But I think the human question that is disturbing and hard to reckon with is what is happening in these cases after the person is down?

You can always listen again, and hear the unedited version of every show we do on the On Being podcast feed — wherever podcasts are found. You asked him what he hoped for in leaving, and he said, “I was hoping I would be able to live as a man and express myself in a manly way” — I’m getting chills — “without the fear of getting lynched at night.” And even the way it comes across — he didn’t say it — it doesn’t sound like he said it with a lot of bitterness or drama. Wilkerson: But one of the very unusual things that has happened that seems appropriate for the conversation that we’re having is that so many children or grandchildren, children primarily, of the Great Migration have come up to me and told me with a sense of healing and completion that this book was the last book that their parent read before they died. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account.

They didn’t want to draw attention to themselves. However, she completely ignores the connection of Du Bois to the Indian Freedom Struggle. And I’m just going to read it. And he didn’t — he was not emotional.

I think — you were asking about this book and how it’s moved around in the world. Partly, I think it’s an indication that the laws are necessary, but they’re not sufficient, and that we recognize that the laws can be changed if the hearts have not changed. You were born to a position in a hierarchy in a traditional caste system. There’s sociology, there’s psychology, there’s economics. I mean, I myself, of course, too, because I was doing the research, and there were so many things I was discovering. None of these facts occupy an important place in the book. Change ), You are commenting using your Google account. My hope is that through open-hearted understanding, through seeking to engage with the history, by a willingness to really look at our country—which I describe as an old house that needs constant work and reassessment and often repairs—that we seek to set right and transcend the divisions that were erected so long ago, to illuminate the walls so that we can scale them. It’s a carrier of histories, stories, truths that help make sense of human and social challenges newly visible at the heart of our life together. This is trauma, right? In writing that book, I realized the word racism was insufficient, and did not capture the entirety of the social hierarchy of oppression. Wilkerson: No, it wasn’t.

And I wanted to tell you that — I was talking about these people from other different backgrounds who feel such a connection to them, to the people. [music: “Seven League Boots” by Zoé Keating]. I think that’s what migrants often do is they take on the identity of the new place that they hope will work out for them, no guarantees, a leap of faith into the unknown. The latest boost to Wright’s wrongheaded reading of America comes from talented reporter Isabel Wilkerson. Join her on this journey by following @oprahsbookclub across social, including the brand new Oprah’s Book Club Facebook group. The scholar W.E.B Du Bois traced the origins of the system of white supremacy in the United States to the trans-atlantic slave trade. You think about those cotton fields, and those rice plantations, and those tobacco fields, and on all of those cotton fields, and tobacco plantations, and rice plantations were opera singers, and jazz musicians, and poets, and professors, defense attorneys, doctors — I mean, that’s — this is the manifestation of the desire to be free and what was lost to the country. African peoples didn’t need to identify as being Black, because that was not the primary metric of distinction between people. And yet she feels that she can judge a people, a civilization and a society that she is in no position to comprehend. Caste is a product of deep and meticulous historical detective work and a masterwork of storytelling, with the potential to forever change the way we think about inequality. When Oprah called Pulitzer Prize-winner Isabel Wilkerson to tell her that she had selected Caste to be her latest Oprah’s Book Club pick, Wilkerson was surprised—and moved by Oprah’s words. Before that, there was no concept of race as we now know it.

Wilkerson similarly has not studied the caste system in India.

Because, ultimately, what this migration was — and I think people are identifying it — is that it’s an unleashing of this pent-up creativity and genius, in many cases, of people miscast in this caste system.

When Dr. King heard that term applied to him, he was a bit peeved. ( Log Out / 

If you think about it on both sides of this caste system or this divide, there was not much incentive for anyone to talk about it. And also, I always ask this question about the religious or spiritual background of someone’s childhood.

We cannot take that in, but we can take in, every once in a while, the face of one child. Du Bois was one of the most extraordinary minds of American and global history. The third may be left aside as it is by far the weakest comparison. It’s about the caste system, the artificial hierarchy that was put in place before our great-great-great grandparents were alive. We may earn commission from the links on this page. I really believe that the solutions lie in the South. And the laws that we’ve passed that we thought were written in granite we see can be erased and are in peril if, as a collective, we do not recognize why. Something else has gone wrong. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson points this out as she reflects on her epic work of narrative nonfiction, The Warmth of Other Suns. Wilkerson claims to identify eight pillars of the caste system which are present in all of these. She wrote the epic work of narrative nonfiction, The Warmth of Other Suns, about The Great Migration of nearly six million African Americans from the south to the north of the United States in the 20th century.

And I just have gained in such — the thing is, this has been out for six years. And just when you think you’ve finished one renovation, it’s time to do something else. Tippett: Yeah. They arrived there, and he said whereas in other places he might have arrived as a tourist or a visitor, here he arrived as a kindred spirit. But in fact, where you have refugee camps where generations of people have been living, it looks like…. There was actually a tremendous amount of fear that a lot of parents in the South had for their children if they were extroverted and opinionated.

My hope is that we can see that these false walls of division were erected generations ago, centuries ago, and that none of us had anything to do with the building these barriers between us. Tippett: Well, right. Product — I mean, there are so many people — Toni Morrison, August Wilson….

It’s about freedom and how far people are willing to go to achieve it.

I’ve always lived in old houses. Wilkerson: It’s a reflection of the structures that they confronted upon arrival. Go to the doctor and they won’t begin to treat you without taking your history — and not just yours, but that of your parents and grandparents before you.

So I just wonder if the fact that you’re a child of this migration flowed into what you now might imagine as the spiritual background of your childhood. It is civilizationally distinct and permits no easy comparison with modern European society. Wilkerson: No.

So the title of the book is The Warmth of Other Suns, which comes from some lines of Richard Wright, another product of this experience, as he was about to leave Mississippi for Chicago in 1927. For her, as for the British, India has no history to speak of or worth studying.

I mean, on the one side, people don’t want to really think about the awful things going on around them.

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They may go back to your grandmother and your grandfather on both sides. It was just a matter-of-fact statement of what it was that he was up against and why he felt he had no choice but to go. She is looking through a parting of the curtains at the street circus below.

Tippett: Yeah, I mean, here’s a striking, terrible statistic that you note, that there was a lynching every four days in the early decades of the 20th century, and it’s been estimated that an African American is now killed by police every two to three days. And so that meant that — one of the great tragedies of the 20th century is that there were all of these people arriving in these big cities in the North, industrial cities, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo, all of these places, and there were people coming in from parts of Europe, Eastern and Southern Europe, for example, and there were people coming from the South, African Americans — all wanting the same thing.

Although, these were — this was the only group of Americans who had to act like immigrants in order to be recognized as citizens. So Logan describes this time as the nadir: the low-point of race relations and the life prospects, safety, and well-being of African Americans.

I was overcome by the generosity of her words. Race is only a concept that dates back four hundred or five hundred years. Because for centuries, for 246 years of enslavement — and I have to remind people — 12 generations of enslavement, 12 generations of enslavement. won the Pulitzer Prize for her work as Chicago bureau chief of, and was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Barack Obama in 2016 “for championing the stories of an unsung history.” Her book. Supporting organizations and initiatives that uphold a sacred relationship with life on Earth. And that gives you a sense of how long all of these people were miscast into an artificial hierarchy as to what they were permitted to do, or risk death if they did not do that. And so this is all setting in motion all of these forces that were making it even more difficult for people to succeed in these big places, the cities of refuge for the people of the Great Migration. At a time when imperialism and capitalism are in such deep crisis, there is no mention of mass struggle, of the changing of systems of oppression, of the creation of a radical democracy and the fight against war, racism and imperialism.

Go to the doctor and they won’t begin to treat you without taking your history — and not just yours, but that of your parents and grandparents before you. The idea of categorizing people by race grew out of the transatlantic slave trade and the arrival of different people from around the world, to what would eventually become the United States. I’m also reminded there’s a tremendous amount of new and exciting research on the — sort of the — that this is foundational, sort of in the DNA of our country, which is what this book is about too. They stayed where they were.

Tippett: Isabel Wilkerson was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2016 by President Barack Obama “for championing the stories of an unsung history.” Her book, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and has won many other accolades. When it comes to the family background, it so happens that my mother’s father was a baptist minister, and my father grew up in Virginia also in a baptist church.

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