Caste: The Origins of Our DiscontentsCaste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The bestselling list on CBS Sunday Morning today put Caste at #3 of non-fiction books. I usually don’t end up reading things that are on those lists. But a couple of months ago during the Unitarian Universalist Zoom worship service, this book was highly praised and gently assigned as homework for the congregation. I found it on Audible and had a free credit so went for it.

Robin Miles narrates beautifully. Her voice and acting help keep the listener engaged. Even though this was one of the longest ‘reads’ I have indulged in of late. It has taken me several weeks to get through. For some books, I set the speed faster than normal and can follow a story quite well, but I loved Ms. Miles’s voice and found myself deeply involved in the caste education Isabel Wilkerson had presented so well that I left it at normal speed.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. If you feel ‘woke’ enough that you feel this will be elementary, you will find depths of information you may have not thought of. I remember as a child at church excitedly singing “Jesus Loves the Little Children, all the children of the world; Red and yellow, black or white, they are precious in His sight…” Yet hearing we couldn’t go to a certain park because the blacks were taking over. In a child’s mind, that seemed strange and I couldn’t believe that would stop us from going to the park. We lived in a very white area. There were few kids of color in school. As a kid, I didn’t think of what that meant. As a newlywed, my husband and I made friends with a mixed couple. Through them, we attended a dance and a big picnic where there were only three whites. Us. The dance was amazing until they invited me to dance. My shyness took over big-time. I can’t dance and it was obvious that our new friends were experts. The picnic was more intimate. A couple of women had beautiful cornrows. As a cosmetologist, I was fascinated with how they did that. We weren’t taught black hairstyles in my school. These gracious ladies laid down in the grass with me and showed me how to braid grass. It still amazes me that they could get the grass to stay braided. It was so short! No, I never did get good at braiding.

Anyway, I went into this book with these life experiences behind me and hearing that song worming its way through my head wondering how people have been treated so poorly by folks that claim to be Christians. I do remember learning about India’s caste system as a young adult and thought how it seemed we weren’t far from that here. But this takes all that to such depths of understanding I was wowed every night I was involved in the book.

Please if you get the chance, give this one a read.

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