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Caste (Oprah's Book Club): The Origins of…

Caste (Oprah's Book Club): The Origins of Our Discontents (vuoden 2020 painos)

– tekijä: Isabel Wilkerson (Tekijä)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1,3596910,131 (4.42)81
Teoksen nimi:Caste (Oprah's Book Club): The Origins of Our Discontents
Kirjailijat:Isabel Wilkerson (Tekijä)
Info:Random House (2020), 496 pages
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):

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Caste: The Origins of our Discontents (tekijä: Isabel Wilkerson)

Viimeisimmät tallentajatniktonihil, riseabove, nytbestsellers, Danean, rebcamuse, yksityinen kirjasto, nivramkoorb, mars2248, midwestms, jenbarajas

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 68) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
There is a lot to unpack here. And I think we need to understand who this book is for. If you are someone who wants a hyper-intellectual, full of statistics, comprehensive study of caste, this is not the book you are looking for. If, on the other hand, you want to read a book that ties lived experience in with an expansive, but not comprehensive, look at the power of caste, then this is an essential read.

I learned a lot--mostly about the ways that the Nazis used US segregation, miscegenation laws and our institutionalized racism as a model, but also how the "one-drop rule" was too much even for them: "While the Nazis praised "the American commitment to legislating racial purity, "they could not abide"the unforgiving hardness" under which "; an American or woman who has even a drop of Negro blood in their veins' counted as blacks," Whitman wrote." (88). If you aren't aware of the one-drop rule and its history (in play much more recently than you might think), check out the revised anniversary edition of Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Beverly Daniel Tatum.

Wilkerson tells us that caste, "like grammar, became an invisible guide" (18), and that complacency is casteist (79). It is an uncomfortable walk through history and an uncomfortable leaning into the present day. That's why it is so important. Wilkerson employs her skills as a journalist to utilize personal stories to amplify and illuminate well-researched truths. If you are in the dominant caste, you will find moments that may make you examine yourself and how you uphold the caste system in the way you wield your privilege, assume your superiority (see the eighth pillar of Caste, Part III of the book), and how "fear" is sometimes a privilege of the dominant caste and really about protecting status.

What is perhaps most important to the understanding of caste is to see how it self-perpetuates and invests in a continual and multi-tentacled process of de-humanization. Purity is constantly defined by the dominant caste, and even supposed "freedoms" can be disguised attempts to uphold the system, inasmuch as they should be things that are "granted" at all.

I did a four-week long book group read and I'm hoping to do a second one this summer because this book needs to be read and talked about. There is value, of course, to reading in isolation, but I'd encourage those of us who are in the dominant caste to gather others together and dig into this book. You are sure to find sentences that punch you in the gut, because Wilkerson is an extraordinarily skilled writer, yes, but also because this book asks us not to see ourselves as different than offending "outliers", but to understand how we uphold the system in myriad ways. ( )
  rebcamuse | Apr 18, 2021 |
This was one of the best books that I have ever read. I rate it right up there with "Sapiens" by Yuval Harari as books that give a framework and lens for you to view all things in our world. In Sapiens Harari helps explain how throughout history arbitrary decisions based on myths and non-scientific beliefs came to create the world we live in today. Wilkerson drills down from these concepts in Caste. Her contention is that in our country( she also looks at India and Nazi Germany) we have created dominant and lowest castes based on nothing more than peoples race or some other arbitrary trait that the dominant class uses to stigmatize the lower caste. Wilkerson traces the history of the blacks in America starting with 1619 and the first slaves all the way through present day. In example after example she takes her narrative and makes it real by showing how caste impacts our everyday lives and actions. She gives examples in her own life about how she, an educated black woman who was a New York times reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner, had to constantly justify herself as more than a member of the lowest class. This book shows the extensive research that she did and her use of data was excellent. An example that I liked was her potrrayal of blacks as being poor and living in horrible places. The realty is that 22% of blacks live in poverty which means 78% don't yet Blacks in the media etc are portrayed as poor which creates this as the first thing that comes to mined when whites think about blacks. She has many examples of pre conceived attitudes that lead to actions that have nothing to do with a persons skill or worth but reflects their low caste. Wilkerson contends that no matter what class or economic success the lowest cast achieves, the dominant white class will continue to view them as the lowest rung of the caste hierarchy. This book is a must read. Should be required reading in order to graduate high school. Once you read this and really think about what Wilkerson is reporting, hopefully you will have more empathy for blacks in America. I know that this book has helped me to have a different focus on race in America. ( )
  nivramkoorb | Apr 18, 2021 |
race relations, social stratification, racism, caste, American history ( )
  midwestms | Apr 17, 2021 |
"Once every few years a book comes along that fundamentally reframes the conversation around race and racism in the United States. The last book I recall having had such a broad impact was Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010), “a stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the United States, one that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement.”" ~EUAR
  stlukeschurch | Apr 9, 2021 |
The Pulitzer-winning author argues that the problem should not be called racism, but casteism. Caste is the hierarchical ranking of groups of people based on their traits, with rigidly enforced boundaries that favor the upper caste and stigmatize the lower castes. Caste is coded into us from youth, and we enforce it against ourselves and each other without being conscious of it. Like the Matrix, the caste system is invisible, making it stronger. We serve it without seeing it.

The book studies three caste systems: the religion-based one of India, the one defined by Nazi Germany, and, most of all, the 400-year-old one in the U.S. that is rooted in slavery. It's rich in history and scientific findings. It also shows how caste is the culprit in many shocking headlines as well as the mistreatment the author has endured while doing mundane things like flying on an airplane and eating in a restaurant.

This book is a great companion to How to Be an Antiracist and better in some ways. It's more readable and less doctrinaire. It gave me a better understanding of why the world is the way it is, and why people are the way they are. But it's a little too easy and tempting to blame every mishap on caste, so I have to keep that mentality in check.

I had a lot of takeaways from this book, but will whittle them down to just these:

1. In 2008, whites reacted strongly to the Presidential victory of Obama (a member of the lowest caste) and to the news that they would become a minority by 2042. To preserve their dominance, they engaged in birtherism, physical assaults/mass shootings, the Tea Party, Republican opposition to everything Obama did, changing election laws to make it harder to vote, and increased surveillance and interference with the daily lives of blacks (hence the Karen meme). There is a real question of whether whites will continue to allow America to be governed by majority rule when they become a minority.

2. We wonder why working-class whites vote against their own interests by electing Republicans. But they are not voting against their own interests; their chief interest is being members of the dominant white caste. Because they lack wealth, they have a much stronger need to feel dominant than rich whites. The feeling of dominance is their only spiritual nourishment, and they prioritize it over all other issues including health care, national defense, public education, and the economy. When the illusion of their superiority dies, so do they, as evidenced by the 2015 report of increased deaths among middle-aged low-educated whites from suicide, drinking, and drugs, a phenomenon not seen in any other rich country. (This also explains why white women voted the way they did in 2016; staying in the dominant caste is more important to them than female empowerment.)

3. The dominant group sees caste as a zero-sum game. If a lower-caste person rises, an upper-caste person falls. That's why the New Deal reforms initially excluded blacks at the urging of Southerners, and did so until the Civil Rights movement. Thus, after decades that enriched whites and neglected blacks, whites saw blacks as "entitled" and undeserving, not realizing the advantage that whites had had all along.

4. When the Nazis were ironing out their legal framework for racial subjugation, they looked for other racist countries they could emulate. They found that America was the most racist by far. The racist legal arguments of Southern lawyers were indistinguishable from Nazi ideology. The Nazis even thought that some Jim Crow laws were unreasonably excessive. Americans who pride themselves for defeating Hitler need to realize that they created Hitler.

5. In the U.S., there are about 1,700 Confederacy monuments. In Germany, there are no Nazi monuments. Hitler's gravesite was paved over. Germany pays restitution to Holocaust survivors. Berlin has countless, conspicuous memorials to the victims. If Germans feel annoyed or punished by seeing these memorials everywhere, then the memorials are working as intended.

6. It's not enough to let the older generation of bigots die out, because generations of insecurity and resentment can, at any time and in anyone, easily become hate. To help heal the wrongs caused by the caste system, and to eventually destroy the caste system, those in the favored caste must practice radical empathy. They must educate themselves by humbly listening to the disfavored. Until they do, they will continue to choose leaders who waste resources on maintaining divisions rather than solving human problems. ( )
  KGLT | Apr 8, 2021 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 68) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
The descriptions are vivid in their horror; the connections travel across history and time to resonate in the mind. This structural move is a classic trademark of Wilkerson's style, and one of the attributes of her unique voice that imbues her writing with such textured depth. Wilkerson's use of a poetic focus on imagery and detailed characterization allows us an intimate and personal relationship with the lives of those she chronicles; when this empathic closeness is juxtaposed with the harsh brutality of the historical record the contrast is resonant and haunting, becoming a towering memorial to those violated by the violence of caste.
“Caste,” the book, upsets the already rickety national myth that anyone in the United States can be anything — albeit, without entirely abandoning that hope.... It’s the creeping horror of potentially losing ground. “Make America Great Again” is, if nothing else, a plea to maintain caste. Political scientists in Wilkerson’s book refer to that panic as “dominant group status threat,” a funhouse reflection in which those on the bottom rungs are seen as moving up a little too easily for the comfort of those at the top.
Wilkerson’s book is a work of synthesis. She borrows from all that has come before, and her book stands on many shoulders. “Caste” lands so firmly because the historian, the sociologist and the reporter are not at war with the essayist and the critic inside her. This book has the reverberating and patriotic slap of the best American prose writing.... “Caste” deepens our tragic sense of American history. It reads like watching the slow passing of a long and demented cortege. In its suggestion that we need something akin to South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, her book points the way toward an alleviation of alienation. It’s a book that seeks to shatter a paralysis of will. It’s a book that changes the weather inside a reader.
lisäsi Lemeritus | muokkaaNew York Times, Dwight Garner (maksullinen sivusto) (Jul 31, 2020)
A memorable, provocative book that exposes an American history in which few can take pride.
lisäsi Lemeritus | muokkaaKirkus Reviews (May 30, 2020)
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
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Alkuteoksen nimi
Teoksen muut nimet
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Alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi
Tärkeät paikat
Tärkeät tapahtumat
Kirjaan liittyvät elokuvat
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
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Epigrafi (motto tai mietelause kirjan alussa)
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Because even if I should speak,
no one would believe me,
And they would not believe me precisely because
they wuld know that that I said was ture.
--------James Baldwin
If the majority knew of the root of this evil,

then the road to its cure would not be long.

-------------------Albert Einstein
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
To the memory of my parents

who survived the caste system

and to the memory of Brett

who defied it
Ensimmäiset sanat
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In the haunted summer of 2016, an unaccustomed heat wave struck the Siberian tundra on the edge of what the ancients once called the End of the Land.
Viimeiset sanat
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(Napsauta nähdäksesi. Varoitus: voi sisältää juonipaljastuksia)
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