Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Diversity and Inclusion Collection: CASTE: Resources on Racism

an open library collection to spark critical conversation

Introduction

Caste

Caste : the origins of our discontents 

by Isabel Wilkerson

 

Summary: ""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 book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a 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 rankings. Beyond 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 more. 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 requires 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 humanity"-- Provided by the publisher.

 

View an Interview with Dr. Jasmine Parker about this book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaMo4nO4aeg&feature=youtu.be

 

 

Find this book in our catalog (requires a OnePass login)

: https://catalog.berklee.edu:2443/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=cat04184a&AN=bcat.180347&site=eds-live

Additional Reading on Topics Covered in CASTE

Understanding Racism, Race, and Privilege  To begin or continue a journey of understanding about whiteness and white supremacy in America, please read:

 

The Intersection of Caste and Racism: To learn more about institutional racism, the history of Black Americans, and police brutality, please read and/or watch: 

 

Narratives of Black Resilience:  To learn more about viewpoints and perspectives of Black Americans, please read: