The Resilient Activist JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Book Club
Are you interested in learning more about justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI) in America with a group of like-minded and open-hearted people?
Do you enjoy reading and discussing books that expand your understanding of yourself and the world?
For the January 2023 JEDI Book Club, we will be reading Caste, The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson.
Below is a summary of the book from Goodreads:
The Pulitzer Prize–winning, bestselling author of The Warmth of Other Suns examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.
“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.
Please feel welcome to attend, even if you missed earlier meetings. This is an open group, and we understand that our lives are busy and not everyone will be able to attend each month!
The JEDI Book Club is facilitated by Resilient Activists Brenda Bennett-Pike and Anne Melia. We hope you will join us!