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Caste
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents | Isabel Wilkerson
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. Beautifully written, original, and revealing, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents is an eye-opening story of people and history, and a reexamination of what lies under the surface of ordinary lives and of America life today.
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BookBosomed1
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@sprainedbrain The #bestof2021swap package you curated for me is amazing! I love it all. I‘m thrilled to have the two books; both have been on my list for awhile. You understand my love of hygge (all things cozy). It was a perfect package for me! Also, I do not have a pink tea cup in my collection so I‘m jazzed for this gift. It‘s been so fun being your swap partner this season. Thanks @candority for hosting. ❤️

monalyisha All these gifted, cozy socks are making me so happy! Hope you have an excellent New Year! ✨🎉📚 2w
BookBosomed1 @monalyisha I am a sucker for socks. I hope you have a restorative & reflective New Year! 2w
candority Caste is fantastic! Looks like a great swap package 😍 2w
sprainedbrain I‘m so glad you like it! ❤️ 2w
28 likes4 comments
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AnneCecilie
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My absolute favorite from #May and one of my favorites this year #5thbookof2021
#12Booksof2021

Andrew65 A popular choice. 3w
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Amie
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Pickpick

Informative and thought-provoking

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megnews
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The best book I read in April was a buddy read with #SheSaid. I learned so much from this book and was stunned by a lot of it. Recommended it quite a bit and couldn‘t stop talking about it.
Concrete Rose was another excellent April read.

#12Booksof2021

Andrew65 Sounds required reading. 3w
jlhammar Brilliant book. 3w
48 likes2 comments
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ICantImReading
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This book is incredible. Impeccably researched and beautifully written, it‘s both horrifying and important. I learned so much and want to continue returning to this text to process it further. It‘s very difficult to read about the atrocities humans have inflicted on one other, but it‘s necessary in order to heal from our history, understand our present, and hopefully create a better future for us all. I would recommend this to everyone.

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marleed
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Pickpick

I read this book just over a year ago and couldn‘t help but consider who I‘d be now if I‘d been taught history with a consideration of perspective bigger than white privilege. I just reread this book for an IRL bookclub, and this time I wept. In just a year‘s time I read this differently knowing that legislatures are actively working to silence that perspective.

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Purpleness
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Yahui07
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Pickpick

Like the Nazi comparison and learn something from this book. But redundancy is a problem that I could not say I love this book.
3.5 -4 stars out of 5.

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Purpleness
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Purpleness
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MayJasper Well that's done it. I have to read it now! 3mo
Purpleness @MayJasper I‘d recommend it! It‘s really interesting so far. 3mo
MayJasper @Purpleness thanks 😊 3mo
AnneCecilie I had to look up the picture and read more about the man. Going against everyone else, comes with a cost. 3mo
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LibraryCin
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Pickpick


This was interesting. I was particularly drawn in by the Nazi comparisons, and I think that‘s what I will remember the most of this book. I have to admit I unlikely to remember the list of “pillars” of the system (she did a chapter on each). I‘d like to say the first half (which included those pillars) wasn‘t as interesting, but it just depended on what she was talking about at the time. Cont in comments...

LibraryCin She has plenty of anecdotes through history, including her own. She also discusses politics, particularly the 2016 election, as well as the elections that brought Barack Obama to power. Of course, there is a lot about slavery, the Jim Crow laws, and the Confederacy, as well. She does do a really good job explaining and making the comparisons. This is – most definitely – well worth reading. 3mo
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Purpleness
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ONH
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4/5… important book, excellently supported, and a good read. The only reason I took a star off was because I had hoped it would go a little bit deeper… maybe I‘m expecting too much. This book was groundbreaking when it was published, but less-so now because so much other amazing work on race theory and institutionalized racism has followed it.

Also, she was incorrect about anthrax—it‘s a bacteria, not a virus 😊 otherwise, well-written!!

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sprainedbrain
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I finished this audiobook way back on August 12, and have been annoying those who know me ever since by pointing out the American caste system hard at work every time I see it.

Masterfully written, well-researched, infuriating book that is really just stating the obvious, but since so very many of us have been missing the obvious, this book should be required reading.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Nutmegnc “Masterfully written, well-researched, infuriating book that is really just stating the obvious, but since so very many of us have been missing the obvious, this book should be required reading.” One of the single best sentences in the history of sentences. YES. EXACTLY. 3mo
Kdgordon88 Great review! If anyone is inspired to read this book from Jenni‘s review check out @megnews page as she is hosting a buddy read starting this week breaking it down into small sections of her other book. Come read with us. 😊 (edited) 3mo
sprainedbrain @Kdgordon88 @megnews this is an excellent book to read together! 3mo
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megnews @Kdgordon88 @sprainedbrain 😊 we buddy read Caste with #SheSaid. My buddy read that starts Friday is Wilkerson‘s 3mo
kspenmoll Thanks for your review- I need to read this! 3mo
Kdgordon88 @megnews …where is my brain? I must have left it a home this weekend. I edited my comment with the correct book. Sorry everyone for my oops! 3mo
megnews @Kdgordon88 no problem! 3mo
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HPBookBug
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Fell short of my Summer reading goal 😔

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violabrain
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Pickpick

Another outstanding book from Isabel Wilkerson. An absolute must read.

LatrelWhite The BEST!!!!💕💕💕 4mo
violabrain @LatrelWhite I agree!! Both of her books are just spectacular. Anything she wants to write about, I want to read. 4mo
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Julsmarshall
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Pickpick

Wow! This book is a masterpiece! Beautifully written and expertly researched, it made me think, cry and mourn for so many lost souls. But it is ultimately hopeful and is a powerful and compelling call to action for us to all do our part-and then some-to make our world a more equal, inclusive and kind. Please read this book! Great in #audio too! #BookspinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Great progress!!! 4mo
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Litsi
Pickpick

Often redundant but worthy because it helps one understand the confluence of race and class - caste. It makes it clear that this tightly joined pair are responsible for stagnation of the American Dream.

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AlizaApp
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In this breathtaking work of non-fiction, Wilkerson compares racist systems in America to the caste systems in India and Naza Germany. A must read.

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Julsmarshall
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Megabooks Great book! 4mo
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HPBookBug
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Favourite book of the month (August) and of 2021 so far!

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HPBookBug
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Top 5 Non Fiction!

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Singout
Pickpick

Really worth reading: Wilkerson, a Black American, uses]“caste“ to describe a fixed framework, with eight elements, that racism or other oppressions, which change in time and place, can be fixed on. She mainly focuses on racism through time against Black Americans, but compares and contrasts this with the caste system in India and the genocide of Jews and other in the Holocaust.
#SheSaid April, #Bookspin July #Nonfiction2021 #AboutHistory

Riveted_Reader_Melissa I‘m glad you finally got to this one. It was an interesting read. 5mo
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!!! 5mo
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Singout

Once awakened, we have a choice. We can be born to the dominant caste but choose not to dominate; we can be born to a subordinated caste but resist the box others force upon us. And all of us can sharpen our powers of discernment to see past the external and to value the character of a person.

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Bevita
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Pickpick

Wow. I don‘t like nonfiction. This was amazing. I learned so much, don‘t even know where to begin. Page 377 (epilogue): even the longest lived of our species spends but a blink of time in the span of human history. How dare anyone cause harm to another soul, curtail their life or life‘s potential, when our lives are so short to begin with?

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QBub
Pickpick

WOW!! What an eye opening read! I grew up in a blue-collar and didn‘t even realize at the time that we were borderline poor. But still I was vaguely aware that I had it better than others. Wilkerson‘s book points out the many ways in which those in the dominant caste have privilege they aren‘t even consciously aware of. This book looks at America through the lens of caste rather than race. Now I have some serious soul searching to do.

SamAnne So good. And yes, it is eye opening. One of a few books that have shifted my understanding of out history and society. 5mo
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Singout

Benjamin Franklin, 1750: “Why should Pennsylvania, founded by the English, become a Colony of Aliens, who will shortly be so numerous as to Germanize us instead of our Anglifying them, and will never adopt our Language or Customs, any more than they can acquire our Complexion.” Good info in this book about the historical changing definition of “Whiteness” and the history of barriers against those seen as “other.”

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Singout

Virginia 1662 “All children born in this country shall be held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother.” Breaking from English legal precedent, this new law allowed enslavers to claim children of Black women, the vast majority of whom were enslaved, as their property for life, and for ensuing generations. It invited them to impregnate the women themselves, if so inclined...it converted the Black womb into a profit center.

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Singout
Pickpick

#Bookspin for August
1. Girl, Woman, Other
2. The Lion‘s Gaze
3. Lost Children Archive
4. Me & White Supremacy
5. Five Little Indians
6. Talk about Race
7. The Salt Path
8. Warlight
9. Chop Suey Nation
10. Bush Runner
11. Africville
12. Redhead by the Side of the Road
13. Death and Life of Great Cities
14. The Innocents
15. How to Pronounce Knife
16. The Mountains Sing
17. The New Jim Crow
18. Hood Feminism
19. Seven
20. H is for Hawk

TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 6mo
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DHill
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Starting this one now.

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thewallflower0707

I‘m only at 4% but I am already annoyed. The author has referred to America as the oldest democracy in the world twice so far, and in what universe is that even remotely true? If we think of democracy as every citizens having the right to vote, America is not even a democracy right now.

#caste #nonfiction #kindle

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Shakesteve
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This is a real eye-opener of a book, which redefines the centuries old system of racism and oppression in the United States as really a caste system like that found in India or Nazi Germany. Our caste system was simply determined by skin color rather than ethnicity or family name. This makes it all the more clear that accusations of “reverse racism” by white people are nonsense. “White privilege” is also obvious when put in this caste context.

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H_SQUARED
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SamAnne This was history I didn‘t know until reading this book. 7mo
H_SQUARED Me, as well. It‘s mind blowing to really look back at what we have done to other human beings. 7mo
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DieAReader
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Pickpick

#JoysofJune #Challenge2021

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

CoverToCoverGirl 👏🏻👏🏻 another one bites the dust❗️ 7mo
Andrew65 Great 👏👏👏👏 7mo
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mollyrotondo
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ An excellent account of racism and explanation of how the U.S. is built on a caste system like India and Nazi Germany. I thought her explanations of what led to the 2016 election outcome were extremely clear and helped me wrap my brain around how the last four years happened in my own backyard. This book gathered all my questions of “Why?” and “How?” and provided the answer of the sickness of systemic racism. Recommend.

SamAnne Such a great read. 7mo
mollyrotondo @SamAnne I learned so much. This is a really important book I think. 7mo
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Samary
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Pickpick

Wonderful book, I learned a lot. Highly recommend!

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JoyBlue
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Pickpick
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Jovy
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Wow! Anyone who reads this book will not be able to deny the existence of racism in America. Very compelling and tough to swallow — this should be required reading.

#Booked2021 #AntiRacismBook

Cinfhen Great review!! It‘s going in my June #BoTM box 🤓 (edited) 8mo
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AnneCecilie
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Pickpick

This book, there‘s not enough words in the world to give this book justice.

Wilkerson argues that US isn‘t a racist society, but a caste society and African Americans are the lowest caste. She compares US to India and Nazi-Germany.

I couldn‘t believe what I was reading when I read that Nazi-Germany looked to the US for inspiration and thought the US took things too far (!!!).

This should be mandatory reading for everyone.

KCofKaysville @AnneCecilie It's on my list. I am sure that is correct. 8mo
IuliaC On my list too 8mo
AnneCecilie My #BookSpin for May (technically just the first 25% was my book spin, I split the book in several parts) @TheAromaofBooks 8mo
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!!! 8mo
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AnneCecilie
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This is unbelievable

Smrloomis Agreed 8mo
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AnneCecilie
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I‘m not sure I want to know the answer to that last question.

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AnneCecilie
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I do this all the time and never thought that not everyone feel like they have the right to do so.

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Scochrane26
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Echoing what other Littens have said about this book. I‘ve been reading books about racism & bias, & all of them have taught me something. This one adds new ideas & makes so much sense. So glad I finally got around to it. @Riveted_Reader_Melissa #shesaid
“‘So the real question would be,‘ he said finally, ‘if people were given the choice between democracy and whiteness, how many would choose whiteness?‘”
A powerful quote from this morning.

Riveted_Reader_Melissa That quote grabbed me too, since between when this was written and now there has been the big election lie and the Capitol insurrection, and all that... 8mo
Scochrane26 @Riveted_Reader_Melissa I think that‘s why it grabbed me. Obviously, many people prefer whiteness. I prefer democracy. 8mo
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AnneCecilie
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This book. I have no words.

Riveted_Reader_Melissa It‘s so powerful, right! 8mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa And the fact that she won means all those white judges knew that was an eternal punishment and justifiably bad enough for him! 8mo
AnneCecilie @Riveted_Reader_Melissa It says so much. All the judges know that they wouldn‘t want to anything but white. 8mo
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Simona I constantly see reviews for this book, but that quote has convinced me that I must read it too ... 8mo
Scochrane26 I just finished this one & will most likely buy a copy when it‘s in paperback. This quote got me, too. A great book. @Simona @Riveted_Reader_Melissa @AnneCecilie 8mo
Simona @Scochrane26 I bought ebook, just because I don't have to wait for delivery🤷‍♀️ 8mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa @Simona It‘s very good, we just read it with the #SheSaid group, and so far everyone there gave it a highly recommended/positive review. 8mo
Scochrane26 @Simona Ebook may be my option, too. My physical bookshelves are out of control. 🤣 8mo
Reggie Jesus. 8mo
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BarbaraTheBibliophage
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Wilkerson makes the devastating history of caste utterly clear. Combining the U.S. system with India and Nazi Germany history is brilliant. I was especially gobsmacked by some of her real-life examples, from the historical to the personal.

Just go get this and read it!

Full review http://www.TheBibliophage.com #shesaid #booked2021 #antiracistbook #nonfictionchallenge2021 #POCauthor #thebibliophage2021

Bakingbookworm Do you think it would read well as an audiobook? 8mo
Cinfhen Great review!! You‘ve inspired me to finally pick this up/ I think I‘ll use my #BOTM credit for this one 😁 8mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Bakingbookworm I do. But I also wanted to have text to refer to later ... 8mo
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BarbaraTheBibliophage @Cinfhen It‘s really worth the time! 8mo
Riveted_Reader_Melissa Great review, some of her examples were eye opening and devastating, especially for anyone how wants to claim there is no racism in America. 8mo
BarbaraTheBibliophage @Riveted_Reader_Melissa Post-racist claims are just ignorant ... and Wilkerson (among others) proves it. 8mo
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AnneCecilie

After slavery ended, the former Confederates took power again, but now without the least material investment in the lives of the people they once had owned. They pressed down even harder to keep the lowest caste in its place. African-Americans were mutilated and hanged from poplars and sycamores and burned at the courthouse square, a lynching every three or four days in the first four decades of the twentieth century.

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MallenNC
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Pickpick

The Warmth of Other Suns is one of my favorite books so my expectations were high for this follow up. This is more sociology but equally well done. I think she does a great job of comparing the racism and inequality in the U.S. with that of Germany and India. I‘m glad I waited to read this with our #SheSaid group here on Litsy because that helped me absorb it more.

Riveted_Reader_Melissa I thought it was very powerfully done, now I have to backtrack and read 8mo
MallenNC @Riveted_Reader_Melissa I loved The Warmth of Other Suns. It‘s much longer than this one but I loved how she focused on different people‘s lives and reasons for joining the Great Migration. 8mo
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AnneCecilie

This was singularly American. “Even the Nazis did not stoop to sell souvenirs of Auschwitz,” wrote Time magazine many years later. Lynching postcards were so common a form of communication in turn-of-the-twentieth-century America that lynching scenes “became a burgeoning sub-department of the postcard industry.

Lindy I know it‘s simply a typo, but lunching postcards sounds so much better than lynching postcards. 9mo
AnneCecilie @Lindy Thank you for pointing it out. I know, I just can‘t believe this was a thing. 9mo
Lindy @AnneCecilie Yes, it‘s horrifying. 😔 9mo
Scochrane26 I didn‘t know about this until this book. It‘s so horrible. I‘ve never understood why people used to love seeing hangings/lynching/beheadings, except I guess they didn‘t have anything else to do & it was a social opportunity. I can‘t even watch that stuff in movies though. 8mo
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AnneCecilie
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Something to think about

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AnneCecilie

It is a measure of how long enslavement lasted in the United States that the year 2022 marks the first year that the United States will have been an independent nation for as long as slavery lasted on its soil. No current-day adult will be alive in the year in which African-Americans as a group will have been free for as long as they have been enslaved. That will not come until the year 2111.

Riveted_Reader_Melissa That quote really stuck me too! 9mo
Velvetfur Good lord.... 9mo
45 likes2 comments