Caste : the origins of our discontents / Isabel Wilkerson.

Wilkerson, Isabel, author.
New York : Random House, [2020]
xvii, 476 pages ; 25 cm
First edition.

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Caste -- United States.
Social stratification -- United States.
Social classes -- United States.
Classism -- United States.
Ethnicity -- United States.
Power (Social sciences) -- United States.
United States -- Race relations.
United States -- Ethnic relations.
United States.
Power (Social sciences).
Race relations.
Ethnic relations.
Social stratification.
Social classes.
Medical subjects:
Social Class.
Race Relations.
Book clubs (Discussion groups)
Handbooks and manuals.
"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
The man in the crowd
Part One: Toxins in the Permafrost and Heat Rising all Around
The afterlife of pathogens
The vitals of history
An old house and an infrared light
An American untouchable
An invisible program
Part Two: The Arbitrary Construction of Human Divisions
A long-running play and the emergence of caste in America
"The container we have built for you"
The measure of humanity
Through the fog of Delhi to the parallels in India and America
The Nazis and the acceleration of caste
The evil of silence
Part Three: The Eight Pillars of Caste
The foundations of caste : The origins of our discontents
Pillar number one : Divine will and the laws of nature
Pillar number two : Heritability
Pillar number three : Endogamy and the control of marriage and mating
Pillar number four : Purity versus pollution
Pillar number five : Occupational hierarchy : the jatis and the mudsill
Pillar number six : Dehumanization and stigma
Pillar number seven : Terror as enforcement, cruelty as a means of control
Pillar number eight : Inherent superiority versus inherent inferiority
Part Four: The Tentacles of Caste
Brown eyes versus blue eyes
Central miscasting
Dominant group status threat and the precarity of the highest rung
A scapegoat to bear the sins of the world
The insecure alpha and the purpose of an underdog
The intrusion of caste in everyday life
The urgent necessity of a bottom rung
Last place anxiety : packed in a flooding basement
On the early front lines of caste
Satchel Paige and the illogic of caste
Part Five: The Consequences of Caste
The euphoria of hate
The inevitable narcissism of caste
The German girl with the dark, wavy hair
The Stockholm Syndrome and the survival of the subordinate caste Shock troops on the borders of hierarchy
Cortisol, telomeres, and the lethality of caste
Part Six: Backlash
A change in the script
Turning point and the resurgence of caste
The symbols of caste
Democracy on the ballot
The price we pay for a caste system
Part Seven: Awakening
Shedding the sacred thread
The radicalization of the dominant caste
The heart is the last frontier
Epilogue: A world without caste.
"Oprah's book club, 2020"--Jacket
Includes bibliographical references (pages 443-453) and index.
Local notes:
Athenaeum copies: Beardwood Fund bookplate.
Other format:
Online version: Wilkerson, Isabel. Caste.
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