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Caste : the origins of our discontents

Wilkerson, Isabel, author.
Caste : the origins of our discontents / Isabel Wilkerson.
New York : Random House, [2020] ©2020
1 online resource (xvii, 477 pages)
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Includes bibliographical references.
  • The man in the crowd
  • Part one: Toxins in the permafrost and heat rising all around. The afterlife of pathogens ; An old house and an infrared light ; An American untouchable
  • Part two: The arbitrary construction of human divisions. A long-running play and 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 ; 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. Central miscasting ; Dominant group status threat and the precarity of the highest rung ; A scapegoat to beat 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 heart is the last frontier
  • Epilogue: A world without caste.
"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 brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful 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. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of America life today"-- Provided by publisher.
Subject headings
Caste--United States. Social stratification--United States. Ethnicity--United States. Power (Social sciences)--United States. United States--Race relations.
9780593230268 electronic book 0593230264 electronic book 9780593230251 hardcover


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