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Book Discussion: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson (via Zoom)

January 31, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm

Book Discussion - Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Join via Zoom: https://bit.ly/33RJytm


Join Hannah Chismar for a discussion of Pulitzer Prize winning author Isabel Wilkerson's new book Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. The New York Times Book Review says, “Caste will spur readers to think and to feel in equal measure.” The Washington Post adds, “Wilkerson’s book is a powerful, illuminating and heartfelt account of how hierarchy reproduces itself, as well as a call to action for the difficult work of undoing it.” 

Topics for Discussion:

Having read the book, what’s your definition of the caste system in America? What are some words you’d use to describe it?

Caste and race are not the same thing. What is the difference between the two? How do casteism and racism support each other?

What’s the difference between caste & class?

Did learning about the lens and language of caste change the way you look at U.S. history and society? How?

Wilkerson frequently uses her own experience as an African-American woman to illustrate her points regarding caste. Which story resonated the most with you?

It is a widely held convention that working-class white Americans may often “act against their own interests” by opposing policies designed to help the working class. Discuss how the logic of caste disproves this concept and redefines that same choice from the perspective of maintaining group dominance.

How does the caste system take people who would otherwise be allies and turn them against one other?

What are some of the steps that society, and each of us, can take toward dismantling the caste system?

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