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Read Isabel Wilkerson & Caste with the Authors Guild Banned Books Club

Isabel Wilkerson on Fable
Isabel Wilkerson's book, "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents," is an important read for anyone interested in understanding the history and consequences of the rigid social hierarchy that has shaped so much of human history. You can read "Caste" with exclusive commentary from Wilkerson inside one of Fable's most engaging free clubs.
Read Caste by Isabel Wilkerson with the free Authors Guild Banned Books Club!

Why was Isabel Wilkerson's Caste banned?

By examining caste systems in India, Germany, and the United States, Wilkerson exposes the lingering effects of system racism in our modern world. "Caste" has been banned around the country by people afraid of the uncomfortable truths exposed in the book. Book-banning efforts have been mounted around the country, but Wilkerson highlighted one county in Texas where a library board shut down the libraries in that county. And then, when they reopened, “Caste” was one of the books that had “mysteriously vanished,” she explained.The Washington Post wrote more about those efforts:

"A movement that started in schools has rapidly expanded to public libraries, accounting for 37 percent of book challenges last year, according to the American Library Association. Conservative activists in several states, including Texas, Montana and Louisiana have joined forces with like-minded officials to dissolve libraries’ governing bodies, rewrite or delete censorship protections, and remove books outside of official challenge procedures."

Why reading banned books matters

It's important for us to remind ourselves why "Caste" is so important and why we should resist these attempts to censor it. In her Authors Guild Banned Books Club commentary, Wilkerson shared more about her ground-breaking book:"I pictured myself as a building inspector looking at this old house that we call our country," explained Wilkerson in her commentary for the Authors Guild Banned Books Club.

"My book is the kind of report the building inspector hands to you, the owner of the house. As someone who's just taken possession of the house, inherited the house, or taken over the house, you need to know what is going on in the foundation, the plumbing system, the electrical system, and the roof."

According to the award-winning author, efforts to ban or challenge "Caste" reflect our general unwillingness to reckon with our country's past. But she also explained that it is very dangerous to ignore the profound structural problems lurking at the heart of our country's foundation.

"This book, in some ways, is an X-ray of our country's infrastructure and how we got to where we are. It's a building inspector’s report, and some people may not want to look at it. People might have trepidations about looking at that report, preferring not to know. People may not want to go into the basement after rain. But if you don't go into the basement after rain, that doesn’t mean that you won’t have to deal with whatever is going on in the basement!"

Confronting ignorance

"Caste" is a powerful and thought-provoking work of non-fiction that explores the deeply ingrained system of discrimination and hierarchy that has existed in many societies throughout history. Wilkerson's research and writing is meticulous, and she presents her arguments in a way that is both compelling and accessible.One of the key reasons why "Caste" is so important is that it helps us to understand and confront the ways in which discrimination and inequality continue to shape our world today. By shining a light on the ways in which the systems of caste operate, Wilkerson helps us to see "Ignorance is no protection from the consequences of one's inaction," Wilkerson concluded. "We can try to ban all we wish, and we can try to ignore all we may want, but that doesn’t mean we do not have to deal with the consequences of that which we choose not to look at.""Caste" challenges us to confront our own biases and prejudices, and to consider how we can work to overcome them. By reading this book, we can gain a deeper understanding of the ways systemic discrimination and inequality continue to hold us back and prevent us from achieving true equality.

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