• Vanita Gupta, woman of Indian origin, fights racism in the US via the system

    If you’re racist, casteist, fundamentalist, or in any way closed to the concept of an equal society, you might think twice about visiting the US. That’s because Vanita Gupta, an American of Indian origin who heads the federal civil rights division of the US Department of Justice, has no patience with people who have attitudes of superiority and entitlement.

    Gupta, who last week indicted the Baltimore police department for brutality and a racist attitude to the African-American community in the city, has a history of exposing people who show any kind of discrimination.

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    According to NDTV, Gupta, who is also the principal deputy assistant attorney general, has been working with police departments across the country to help reform their attitudes to non-white communities. So far, she is working with the Chicago, Cleveland, and Newark police, with Baltimore now on the list.

    In Baltimore, Gupta investigated allegations of police brutality during the riots that consumed the city after an African-American man, Freddie Gray, died in police custody, and the six police officers charged in the case were either acquitted or had their cases withdrawn.

    In the case of the Baltimore police department, Gupta said in a speech quoted on the official website of the US Justice Department: “We conclude that there is reasonable cause to believe that BPD engages in a pattern or practice of conduct that violates the Constitution and federal anti-discrimination law.”

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    Gupta is one of the most prominent Indian-Americans in the US, and deeply committed to civil liberties. After studying at Yale, she graduated from at the New York University Law School in 2001 and immediately declared her intention to stand up for civil liberties by proving that the Talia police in Texas was corrupt and racially discriminatory in its practises in a case in which 40 African-Americans and six Latinos were falsely convicted on drug charges.

    Gupta does not simply react to cases of discrimination, but is proactive too. According to NDTV, she took on the state of North Carolina which had passed a law that required people to use public bathrooms according to their sex, arguing that the law discriminates against transgender men and women.

    Feature image credit: NPR.org

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