. “Today there are Dalit millionaires. So why are they protesting?” the tweet read, reflecting a very problematic idea—that because there are Dalit millionaires, there is no caste oppression. Statistics and news reports prove otherwise.

In fact, the NYT piece also goes on to highlight exactly that. But the tweet is somewhat the idea that India’s upper caste usually use to put forward their arguments against caste reservation in education and jobs. Needless to say, it’s flawed.

“Dalit discrimination is not gently entombed in the past. In many parts of India, people still follow caste taboos, and often violently. Just last week, a mob of upper caste men in Gujarat hacked a young Dalit to death for riding a horse — lower caste people aren’t supposed to,” the NYT piece further wrote.

But the tweet had done the damage.

On Twitter, NYT was told what was exactly wrong with their summary.

Do better, NYT!

In a series #BeingADalit, News18.com had mapped the atrocities on Dalits that took place in 2017. Just goes to show why they have too many reasons to protest, and why their protests cannot be belittled.

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