Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

The Antiracism Ministry group at Asbury highly recommends this book.  It is well written best-seller by the Pulitzer Prize winner, Isabel Wilkerson, and will challenge your assumptions about everyday life in the US.  We spent three meetings discussing several sections of it and are still affected by it months later.  It is a good introduction (or reminder) of the terminology now being used to discuss matters of race and class.

Dr. Wilkerson skillfully blends telling the stories of real people with analyzing the results of sociological and other academic studies.  She looks at US history and culture through a different lens, that of caste.  Your first reaction might be we don’t have a caste system in the US the way they do in India, but Dr. Wilkerson argues convincingly that we do and it is entangled with race and class.

Of course, race, class, and caste are all artificial systems created by people to rank and judge other people.  But Jesus made clear we are all beloved children of God and even went so far as to turn our human rankings upside down: the last shall be first, to be important you must be a servant, etc.  How then can we resist and undo these rankings?  Racism is not a binary: are we or aren’t we?  It’s a spectrum:  where are we on the spectrum?

Learning can lead to change.  Both are slow but both begin with the first few steps.  Reading this book might be just those steps for you. The Book is in Asbury’s Library in the Chapel and available to borrow.

[Written by Margot Platt with gratitude for the many ideas she included from her fellow Antiracism group members.]

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