Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson is Ackerman’s Community Book Club October book of the month. This book was chosen because it describes the racial hierarchy in the United States as a caste system—an unseen infrastructure that tightly holds each group in its place. With whites on top and the others in pecking order, cross-racial relationships are greatly affected. Wilkerson espouses, the US is like an “old house.” Unless we truthfully examine what keeps that old house standing and what threatens its structural integrity, we will remain divided. As trainers and therapists, we must ourselves look—do the work—if we are to help our trainees and clients engage in the collective effort needed across the spectrum of the caste system to dismantle racism. It is as Wilkerson states:
When you live in an old house, you may not want to go into the basement after a storm to see what the rains have wrought. Choose not to look, however, at your own peril. The owner of an old house knows that whatever you are ignoring will never go away. Whatever is lurking will fester whether you choose to look or not. Ignorance is no protection from the consequences of inaction. Whatever you are wishing away will gnaw at you until you gather the courage to face what you would rather not see.
Book club selection and description written by Marlene F. Watson, PhD
Photo (above) by Bruce Davidson
About Ackerman’s Community Book Club:
Ackerman’s Community Book Club is a monthly series of reading recommendations curated by our family therapy instructors. We invite you to read one book each month that explores diversity, equity, and inclusion and join us on a pathway to curiosity. The books on our list have been selected with the aim of increasing knowledge, empathy, willingness, and skill to confront xenophobia as therapists, educators, and lifelong learners, in the personal and professional spaces we occupy.