This month we'll read and discuss Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. (pub 2020)
No ethnic or racial category is immune to the messaging we all receive about the hierarchy, and thus no one escapes its consequences.
When we assume that a woman is not equipped to lead the meeting or the company or the country, or that a person of color or an immigrant could not be the one in authority, is not a resident of a certain community, could not have attended a particular school or deserved to have attended a particular school, when we feel a pang of shock and resentment, a personal wounding and sense of unfairness and perhaps even shame at our discomfort upong seeing someone from a marginalized group in a job or car or house or college or appointment more prestigious than we have been led to expect, we are reflecting the efficient encoding of caste, the subconscious recognition that the person has stepped out of his or her assumed place in our society. We are responding to our embedded instructions of who should be where and who should be doing what, the breaching of the structure and boundaries that are the hallmarks of caste.
Race and caste are not the cause of and do not account for every poor outcome or unpleasant encounter. But caste becomes a factor, to whatever infinitesimal degree, in interactions and decisions across gender, ethnicity, race, immigrant status, sexual orientation, age or religion that have consequences in our everyday lives and in policies that affect our country and beyond. (Wilkerson, NYT Magazine, 1.21.21)
This title is available to pick up at the Reference Desk at the Library and can be checked out using a Merrimack Public Library card. Please visit our website to find out how to get your library card today!
Our December meeting will be conducted over Zoom. Please register to receive the meeting ID number and password.