Caste

The Origins of Our Discontents

hardcover, 496 pages

Published Aug. 4, 2020 by Random House.

ISBN:
9780593230251

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (10 reviews)

4 editions

2022 #FReadom read 15/20

5 stars

The 15th book in my 2022 #FReadom quest - to read works removed or threatened in Texas schools and libraries - was Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. www.nationalbook.org/books/caste-the-origins-of-our-discontents/

Among many other insights, I was especially struck by Chapter 14, in which Wilkerson presented examples of upper-caste people "overriding the rightful role of lower-caste parents & their children." We see this caste power play in the current spate of book bans, curriculum reviews, & "parental bills of rights" (which parents' rights?).

Review of 'Caste' on Goodreads

3 stars

At first I wasn't sure this would add to the "Stamped from the Beginning" view of discrimination ingraining and refining racist ideas. But the central point here, that we have a deeply established caste system that constrains possibillity and reinforces elite power, is a strong companion to Kendi in naming the systemic discrimination's mechanisms. And it's refreshing perspective to apply the language of caste ("dominant/subordinate", fixed hierarchy, status & purity & threat) where "white supremacy society" fits too.

But there is a lot of meandering around the strong parts of this book, good stories and shocking stories, and reliving the Obama and Trump presidencies, and partial tours of academic subfields, that left me wanting sharpening.

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