AAHOA speaks out against discrimination

The organization that is largely made of Indian Americans criticised the California Senate Bill 403

The Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA), recognized as the largest hotel owners association globally, has strongly opposed the California Senate Bill 403 ("SB 403") out of concern that its implementation may lead to inappropriate and unlawful racial profiling, targeting, and attacks on individuals of Asian American descent and/or those who adhere to the principles of Hinduism.

The organization argued that including “caste” as a protected category in anti-discrimination laws, such as Section 51 of the California Civil Code, as well as other Education Code and Government Code sections, is unnecessary and could potentially result in more harm than good.

The existing Unruh Civil Rights Act already establishes that all individuals within the state's jurisdiction are entitled to equal treatment, irrespective of factors such as sex, race, colour, religion, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, and immigration status, among others. The proposed bill seeks to extend this protection to include caste as well, ensuring that individuals are entitled to equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services regardless of their caste, as defined by the bill.

“AAHOA was founded on the very basis of preventing discrimination and, therefore, has always strongly opposed any form of discrimination, including caste-based, as inimical to our values as Americans and as human beings,” said AAHOA chairman Bharat Patel. “However, contrary to what it looks like on the surface, Senate Bill 403 singles out South Asians and other vulnerable ethnic communities and could lead to improper and unlawful racial profiling and stigmatization of individuals of Asian American descent.”

AAHOA was established in 1989 with the primary objective to address the discrimination faced by Asian American hoteliers in the industry, specifically from banks and insurance companies. Over the course of more than three decades, AAHOA has dedicated significant efforts to combat racial profiling based on factors such as national origin, ethnicity, and ancestry. Their work has aimed to create a more inclusive and fair environment within the hotel industry and beyond.