Saturday, October 3, 2020

Book discussion, Caste, Topic 2, The metaphors


Topic two
The metaphors

In part one of her book, Caste, Isabel Wilkerson introduces some interesting metaphors to elucidate the concept of “caste.” In the first chapter she uses a geological metaphor of toxins being released from melting permafrost. In chapter two she uses the architectural metaphor of an old house which, in its aging, manifests structural faults. In chapter three she discusses the concept of race which erantly is based on a concept of fundamental biological differences when there are none. She ends part one with a comparison of caste to the movie the Matrix in which the characters are programmed by a social construction outside their consciousness.

Caste systems, for the most part, operate in societies at an unconscious level. These systems are the “puppet master” as Wlikerson names it which allow the dominant class to maintain their power. Nowadays we call it “privilege.” Continuing with the reference to The Matrix, the characters in the film are offered the option of taking the red pill which would make them aware of the program manipulating them or the blue pill allowing them to continue in blissful ignorance.

Questions:
  1. To what extent do Wilkerson’s metaphors for caste resonate with you?
  2. Would you take the red pill or the blue pill?
  3. How is caste different from race and how do they interact?

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