Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

Shopping at an independent book store about a month ago, this book was placed in a pile of recommendations they had for me based on previous purchases. Now, I know about the Caste system in India, but to relate it to how our society in America is structured? I was skeptical and did not purchase it. Yet, something kept pulling me back to it.

It did not take long for Wilkerson to quickly change my mind. I will admit that it was probably more difficult for me to see through my own whiteness. This is an extremely relevant book for today as Wilkerson addresses current race relations and a pandemic that has clearly defined the haves and have nots, usually along the lines of race.

The comparisons of the Caste system in India to slavery and the created Caste system in America and to Nazi-era Germany is eye-opening. The presentation of the facts that Nazi-era Germany learned from the structure of the Caste system in America, especially in regards to people of color, to establish their own arguments for the dominance of the Aryan race should make us open not only our eyes but encourage us to open our mouths to be a part of the Black Lives Matter movement and ensure that all people are treated equal and not singled out for the color of their skin. The Caste system goes way beyond race and only the abolishment of it will bring everyone to a level field.

I am sure this book will be downplayed by many. It will be downplayed because it takes away their privilege, and this is the reason why we find ourselves in such upheaval today. There is the fear of losing control. If we truly want to be a democracy, as Wilkerson notes, we have to come to terms with who we are and addressing the Caste system that we so easily ignore. If the current administration were to remain in power, we will have a long way to haul and even more protests ahead of us.

By Alex Steward

I am a husband, father, and pastor within the ELCA. I did not grow up in the church and thus come at this pastoring thing with an unique perspective.

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