9 episodes

Oprah Winfrey and author Isabel Wilkerson, take listeners through the 8 Pillars of Caste, featured in the Oprah’s Book Club selection "Caste: The Origins of our Discontents."

Oprah’s Book Club Oprah and Apple Books

    • Society & Culture
    • 3.5 • 2.4K Ratings

Oprah Winfrey and author Isabel Wilkerson, take listeners through the 8 Pillars of Caste, featured in the Oprah’s Book Club selection "Caste: The Origins of our Discontents."

    Caste: Pillar 8

    Caste: Pillar 8

    Part seven of Oprah’s discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson and readers of the book, Caste: The Origins of our Discontents. The penultimate episode in the eight-part series focuses on the eighth and final pillar of Caste, "Inherent Superiority Versus Inherent Inferiority” which describes how the dominant caste were conditioned to believe that one group is superior and inherently deserving of the best in a given society. Isabel also explores why the dominant cast believes those deemed lowest are deserving of their plight.  David Holt, mayor of Oklahoma City, joins Oprah, Isabel and other guests to discuss how the caste system has impacted his city. 

    • 49 min
    Caste: Pillars 6 & 7

    Caste: Pillars 6 & 7

    Part six of Oprah’s discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson and readers of the book, Caste: The Origins of our Discontents. The sixth episode in the eight-part series focuses on the sixth pillar of Caste, “Dehumanization and Stigma” and the seventh pillar, “Terror as Enforcement, Cruelty as a Means of Control.”  Isabel explains how dehumanization is the fundamental leveler that allows everything else in the caste system to occur. Plus, how terror through lynching and brutality has been and continues to be used to keep the subordinate caste in its place. Melba Patillo Beals, one of the original Little Rock Nine school children who integrated the very first high school in Arkansas in 1957, recounts the horrific details of a lynching she witnessed when she was five years old.

    • 30 min
    Caste: Pillar Five

    Caste: Pillar Five

    Part five of Oprah’s discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson and readers of the book, Caste: The Origins of our Discontents. The fifth episode in the eight-part series focuses on the fifth pillar of Caste, “Occupational Hierarchy.” Isabel explores how the subordinate caste are often relegated to menial forms of labor, which further cements their place in the bottom rung of society in the eyes of the dominant caste. We’ll hear from an executive from a major tech company, a manager who is in charge of recruiting new employees and a high school principal.

    • 36 min
    Caste: Pillar Four

    Caste: Pillar Four

    Part four of Oprah’s discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson and readers of the book, Caste: The Origins of our Discontents. The fourth episode in the eight-part series focuses on the fourth pillar of Caste, “Purity Versus Pollution.” Isabel explains how the caste system keeps groups separate for the protection of the “purity” of the dominant caste against the pollution of the “subordinate” caste. Oprah, Isabel and guests talk about the heartbreaking story of Al Bright, a nine year old Black child who was shamed when barred from sharing a pool with his little league baseball teammates 1951. We’ll hear from one of Al’s best friends who knew him at the time of the incident.

    • 51 min
    Caste: Pillar Three

    Caste: Pillar Three

    Part three of Oprah’s discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson and readers of the book, Caste: The Origins of our Discontents. The third episode in the eight-part series focuses on the third pillar of Caste, "Endogamy and the Control of Marriage and Mating." Isabel explores America’s violent history of keeping romantic relationships and family systems within the confines of a given caste as a means of control. We hear questions and an emotional story from a mixed-race couple who faced great adversity when they were married in 1966.

    • 30 min
    Caste: Pillar Two

    Caste: Pillar Two

    Part two of Oprah’s discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson and readers about the book, Caste: The Origins of our Discontents. The second episode in the eight-part series focuses on the second pillar of Caste, “Heritability”; the idea that permanent rank in society is inherited and passed down through ancestry. Special guest Academy Award winning actor Forest Whitaker joins the conversation. Oprah and Isabel respond to questions and comments from readers on the second pillar. 

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5
2.4K Ratings

2.4K Ratings

Beyekindonetoanother ,

Eye opening

I must say I do not know American history well. I was shocked and ashamed at the behavior of my fellow white Americans.
Beyond being a history book, Isabel opens our eyes to how things need to change.
I hope many will listen and learn.

Djm2516 ,

Caste

I can’t thank you enough for hosting this important conversation and for years of supporting writers and artists and historians. Thank you Isabel Wilkerson for giving us the tools to see and articulate caste as we continue the struggle.

RPHMary ,

Absolute MUST Reading

I read the book Caste before I was aware of the podcasts. I have already highly recommended the book to everybody I know, as even for a huge history buff as myself it contains knowledge and history I was totally unaware of. Plus Isabel has a way of sharing that history that makes it so engaging personal. Once I found the podcasts, I listened to all of them in about three days. The stories by the participants in the sessions reinforced and emphasized so much of what Isabel had brought forth in the book. I strongly encourage everyone to both read the book and listen to the podcasts! So much knowledge and history within both.

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