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Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents de…

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (edição: 2020)

de Isabel Wilkerson (Autor)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
1,854946,936 (4.44)113
Título:Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
Autores:Isabel Wilkerson (Autor)
Informação:Random House of Canada (2020), 496 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Etiquetas:politics, issues, racism, history, US history

Detalhes da Obra

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents de Isabel Wilkerson

Adicionado recentemente porCatherineAlane, nancyMd, tsantmire, biblioteca privada, bursleymack, JRMANDRAGON, scottjpearson, jmcarlozzi

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Mostrando 1-5 de 94 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Recent events have caused many thoughtful Americans to reflect on our social cohesion and structures. In this book, Wilkerson performs this task through the educated lens of social theory and builds a compelling case for what needs to change in American culture. She does so by constructing a comprehensive, historical account of injustices done by “the dominant caste” to “the lower caste.” In so doing, she identifies how American society can still have enduring social hierarchies that hold us back from full human flourishing.

Wilkerson refuses to limit her analysis by using mere racial or ethnic terms on what America faces. Instead, using dominant vs. lower caste terminology, she compares and contrasts America to two other caste systems in world history – India and Nazi Germany. Although most Americans (like myself) might first react in denial that we resemble these cultures, Wilkerson is unfaltering in the communication of details that support her case. From when the first slaves arrived on our continent to the Civil War, from the racial oppression after Reconstruction to Jim Crow laws and recent political events, she builds a thorough case that America has enduring social inequities and oppressive traits.

It’s not rare to read some (usually white male – i.e., dominant caste) newspaper opinion writer deny that America is a racist country. Through her erudition, Wilkerson can persuade just about any reader that America has possessed and still possesses significant racist tendencies that we need to work on. The biggest weakness of her case is that she lumps so much into the simple concept of caste. I would have liked to have heard more division of the concept into sub-concepts, with the eventual hope of identifying behaviors that can be changed.

After the election of Donald Trump and again after the needless death of George Floyd, many Americans added anti-racist books to their reading lists in an attempt to understand and correct harmful behaviors. This book should sit atop such lists. Its scope and depth surpasses almost any other anti-racist treatments that I’ve come into contact with. It does so in a balanced and open tone that seeks honesty and self-betterment over angry retribution. I can only hope that we learn from the identified lessons because implementing change is always the hardest part. ( )
  scottjpearson | Sep 25, 2021 |
Much of the writing in "Caste" is excellent, particularly the anecdotal stories of what the (never-ended) Reconstruction years have been like. On several occasions, I put the book aside and did further research on her stories, digging up old photos, etc. Wilkerson is an excellent story-teller, and many of her passages made me realize I had no idea how pervasive, protracted and hateful treatment of Black Americans has been. Like most Americans, I have had a too-casual understanding of reconstruction as an era, mostly to do with the South and mostly over with by the turn to the twentieth century. Wrong. There were many occasions as I read "Caste" that I wished the author had focused only on this subject, with more on the post WWII years.

I never bought the "caste" argument presented by the author, especially with its comparisons to India. I sense there is a world of difference between the two countries' cultures, differences that the author didn't come close to resolving in "Caste". In the US, most of our citizens will have opportunities to succeed in life through higher education. It will be a considerably more difficult journey for some than for others, but is possible. It is evident today that this working, and it continues to evolve. Unfortunately, low caste members in other countries will never have that opportunity.

I had two other problems with the book "Caste". I didn't see much in the way of solutions. Lots and lots on the present condition, OK, I get that but what's the fix? There were some words toward the end, they seemed to me to be lip gloss. Maybe, there's a second book planned....

The other problem surprisingly had to do with other aspects of the writing. I thought there was a lot of repetition and that points made earlier were re-surfacing toward the end. Also, the book had a choppy feel to me, meaning it felt like a chapter was written at some point, then all was put aside for a couple of weeks, then another chapter. More like a collection of essays. Somehow the structure didn't hang together well for me. I expected better from a Pulizer winner. ( )
  maneekuhi | Sep 21, 2021 |
Thank you, Isabel Wilkerson, for writing this book. I'm humbled, horrified, and far better informed about matters of race and racism. While your book is focused on the U.S., here in Canada we've been confronted with our own caste system in the past weeks while I was reading "Caste", in the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of indigenous children at old, Residential School sites.

And this morning I was in line at the bread counter at my local grocery store. A Black man and his daughter were looking at cakes - the woman behind the counter was waiting on him and recognized me, so she started to get my egg bread (she knows my order). As she was bagging the bread, the man looked up to order his cake, and she was 'gone'.

Was this caste in action? I don't know. If my awkward discomfort was an indicator, indeed it was. In retrospect, when she saw me, I should have prompted that I would wait until the other man was finished. But it all happened within seconds.

This book is an absolute must-read for everyone. ( )
  DwaynesBookList | Sep 18, 2021 |
Overall, this was fantastic and very powerful. Wilkerson is a gifted writer and it is really a joy to read. I think her basic premise is good and I was very convinced by most of her arguments. My only complaint was the strategy of jumping around from topic to topic, which worked very well in the life stories in The Warmth of Other Suns, but was not as effective here. I wanted a more linear argument and I think that could have made it even more powerful. She gave me a great deal to think about for some time and that is a hallmark of a great book.
  amyem58 | Aug 20, 2021 |
I’ve been wanting to read this for a while and I even bought a hardcover, but as usual I kept procrastinating it. I finally got the chance to listen to the audiobook during my very long journey to India, and it was greatly insightful but also difficult company.

With comparisons to the oppressive caste system of India and the discrimination of Jews in Nazi Germany, the author provides a deep look into the how race is used as a tool to keep up the hierarchical and discriminatory white supremacist systems in the US. Using both historical evidence as well as anecdotal personal stories, the author brings these truths to life and we realize that only the years have changed, but this caste based oppression hasn’t gone anywhere and has really made a much more insidious comeback into the mainstream in the past four years. And even the latest election results don’t present a too optimistic picture considering the amount of voters ready to vote for and believe in a racist authoritarian leader, completely disregarding the danger to democracy and the country he represents.

I would highly recommend this book if you want to look at the racist history of US through a different kind of lens. It is painful at times but it’s also the truth that needs to be acknowledged, because it’s impossible to find solutions to end systemic racism if a majority of the country doesn’t even believe it exists. The audiobook is also excellently narrated and brings out a lot of emotion from a book that could have just been another history book. ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
Mostrando 1-5 de 94 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
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.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarNew York Times, Dwight Garner (Web site pago) (Jul 31, 2020)
A memorable, provocative book that exposes an American history in which few can take pride.
adicionado por Lemeritus | editarKirkus Reviews (May 30, 2020)

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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Isabel Wilkersonautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Miles, RobinNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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no one would believe me,
And they would not believe me precisely because
they wuld know that that I said was ture.
--------James Baldwin
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who survived the caste system

and to the memory of Brett

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