Caste Kindle å Hardcover

Caste Kindle å Hardcover

Caste [EPUB] ✰ Caste Author Isabel Wilkerson – The Pulitzer Prize–winning bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of The Pulitzer Prize–winning bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken Caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions“As we go about our daily lives Caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater flashlight cast down in the aisles guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance The hierarchy of Caste is not about feelings or morality It is about power—which groups have it and which do not”In this brilliant book Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores through an immersive deeply researched narrative and stories about real people how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden Caste system a rigid hierarchy of human rankingsBeyond race class or other factors there is a powerful Caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate Linking the Caste systems of America India and Nazi Germany Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie Caste systems across civilizations including divine will bloodlines stigma and Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King Jr baseball’s Satchel Paige a single father and his toddler son Wilkerson herself and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of Caste is experienced every day She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of Caste reuires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of Caste in depression and life expectancy and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics Finally she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions toward hope in our common humanityBeautifully written original and revealing Caste The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye opening story of people and history and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of America life today.

10 thoughts on “Caste

  1. Liz Liz says:

    The Warmth of Other Suns was one of the most important books I’ve read So I was really looking forward to Caste When I previously thought of castes I thought only of India Wilkerson posits that the Third Reich was also a caste system And of course the US In fact the Nazis used American race laws to design their own system Unlike the Indian caste system which had hundreds if not hundreds of separate castes we basically have two White and Black as the poorest white is still above a Black person Wilkerson uses the first section to set out her premise By Part Two she gets down to the history spelling out how it came to be and evolved through time From 1619 until 1865 the slaves were the obvious lowest caste But even after Emancipation the country found ways to keep the Blacks in the lowest segment of society The surprise is how current this book is She not only covers the Obama presidency but also the Trump election and his first three years Even the corona virus is coveredOne of the most important points she makes is that racism is not just the personal hatred by one person but a systematic abuse often so deeply ingrained in society as to be oblivious to those in the upper caste And that the upper caste will do everything to keep their privilege intact Wilkerson uses a blend of historical research individual examples and even personal history to flesh out her theory Some of the stories are gruesome in the extreme It’s a hard truth to realize that there’s scant difference between a Nazi labor camp and a southern plantation both using multiple means to dehumanize the targeted segment And she rightly points out that brutality actually worsened after the Civil War as the whites no longer had a monetary investment in the black population By 1933 there was a black person lynched every four days in the south Wilkerson is not shy about talking about current US affairs post 2016 She makes an important point about the narcissism of a group “A group whipped into narcissistic fervor is eager to have a leader with whom it can identifyThe right kind of leader can inspire a symbiotic connection that supplants logic The susceptible group sees itself in the narcissistic leader becomes one with the leader sees his fortunes and his fate as their own” This isn’t an easy book but it’s extremely important especially in light of current times It’s one of my best of 2020 Towards the end of the book Taylor Branch is uoted as asking “So the real uestion would be if people were given the choice between democracy and whiteness how many would choose whiteness?”My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book

  2. Elyse Walters Elyse Walters says:

    FAVORITE NON FICTION AUDIOBOOK since Michele Obama’s “Becoming” Ten years ago I read “The Warmth of Other Suns”The epic story of America’s Great MigrationOne of the most highly imagined engrossing heartfelt books I’ve ever read There were three main unforgettable characters— their complexities individual stories and motivations for what they did had to do was soooo well written and experienced from Isabel WilkersonI’ve never forgotten the power and impact her book left on me Ten years laterbrings me to“CasteThe Origins of Our Discontents” an Oprah Book Club pick deserving than all other ‘club picks’ combinedis an exceptional needed extraordinary masterful BEST NON FICTION BOOKperfect timing book in the pandemic year of 2020 that brings a whole new meaning to the term “INSTANT CLASSIC” Audiobookread by Robin Miles 14hours and 26 minutesRobin is the perfect reader for this book Two full days of compelling binge listening This book only left my side for one phone call Tzipora and couple of uick messages The last time I listened to an audiobook with this much gusto was when I listened to Michelle Obama read from her book ‘Becoming’ This book changes usIt has changed me I’ll never think of caste American Caste dominate caste subordinate caste mis casting of caste sickness of caste hate suffering violence rejection of caste cruelty of caste disparity fears resentments intolerance mocking beliefs assumptions lies upon lies stereotyping slavery abuse discrimination oppression class blacks white race hierarchy and collective madness the same again There is no returning to where I started from before this book I learned so much about American historyabout AMERICAN CASTE HISTORY realizing how much I never understood before It would take me 5 to 10 years to write a deserving review to match a third of this highly accomplished book And now that I’ve finished it it might be a better use of my time to read professionals reviews watch YouTube’s podcasts interviews and read other readers reviews than spend the next many years trying to write one book review myself I do intend to stay engaged with the conversations be mindful as one Goodreads buddy said and apply action where it seems appropriateOprah must have some discussion group going yes? I’d pay to join a uality book discussion with Isabel Wilkerson speaking The only other time I engaged with one of Oprah’s online book clubs was when she and Eckhart Tollelead a ten week weekly hour online gathering discussion chapter by chapter people from around the world Point is I’m at at age stage and readiness of wanting to stay engaged learning growing re evaluating reassessing being mindful and taking action when it comes to social injustice intolerance racial justice and civil liberties Reading this bookwas fitting with my own commitment to the causeWhile digesting so much information from this book I’m aware that I’ve still no idea just how ‘much’ this book is a useful giftit’s opened a new pathway inside my brainfor new greater effective learning Isabel Wilkerson connects caste histories giving us a connective experience of the caste system in India Nazi Germany and in AmericaFor example Isabel explains how radical ineuality in America has its parallel in caste in ineuality in India even though by definition race and caste are not the same thing She draws different parallels from different systems of oppression She breaks down eight pillars of caste explores each of these with us to better understandFoundations of caste origins of discontentsDivine Will and Laws of NatureHeritabilityEndogamy and the Control of Marriage and MatingPurity Versus PollutionOccupational Hierarchy The Jatis and the MudsillDehumanization and StigmaTerror as Enforcement Cruelty as a Means of ControlInherent Superiority Versus Inherent Inferiority Race and Caste are examined how they are similar and how they are different Both divide society in many ways to the unfair advantage of certain groups over others I particularly liked when Isabel included real people situations and their ‘oh my fricken god’ stories that gave me a direct experience of the intensity of discrimination My mind connects best with real stories includeand there are plentyThere were several personal stories that will stay with meone was about a woman named Missanother true ‘sharing story’ about when Isabel was in a position where she was accused of impersonating herself I’m still chuckling over that oneTHIS IS AN INSIDE FUNNY FOR READERS WHO HAVE ALREADY READ THIS BOOKIn need for a new mailbox? HahaThere’s an old saying I learned years agoIf you have a flat tire and you’re angry about it you can kick it and kick it and kick it againbut the tire will still be flatI mentioned it might take years for me to write a proper reviewI could write much about this book and I’m sure it would be a beneficial process for myselfHowever at this point best to share the real truth to others READ ITIt really should be reuired reading in our schools families for humanity I hope I was able to contribute a small part of adding my voice to the endorsement FOR WHY READ audiobook was great for methis book Reading will have many advantages too I’d need to consider purchasing and reading this book for a next read The start was awesome a creative fun way to get a regular reader interested and again its must be said that the voice narrator Robin Miles was fantastic; I was immediately hookedI was never bored but there were a few parts that were harder for me to understand than others The journey is a processI don’t think I’m expected to understand everything from one read but I got a hell of a lot out of itIsabel Wilkerson is a geniusShe’s a phenomenal teacher besides incredible authorI’m thankful for the added spoonfuls of sugar to the much needed medicine seriously’ helpful in digesting this much learning in 2 daysIs it even necessary to say? 5 strong stars and

  3. David Wineberg David Wineberg says:

    Americans don’t think in these terms but Isabel Wilkerson points out in no uncertain terms that the country is running a caste system remarkably and sadly just like India’s In India there are four varnas and numerous maybe thousands of subdivisions between them Each one is a caste with strict rules of life conduct liberty and employment In the US there is the dominant caste and the subordinate caste In between there are various subcastes for various colors and tribes but at the very bottom there are blacks It’s so obvious obstructive and intrusive that even blacks from other countries go out of their way to distinguish themselves from African AmericansThe main difference is that in India you can only tell the castes apart by people’s postures and attitudes because everyone is from the same genetic family In America it’s entirely by skin color making it very easy to tell the castes apart This has made America’s caste system stubbornly resistant to laws directives or social movements In her gripping and staggeringly affecting book Caste Wilkerson looks at the system from every angle finding it a terrific waste of time human potential and life Its attributes are entirely negative just as in India It’s all for nothing and all about nothing But it costs plenty Those human costs are the real meat of the bookAmericans have been well aware of running a caste system for centuries now In 1832 a Virginia slaveholder said “poor whites have little but their complexion to console them for being in a higher caste” Civil War era Senator Charles Sumner said caste was a “violation of euality” The word keeps popping up but it seems no one has seen fit to work with itWilkerson finds that white skin is salvation for a lot of poor whites who know with certainty that they are not the bottom of the heap – as long as there are blacks around So it’s important to both keep them down and keep them poor The situation is so devoid of truth or reality that 55% of Americans think all poor people are black And that’s reason enough to keep the castes separate and to be against aiding the poorOne of the very many impressive things in Caste is the day to day horror of living while black There is having to be careful over every step you take and every word you utter lest a dominant caste member take offense – just like in India America had a an example just last week as I write this in May 2020 as a woman in Central Park called the police when a black birdwatcher asked her to leash her dog as signs indicated was reuired She claimed her very life was being threatened by an African American This can lead to beatings or death False charges never stopped a lynching Treatment by store clerks by doctors and by the police is different for blacks And not better Daily indignities and humiliations are horrors in themselves and it’s not just a stop and frisk policy that sees the same men harassed several times a day every day they dare to venture outside It is also disproportionate jailings sentencing and monitoring Blacks are followed around stores suspected of being potential shoplifters because they are black They receive an outsized portion of traffic tickets and fines And police kill them with little if any thought For decades they were denied government backed mortgages got worse rates on loans and went to worse state funded schools This is a caste system at workAs in India where even the shadow caused by the presence of a Dalit Untouchable is thought to pollute the higher castes so in America the thought of shaking hands or allowing a black child in a municipal swimming pool was a horror beyond imagining When laws were enforced to allow blacks in public pools American towns filled them with concrete rather than allow itThere were separate everythings for the castes from water fountains to hotels restaurants toilets churches and train cars A black with a first class ticket could not sit among whites dine at the buffet or mingle Wilkerson cites a black building owner who had to enter his own building by a rear door in order to collect the rent I use the past tense but it clearly continues throughout the country in different mutations today For example the former Confederate states still maintain the death penalty and use it mostly on blacks Black voters are harassed for state issued ID when voting and the slightest mismatch such as a missing apostrophe is sufficient to deny them their vote That’s when the state doesn’t totally shut down their polling stations which are fewer than for whites and placed inconveniently far away to keep the poor from getting there at allAmericans used to travel by the thousands to witness a lynching buy picture postcards of the event and even grab a body part as a souvenir afterwards Slaves chattel that they were could not even rely on family A wife or child could be sold off for a nice profit But even after the Civil War a child could die in front of its father at the hands of whites with no recourse Punishment for a crime was and still can be several times severe for a black person Wilkerson cites the stat that in Virginia 71 offenses rated the death penalty for slaves but only one of just simple imprisonment for whites And of course the crime paranoia is totally unjustified Wilkerson found that 10% of crimes involve a white victim and a black suspect It’s usually the other way around To reinforce the points that make caste different from mere racism Wilkerson went to Germany She found that the Nazis created their race purity policies directly and consciously from America the model for the world They implemented the same sort of separations forbidding Jews from holding certain jobs forbidding whites from marrying or even associating with them and in order to get a job forcing all to prove not a drop of Jewish blood in their line going back at least three generations Some of the existing policies they found in America were so bizarre and offensive even the Nazis couldn’t justify implementing them America’s caste system was proudly the worst of the worst Nazi officials right up to Hitler read and prized books by American bigots It was the umbrella the Nazis could flourish underThey enslaved Jews broke up their families took all their possessions erased their names and starved them while working them to death as free labor for major German firms They eliminated their humanity and turned them into a necessary evil The common hatred of Jews was the glue that kept the whole country together and on the same page It has been said that if there were no Jews Hitler would have had to invent them Without Jews as scapegoats Hitler would have floundered So in the USA blacks are tolerated with both hostility and fear They provide the bottom rung and convenient scapegoatsCaste is a wonderfully constructed book Wilkerson has filled it with stories and examples she sets up before going into her analysis of the aspect the chapter covers The stories often open readers’ eyes to what would be ordinary situations for anyone else But they slide into cruelty very uickly She has plenty of her own tales as well as famous and lesser known outrages and insults going back 200 years It has the effect of putting the reader right in the shoes of an African American showing how debilitatingly stressful and limiting the caste system is for them This makes the book no treat to read but also impossible to put down as readers will find themselves horrified at the impossibly difficult life the dominant caste imposes on the subordinate caste It is necessary but insufficient merely to feel revulsion Wilkerson calls on everyone go far beyond not being racist teaching children not to discriminate and to protest abuses of power She wants everyone to be pro subordinate castes in an effort to dissolve them entirely Her point is the whole country suffers from the caste system If there were real euality healthcare would be eual as would job opportunities and incarceration The country would benefit and be much farther ahead with the skills and talents of African Americans And not just in sports and entertainment where they are now allowed Poverty would be substantially lessened for all Instead the country is a rough patchwork of different standards different treatment different restrictions and suppressed lives She says ”It is not about luxury cars and watches country clubs and private banks but knowing without thinking that you are one up from another based on rules not set down in paper but reinforced in most every commercial television show or billboard from boardrooms to newsrooms to gated subdivisions to who gets killed first in the first half hour of a movie This is the blindsiding banality of caste”Wilkerson found that in 1944 there was an essay contest for kids in Columbus Ohio The topic was what to do with Hitler after the war A 16 year old black girl won with just one sentence “Put him in black skin and make him live the rest of his life in America” David Wineberg

  4. Trevor Trevor says:

    It is September 2020 we are a couple of months away from seeing just how insane the US actually is I’m nearly certain that the world’s only superpower is about to re elect Donald Trump and I’m not in the least bit certain that the world will survive another 4 years of his lunacy In my lifetime each Republican president has been worse than the last and with each I’ve assumed we’d reached rock bottom – but Trump has proven there is no bottom Nixon Reagan Bush I Bush II – and still nothing prepared me for the last four years You might say that his latest gaff today he called soldiers who died in WW1 suckers and losers will sink him – except we were told that when he said he liked to grab women by the pussy and then again when he mocked a disabled reporter then there where all those times when he essentially said he would like to have sex with his daughter and all of this was before the US elected him the first time Like I said there is no bottom All you can actually say is that when he thought he could shoot someone in the street and not lose a single vote he grossly underestimated his power He’s currently killed 188000 Americans and is going strongAt one point in this book the author tackles what might seem the inevitable uestion of US politics – how is it that the Republicans are able to convince so many people to vote against their own best interests? It is very hard for me to explain how those of us not in the US look upon US politics I guess it is summed up by a cartoon I saw from the start of the Trump reign It was drawn while Trump was doing everything in his power to remove people’s health insurance because you know Obama The drawing had what I took to be a dirt poor white man in a MAGA hat saying something like “I can’t believe I have to suffer through another day of free healthcare” It would be hard for me to think of a better example of something that seems so utterly bewildering That someone would hope that if they or their fellow citizens get sick and do not have health cover that their government will do nothing at all to help them – and that this would somehow be a good thing The fundamental inhumanity of it is breathtaking I’ve mentioned this to Americans on this site before and they say that I wouldn’t understand because I live under socialism and while admittedly it is probably true that even our current crazy right wing government is still to the left of Biden that is because there is near infinite space to the left of Biden and a wall to the right of him called Trump – Australia is hardly a ‘socialist’ country All the same we pay taxes and bizarrely I know we sometimes expect something back from those taxes – something than rescuing obscenely wealthy businesspeople every decade or so after they’ve crashed the economy Perhaps if you say freedom three times and salute the flag it will eventually all feel better The author of this says that the real reason people vote against their own interests is that they actually don’t vote against their own interests at all Belonging to the highest caste even if someone is dirt poor is a distinction most white people cannot do without and so they will vote to retain that distinction even if it means that they and their families will have to do without healthcare decent education social security clean air and god only knows what else As long as they are confirmed in their belief that they are superior to someone else particularly someone with black skin they will vote to remain poor dumb and sick God bless AmericaI once saw an interview where Bush the Second was asked what made America so great and his reply was basically him saying the word freedom twenty times across maybe 25 words in total Look I’ve got nothing against freedom of course it just isn’t clear to me how having no security of employment no health care or education can be confused with being free – you know ‘I’m free from healthcare’ sounds like a sad joke Again the author’s point here is that a concern for ‘freedom’ per se isn’t really what is going on either Her thesis is that notions of race are only part of the problem faced by the people in the US – and that what is really going on is a kind of colour coded caste system I am not entirely sure if saying the US has a caste system does all that much than saying it is a racist nation already did I worry that it might make it too easy for people to say ‘Obama’ as if this was some kind of Trump card that proves that after all any Black American can aspire to the highest office in the land You know Obama had a white mother and so he was ‘Black’ only according to the tainting nature of US blood laws that the author spends so much time in this explaining helped inspire Nazi Germany The stuff in this discussing the difference between how the US remembers the Confederacy and how Germany remembers Nazi generals is instructiveSaying that Obama proves the end of racism in the US sounds too much like the sections of the women’s movement that Nancy Fraser criticises in her Feminism for the 99% ‘feminists’ who are far too concerned with ‘glass ceilings’ getting in the way of us having female CEOs as if this was the most obvious solution to female oppression It isn’t in the least bit obvious that having female CEOs will do anything to address any of the issues that the majority of women face Similarly as we see virtually nightly on our television screens the horrors faced by Black Americans were not in the least resolved by having a Black American presidentThis book does something particularly striking Throughout it jumps between descriptions of the various tortures dehumanisations murders and micro aggressions that have been inflicted upon Black bodies across the history of the US But often when she starts her descriptions it isn’t at all clear when these atrocities have committed – so that after a while you start to realise that whether the scene being described occurred in 1780 or 1840 or 1950 or 2015 hardly matters The catalogue of crimes committed have been and remain various chameleon morphings of the same systemic and systematic brutality enacted to serve the same end – that is to ensure that all Black people know their ‘place’ These acts of barbarism are committed with such regularity and are performed and I mean literally ‘performed’ because they are certainly meant as spectacles that will be viewed by audiences almost nightly on our television screens They have nothing to do with law and order but everything to do with reinforcing the privileged of some alongside the active disenfranchisement of others I wanted stronger antonym for privilege but given what is described in this book on what is done so as to stop non white populations in the US from voting disenfranchisement will do even if it does not in itself cover the full extent of the dehumanisation that occurs in the making of the non privilegedThis book is particularly hard to read It has done nothing to allay my fears that Trump is about to be re elected If anything it has made it feel like a near certaintyThe worst of this horror movie is the two fold enslavement of the American people both black and white – where the Black must live their lives second guessing arbitrary power ‘don’t shoot’ ‘just tell me what you would like me to do officer I’m sorry I appear to be frightening you while you hold your gun in my face’ – and where the white people get second rate everything but can delight in the knowledge that at least they are not Black And all while Bezos Gates and their assorted friends literally laugh all the way to the bank If you live in the US maybe you could consider reading this book sometime before November and then vote imagine a democracy where voting is optional In fact as Trump himself says you could vote a couple of times to be sure Yeah that would be great

  5. Diane S ☔ Diane S ☔ says:

    Impeccably written extensively researched this book couldn't be timely Systemic rascism though that word is not used rather Wilkerson argues it is in fact a caste system a system that became embedded with the first colonials She uses comparisons of the caste system in India and it's treatment of the undesirables as well as Nazi Germany and its treatment of the Jews What makes this so poignant is the stories of individuals and the effects in people trapped within these systems Systems of the utmost cruelty that see these people as others less than It is in all ways a uest for power fear of relinuishing any part of said power and the ability to portray certain groups of people as a threat It is this fear this concern that she believes is what led to the election of the current administrationA social and historical study this book does offer a solution but again will there be any permanent changes? It does provide much for thought at least for those brave enough to read and to aknowledge the truths within

  6. Thomas Thomas says:

    Liked this book for its blunt discussion of racism and caste discrimination though at times its analysis felt rather simple or superficial In terms of positives I appreciate Caste for its international perspective A lot of books on race write about race within the context one country whereas Isabel Wilkerson compares and contrasts the United States India and Nazi Germany Wilkerson does a great job too of showing how many anti Black racist events within the United States occurred not too long ago In part because of the myth of a post racial society we often believe that things like slavery and segregation occurred way back when when in reality those racist events happened relatively recently and still manifest today through mass incarceration and voter suppression I appreciated Wilkerson’s provocative or deeper insights such as how a lot of people in lower castes will try to assimilate and desire proximity to upper castes yikes as well as how these issues of caste extend into arenas ranging from disenfranchisement in academia to nastiness in interpersonal interactionsSometimes I wanted from this book’s structure and its recommendations about challenging the caste system The book’s thesis and argument style feels a bit simplistic in that early on Wilkerson establishes the idea of castes Then she describes several racist events and at the end of each description she comments about how the event exemplifies the presence and maintenance of castes I desired innovative less repetitive writing that delved deeper into the systemic international mechanisms that perpetuate castes Goodreads reviewer Chetana raises issue with the simplicity of Wilkerson’s international analysis in her review which I agree with The solutions and action steps toward the end of the book felt pretty surface level too While radical empathy and recognizing each other’s humanity is great I’m additionally interested in specific systemic actionable ways we can dismantle white supremacy and caste discrimination I do think it’s important that the racist events Wilkerson describes in this book are acknowledged though I’m not sure those familiar with racism will learn much from reading Caste aside from some of the introductory international analysis I’d be curious for writers to include about how Asian and Latinx individuals fit into the American caste system as well as how intersectionality plays into it In terms of books about racism and anti racism I’d still recommend Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo Longe and So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

  7. Stetson Stetson says:

    Caste The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist makes the case that America is a caste system analogous to that of India's but organized on the basis of race She strongly implies that the 2016 Presidential Election was somehow evidence for this claim and then outlines what she posits are the features of the American caste system 8 pillars of casteWilkerson's 8 Pillars of Caste1 Divine Will and The Laws of Nature 2 Heritability3 Endogamy and the control of marriage and mating4 Purity vs pollution5 Occupational hierarchy6 Dehumanization and Stigma7 Terror as enforcement cruelty as a means of control8 Inherent superiority vs inherent inferiorityWilkerson's thesis is ostensibly ridiculous as a description of contemporary America which is actually organized as a hierarchy of competence where competence is roughly determined by free market forces any serious discussion of political economy is strikingly absent from Caste a meritocracy in other words Wilkerson's claims are also reckless especially given the media attention given to her work ie Oprah's recommendation This is not a work that is seeking to achieve the racial reconciliation and harmony of a post racial America where all races and creeds can cash the promissory note of the American founding and the American dream It wallows in the racial sins and misery of America's past slavery lynching and Jim Crow and labels those evils as America's essence rather than the chronic disease that America has always aspired to eliminate I would be inclined to take her arguments seriously if she didn't assiduously avoid all the aspects of American life that plainly contradict her or at least mitigate against such a stark perspective For instance Wilkerson completely ignores Asian American minorities in her book She fails to address why in a caste system organized by race with whiteness as the dominant identity that Asian Americans are the most educated wealthiest ethnic group Of course blackAfrican Americans historically suffered much deeper severe iniuities than Asian Americans but her thesis is predicated on the claim that society is systemically organized to ensure dominant status for white Americans It's just sloppy to have such a glaring omission a white elephant of sorts that lurks behind every line Moreover Wilkerson's seeming aversion to sociological and economic data is evidenced as she opts for the telling of emotive anecdotes of racial iniuities Wilkerson is a moving writer; however the lack of rigor specificity data and analysis belie her true intentions which are those of an activist rather than a scholar activists don't have time for pesky facts or to dissect a delicate hot button topic in a balanced dispassionate fashion There were some aspects of Wilkerson's discussions of race that I thought were accurate For instance she does point out that there is no biological ie genetic definition of race making it decidedly a social invention I think this is an important insight but Wilkerson does not follow this understanding through to its conclusion Given the harm caused by the arbitrary use of skin color as a historical system of oppression and disenfranchisement we should aim for a future where skin color is no longer a meaningful measure a color blind egalitarian society where one's merit entirely determines one's place in the social hierarchy Despite Wilkerson's vagueness on how this supposed American racial caste system can be remedied it is clear that this is not the vision she has for America's future or even believes that such a future is possible I could belabor my critiue but I think a recommendation to readers interested in this topic would be better Political Tribes by Amy Chua although not as directly engaged on the issue of race is still far superior in its discussion of similar issues a balanced reasonable analysis of the tribalism in contemporary American society

  8. Oscreads Oscreads says:

    Last night I attended an event that was held by The New York Public Library which hosted a conversation with Isabel Wilkerson to talk about her newest book “Caste The Origins of Our Discontent” Already finished with her book I attended this event to help me group up my finals thoughts During the event Wilkerson talks about how she doesn’t see this book as an argument but as an “invitation to seeing ourselves differently than we have before and the idea that we can have new language to help us see ourselves differently” This is exactly what Wilkerson is doing with her newest book “Caste The Origins of Our Discontent” Right from the first page you are invited into this extraordinary book that challenges the reader to think differently and to see the world and most importantly this country through this new lens Not knowing what caste was before I came into this book blindly which can be a sort of a challenge because you are putting your trust in the writer way before you open the book However Wilkerson embraces the blind reader by defining this term and making sure that you understand this phenomenon that is embedded in American history to which has left this residue that is affecting American society even today Wilkerson defines this caste system as “an artificial construction a fixed and embedded ranking of human value that sets the presumed supremacy of one group against the presumed inferiority of other groups on the basis of ancestry and often immutable traits” Wilkerson doesn’t stop there though to make sure you know what this term is and what it has done She uses these smart metaphors that only help the reader comprehend this term and its entirety “Caste is the wordless usher in a darkened theater flashlight cast down in the aisles guiding us to our assigned seats for a performance” While this is a complicated topic Wilkerson guides you through American history covering how far this casteism system has been apart of this nation From 1619 to slavery from reconstruction to Jim Crow from the civil rights movement to the election of President Obama and later on the Cheeto Wilkerson welcomes you to see that all along this country has been dealing with a casteism problem similar to what India and Germany have gone through She wants us humanity to see this country and the world in this new way which if we do can possibly save us “Caste The Origins of Our Discontent” by Isabel Wilkerson is a force of a book that will help those who seek clarity about the race relations in America find some sort of understanding While I made my way through this book I couldn’t help tell those around me about the stunning points that Wilkerson brought up There were times where my jaw dropped to the floor and times where my heart wanted to jump out of my chest I will say that if you are already familiar with this history this book can feel sort of repetitive but I like to think that it must have been necessary for Wilkerson to guide one through this history again through this new lens in order to take on this new language Overall this book is one that will be next to me forever It’s an incredible document and I applaud Wilkerson for gifting us with such a textThank you Penguin Random House for the Netgalley widget #partner

  9. Lisa Lisa says:

    A masterful infuriating heartbreaking book Wilkinson argues and illustrates beautifully with dozens of stories that we need to go beyond a racial reckoning and examine the structure underneath “caste is the bones race the skin” I believe my understanding of US History has deepened from Isabel Wilkerson’s two brilliant penetrating books than all the other texts I have read in the last several decades combined

  10. Kathleen Kathleen says:

    The idea of perceiving America’s deeply ingrained racism as a caste system came to her while conducting her research for her Pulitzer prize winning The Warmth of Other Suns In that book she focused on a history of the Great Migration of African Americans moving out of the South For this book she proceeded to study the two best known caste systems in the world—India and Nazi Germany Hence Caste is not about biology social history or science but about structural power She sees America’s racial order as a system of caste a hierarchical structure of hereditary statusThe beauty of Wilkerson’s writing is that she blends statistics with microhistories that embraces the larger story of caste in America—a country that is indignant when asked to simply acknowledge that black lives matter This is a nation that honors the Confederate general Robert E Lee whom fought for the right to enslave other human beings with 230 memorials throughout the land The author points out that lower caste members are dehumanized and stigmatized and kept in their place with cruelty and terror The stereotype of Black Americans being predominantly poor and living in crime infested inner cities is dispelled by the fact that only 22% of African Americans live in poverty On the other hand the average white family has a net worth 10 times that of an average Black familyHighly recommend this excellently written book

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