A new book, “Caste”, by Isabel Wilkerson seems to redefine the race situation in America. Wilkerson came into prominence recently with her Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Warmth of Other Suns”. She appears to have discovered Caste in exploring research for “The Warmth of Other Suns” that we are a country best defined as Castes, like the people of India and Germany, during World War II.
The Warmth of Other Suns tells about the end of slavery and the Great Migration of blacks out of the South. A highlight of the book occurs when Dr. Martin Luther King was introduced as “an untouchable”, even though he had received The Nobel Peace Prize. The reference shocked King. On reflection, he realized that he was one of 20, million untouchables consigned to the lowest class of people. She writes, “We were still smothering in an airtight cage of poverty, quarantined in isolated ghettoes, exiled in our own country.
Wilkerson’s writing prowess is on display as she equates Slavery as an old house which the slaver built on land he took, by bodies, and convinced himself he had a right, if he could convince them he could take the land and conquer, and remove the people already on it, and convert the wilderness, and civilize them to do what he wanted, and own what he wanted, in a hierarchy with them on top, and blacks on the bottom, and some in the middle.
The Plan was that the African captives were transported to a new world to build it and serve its captors the rest of their lives, from one generation to another, making them a Caste of the lowest class. The book goes to define the situation as classifying the lowest of white men as more than the highest black men, as long as the black man identifies and stays in his place.
The guy in the White House wants to get back to those times. He makes it clear when he says, “Make America great again”. It is not clear what he means when he says that. What does again mean? This guy controls a lot, but so did Bull Connor. So did George Wallace. So did the Klan, and they were all overcome by people of the Caste. It’s a sad story to let the people know you are so desperate that you would call in the police, the Post Master General, and the various Government officials. But this is not Russia, and even members of his family are not on his side.
The Republican convention is happening this week, as of this writing. Their speakers are a couple in St. Louis who brandished a pistol and a massive long gun at Black Lives Matter protestors, protesting the police killings of George Floyd and Breona Taylor, as they passed by on the street in front of their house. I guess this is the Republican way of saying peaceful protests cannot be tolerated in certain neighborhoods in a Republican administration.
This period feels like the sixties. We have watched and learned from John Lewis and Dr. Martin Luther King, and the whole cabal of the Civil Rights movement. With the addition of the George Floyd protestors, the Black Lives Matter and the new diverse spirit of the movement, the victory shall be ours. The guy in the White House doesn’t even know how times have changed, to the point that he can’t win, even though we may be “untouchables” in the Caste.