book hack

Caste

Isabel Wilkerson

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

Caste unveils the hidden cultural and societal rules of the U.S. class system. It demonstrates where we are, how we got here, and how we might dismantle it forever in place of a system that promotes fairness and equality.

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Caste

Caste

by Isabel Wilkerson

Overview

Imagine you inherit an old house. You freshen it up with paint and a new roof, but soon you notice plaster cracking in the ceiling. At first you brush it off as unimportant but soon it starts to grow, so you bring in a specialist to tell you what's wrong. Stress cracks in the foundation are bending the ceilings. It's not your fault as you simply inherited the house, but because it's your home, it's now your problem. Until you address this problem, it's a hazard to everyone.

Racism in America is a lot like this. After 300 years, we can see the stress fractures all around us, in the form of income gaps, police brutality, a lack of healthcare access… The reason it's so hard to get rid of systemic racism is because the U.S. has an underlying hierarchical system.

In Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, author and journalist Isabel Wilkerson explores the hidden caste system in American society. Wilkerson shows parallels between the U.S. caste system and others, and teaches the principles that underlie them all. Through her story, you'll have a better understanding of how we got here and what still needs to be done.

Favorite quote

The price of privilege is the moral duty to act when one sees another person treated unfairly. And the least that a person in the dominant caste can do is not make the pain any worse.

- Isabel Wilkerson

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