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Tue Jul 28, 2020, 04:40 AM

Racism in America: America's 'untouchables': the silent power of the caste system

This is a long but worthwhile read as the author reviews a trip Dr. Martin Luther King took to India in 1959 which condenses and accurately describes the history of racism in America in terms that shook me today......

America's 'untouchables': the silent power of the caste system
The Guardian World News
By Isabel Wilkerson

We cannot fully understand the current upheavals, or almost any turning point in American history, without accounting for the human pyramid that is encrypted into us all: the caste system.

Link: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/28/untouchables-caste-system-us-race-martin-luther-king-india

Excerpts:
What Martin Luther King Jr, recognised about his country that day had begun long before the ancestors of our ancestors had taken their first breaths. More than a century and a half before the American Revolution, a human hierarchy had evolved on the contested soil of what would become the United States – a concept of birthright, the temptation of entitled expansion that would set in motion what has been called the world’s oldest democracy and, with it, a ranking of human value and usage.

It would twist the minds of men, as greed and self-reverence eclipsed human conscience and allowed the conquering men to take land and human bodies that they convinced themselves they had a right to. If they were to convert this wilderness and civilise it to their liking, they decided, they would need to conquer, enslave or remove the people already on it, and transport those they deemed lesser beings in order to tame and work the land to extract the wealth that lay in the rich soil and shorelines.

To justify their plans, they took pre-existing notions of their own centrality, reinforced by their self-interested interpretation of the Bible, and created a hierarchy of who could do what, who could own what, who was on top and who was on the bottom and who was in between. There emerged a ladder of humanity, global in nature, as the upper-rung people would descend from Europe, with rungs inside that designation – the English Protestants at the very top, as their guns and resources would ultimately prevail in the bloody fight for North America. Everyone else would rank in descending order, on the basis of their proximity to those deemed most superior. The ranking would continue downward until one arrived at the very bottom: African captives transported in order to build the New World and to serve the victors for all their days, one generation after the next, for 12 generations.

There developed a caste system, based upon what people looked like – an internalised ranking, unspoken, unnamed and unacknowledged by everyday citizens even as they go about their lives adhering to it and acting upon it subconsciously, to this day. Just as the studs and joists and beams that form the infrastructure of a building are not visible to those who live in it, so it is with caste. Its very invisibility is what gives it power and longevity. And though it may move in and out of consciousness, though it may flare and reassert itself in times of upheaval and recede in times of relative calm, it is an ever-present through-line in the country’s operation.


KY..........

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Reply Racism in America: America's 'untouchables': the silent power of the caste system (Original post)
KY_EnviroGuy Jul 28 OP
malaise Jul 28 #1
madaboutharry Jul 28 #2
KY_EnviroGuy Jul 28 #8
Bernardo de La Paz Jul 28 #3
KY_EnviroGuy Jul 28 #7
safeinOhio Jul 28 #4
louzke9 Jul 28 #5
Solly Mack Jul 28 #6
tblue37 Jul 28 #9

Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Tue Jul 28, 2020, 05:48 AM

1. Excellent read

Get thee to the greatest page

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Tue Jul 28, 2020, 06:53 AM

2. I recommend the book Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin.

I recently read Black Like Me. In 1959, Griffin embarked on a journey through the Deep South after having turned his skin black through a process that included medications, sun lamps, and skin dyes. He gave himself the appearance of a Black man that was so convincing that other Black people had no idea he was actually a White man. He travelled first to New Orleans and then to Mississippi. His book, is an indictment of the Jim Crow south. His experience is documented in his book published the following year in 1960.

His book will break your heart. It should be required reading in every school. The fact that it is not serves as evidence of our collective denial of America’s racist history. It is also evidence that it is easier to change laws than it is to change the way people think. That takes more work.

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Response to madaboutharry (Reply #2)

Tue Jul 28, 2020, 11:42 AM

8. Thanks for that recommendation.

Thinking of getting a copy for each of my kids. I was in my early teens during that era in the South in TN as a white boy and can easily envision what he experienced. People of my age need to read this as a reminder.


KY.........

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Tue Jul 28, 2020, 06:54 AM

3. Racism is magnified & enabled by classism everywhere, but especially in America


For example, it is used to get Republicon votes from "poor white trash" by encouraging them to look down on people of colour through Republicon terminology such as "welfare queens".

The latest reincarnation of racism is tRump "Law and Order" campaign complete with secret police assault and battery on peaceful protesters. Combine that with "all lives matter" (but masks don't) plus the attacks on "socialism" and it can be seen as a pattern of division along class and "race" lines.

Race does not exist. Racism does.

Class does not exist in the white America myth. Classism does exist in everyday practice.

For example, restricting availability of women's health services to locations that require driving to or day long bus travel is classism that has racist effects.

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #3)

Tue Jul 28, 2020, 11:19 AM

7. Yes, I agree Bernardo. Exposed to the sunlight, our entire system encourages classism...

and by extension racism. Also, instinctive or learned racism encourages classism. A lose-lose situation for POC and those born into poverty.

While reading your post, it occurred to me that our obsession with consumerism and our banking system also amplifies classism, with most everyone just having to have the latest and most shiny toys, homes, cars, boats, etc. and banks love providing the debt.

Somewhere along our path, humans left humanism and humility far behind.

KY

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Tue Jul 28, 2020, 07:15 AM

4. Those that judge a book by its cover...

Need to do a lot more reading.

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Tue Jul 28, 2020, 07:44 AM

5. It Precisely Describes....

The GOP's campaign over the decades to DEFUND social programs, cut Medicare/Medicaid, so they can give tax breaks to their wealthy donors. The GOP continually uses a caste-like system, painting the poor, the weak, the elderly, people of color as the lowly "untouchables", who are a dregs on society, leeches, moochers not worthy of receiving help from social programs. They constantly pound that idea to the public hoping the public will accept the concept that the disadvantaged are pariahs!

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Tue Jul 28, 2020, 07:53 AM

6. K&R

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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Tue Jul 28, 2020, 02:07 PM

9. K&R for visibility. nt

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