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

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

af Isabel Wilkerson (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,928976,588 (4.43)120
Titel:Caste (Oprah's Book Club): The Origins of Our Discontents
Forfattere:Isabel Wilkerson (Forfatter)
Info:Random House (2020), Edition: First Edition, 496 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek

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Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents af Isabel Wilkerson


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Viser 1-5 af 96 (næste | vis alle)
This is a brilliant book, describing caste as the predominant way that our system of government and life with a hierarchy of human rankings, like those in India and Nazi Germany. I thought I knew what it would be about, but I was sorely mistaken. I’ll be donating this book to the library. Highly recommend to anyone who seriously thinks about our society for for what it truly is. – Reviewed by Mona

Favorite Quote: Describing a photo of a man in Nazi Germany, not saluting Hitler: “…unless people are willing to transcend their fears, endure discomfort and derision, suffer the scorn of loved ones and neighbors and co-workers and friends, fall into disfavor of perhaps everyone they know, face exclusion and even banishment, it would be numerically impossible, humanly impossible, for everyone to be that man. What would it take to he him in any era? What would it take to be him now?” ( )
  GalsGuidetotheGalaxy | Oct 14, 2021 |
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson is an utterly fascinating look at race relations in the United States. The arguments Ms. Wilkerson has to make about racism not being a result of skin color but rather from a caste system are more than compelling. Her comparisons between the US and India and Nazi Germany are as chilling as they are interesting.

She presents her findings not just as a journalist but also as someone well experienced as one of the lower caste members. In fact, every one of her arguments comes with real-life stories proving her point, and she tells these stories in a way that makes you feel as if you are there, watching the scenes unfold before your eyes. As such, some of these stories are more than a little disturbing. There were several points within the book that I had to stop and let the book sit for a while if only to let my stomach and mind settle after the intimate look at mankind’s cruelty to each other. She also includes many anecdotes taken from her own life, which serve to drive home this idea that we live in a caste society, of which Blacks and indigenous peoples are America’s Untouchables.

I don’t normally talk with others about books I am reading, mostly because what I read would not interest most of the people I know. However, I could not stop talking about Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent with others. Its ideas are so profound and so interesting that I want others to read the book and learn as much as I did. Ms. Wilkerson opened my eyes to the idea that the turmoil our country is in is not an increase in racism but rather a power struggle among castes, wherein the upper caste is doing everything possible to maintain the status quo in spite of changing demographics that will eventually put the upper caste among the minority population. I cannot recommend Caste enough. ( )
  jmchshannon | Oct 9, 2021 |
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 |
Viser 1-5 af 96 (næste | vis alle)
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.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerNew York Times, Dwight Garner (pay site) (Jul 31, 2020)
A memorable, provocative book that exposes an American history in which few can take pride.
tilføjet af Lemeritus | RedigerKirkus Reviews (May 30, 2020)

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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Isabel Wilkersonprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Miles, RobinFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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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
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To the memory of my parents

who survived the caste system

and to the memory of Brett

who defied it
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Hitler had made it to the chancellery in a brokered deal that conservative elites agreed to only because they were convinced they could hold him in check and make use of him for their own political aims. They underestimated his cunning and overestimated his base of support, which had been the very reasson the had felt they needed him in the first place. At the height of their power at the polls, the Nazis never pulled the majority they coveted and drew only 38 percent of the vote in the country's last free and fair elections at the onset of their twelve-year reign. The old guard did not foresee, or chose not to see, that his actual mission was "to exploit the methods of democracy to destroy democracy." (p 82)
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