Caste Book Club Questions: Reflect With 7 Exercises

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Caste" by Isabel Wilkerson. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you need book club questions for Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson? What are some of the key concepts and ideas to discuss?

From casteism to white supremacy and racial prejudice, Caste has a wealth of discussion-worthy topics to talk about. The following Caste book club questions will help you explore its key messages by reflecting on your own place in the caste system.

Here are five Caste book club questions that tackle the key themes from its historical narrative.

Caste Book Club Questions

In Caste, Isabel Wilkerson argues that the current social and political landscapes in America derive from the infrastructure of human hierarchy developed 400 years ago when Europeans first came to this land.

This hierarchy placing whites at the top and black people at the bottom is the American caste system, and although no one alive today is responsible for starting it, we have inherited it and perpetuated it for generations.Wilkerson examines the different caste systems around the world and how they damage the lives of everyone involved, even those at the top.

These Caste book club questions will help you better understand of the societal implications of caste.

Exercise: Reflect on Your Caste

Reflect on the impact of the white-dominated caste system in the U.S. on your life.

  1. What caste are you part of? While growing up, what were you taught about your caste and other castes?
  2. What are your beliefs about the caste system in the United States today?
  3. How has your caste status affected you in key areas of your life—for instance, in your upbringing, education, your church or religion, your choice of job and your career progression, where you live, and whom you socialize with?
  4. When and how have you rejected the strictures or privileges of your caste status?

Exercise: Reject the Caste System

The caste system endures because a majority perpetuates it, either actively or unthinkingly. Reflect on your role and how you can stop participating.

  1. How did you feel overall as you read Caste: The Origins of our Discontents? What aspects evoked your strongest reaction and why?
  2. What did you learn from this book about the opposite caste from you? What can/will you do with this knowledge?
  3. What can you do to promote a caste-less society in your daily life—for example, in your workplace and profession? In your church? In social/political advocacy?
Caste Book Club Questions: Reflect With 7 Exercises

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Like what you just read? Read the rest of the world's best book summary and analysis of Isabel Wilkerson's "Caste" at Shortform.

Here's what you'll find in our full Caste summary:

  • How a racial caste system exists in America today
  • How caste systems around the world are detrimental to everyone
  • How the infrastructure of the racial hierarchy can be traced back hundreds of years

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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