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Today we continue our Fall book study with the second of four video podcast episodes where Rev. Neusom and Rev. Ana will be discussing the book “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson.

If you haven’t seen our week 1 episode, you can tune in here. We’ve also prepared a study guide that you can download here. Don’t forget to join us next Thursday for the Virtual Book Study group with Rev. Neusom Holmes.


Caste – The Origin of Our Discontent:  Week Two

Let’s start with a definition of Caste.  It is a fixed ranking of human value to pursue supremacy of one group against the inferiority or presumed inferiority of other groups on the basis of ancestry and traits, neutral in the abstract, but with meaning in a hierarchy favoring the dominant caste.

Caste is about power.  The system stigmatizes those deemed inferior to justify the dehumanization necessary to keep the lowest ranked people at the bottom and rationalizes the enforcement of the caste system.

Race in the United States is the visible agent of the unseen force of caste.  Caste is the bones and race is the skin.  Physical traits have been given meaning and judgements are made based solely on them.  Caste is the powerful infrastructure that holds each group in its place.  What lies beneath each label of race is centuries of assigning assumptions and values to physical features in a structure of human hierarchy.  

It’s tricky because people of the highest caste, white people in America, can say “I don’t see race” or “I’m not racist” but still enjoy the privileges of the caste system.  The term Racism puts the emphasis on our emotional state but Caste tells the larger story of the systemic privilege for those of the higher caste.  Privileges of the upper caste include physical safety, learning opportunities, job opportunities, economic opportunities, positive assumptions being made about their character, and countless others.

The caste system dominates our overall experience in life, even though personal relationships don’t always follow the caste system.

There are several ideals that have upheld this caste system in America:

  • Divine will and the natural order – the Bible was used to justify originating the caste system.
  • Not allowing people of different castes to intermarry or have relationships – laws were on the books in the U.S. against interracial marriage until 1967.
  • Purity and pollution – the upper caste is pure and the lower caste is polluted.  They do not not shake hands, swim in the same pool, or drink from the same water fountain. 

In our current time in history, videos are exposing the dominance and terrorization inherent in the caste system whether it be police shootings of unarmed black men or a woman in Central Park terrified of a black man bird watching.

We can share the same last name, same level of education, same place of birth, same religious upbringing, and still identify as a different caste by the visual characteristic of skin color and physical traits.

In Unity, we like to say that we have access to Divine Mind, but we also have access to the Collective Unconscious.  Sometimes that collective unconscious provides wisdom and sometimes it provides harmful attitudes and emotions.  Once a caste system has been held in place for a long time, it begins to bubble up unconsciously.

It will take enormous effort to transform ourselves and break this unconscionable cycle of caste in America.  We can do our part by examining ourselves, our beliefs and actions, and making a conscious effort to transform them to be more equitable.  But it will take some time to transform the collective unconscious.

In the words of Marianne Williamson, “May judgement of others, bigotry, racism, and intolerance be washed clean from our hearts.  May God’s unconditional love and acceptance allow us to accept everybody.  May our lives be turned into instruments of resurrection that the sins of our fathers might be reversed through us”.

Can’t watch the video but want to listen in? Tune in to the audio version of today’s dialogue.

Today we are starting our Fall book study with the first of four video podcast episodes where Rev. Neusom and Rev. Ana will be discussing the book “Caste” by Isabel Wilkerson.

To get you started, download your book study guide, and tune in to today’s dialogue in video format (shown above) or audio format (below at the end of this post).
Download your Study Guide Here


The death of George Floyd, and the many others before and after him, has uncovered for a lot of us what we knew existed, but didn’t understand the scope or depth of.  There is a segment of our population that for over four hundred years has gone through, and continues to go through, unfair and unprovoked deprivation of their rights. 

People are treated differently than others in America because of the caste system in our country.  This caste system, first by law and now by social custom, places people of African descent among the lowest caste, not much different from the caste system in India where the Dalits are of the lowest caste.  

In the movie The Matrix, artificial intelligence takes over humanity with a program called the matrix and people didn’t even realize they were trapped.  One character started to wake up to the idea that his reality wasn’t actually reality.  He was courageous enough to take the red pill in order to wake up to the truth of life, as unpleasant as it may be.  This is somewhat like Unity’s idea of waking up to a reality other than what we may have been taught or experienced.  And not so different than us choosing to wake up and acknowledge the complexity of the program American has been running on for centuries.

The word “racism” has a lot of shame associated with it which can sometimes lead us to not want to have a conversation about it, much less concede to its current prevalence.  The book Caste explains America’s system in terms of a hierarchy rather than race which allows a bit of room for examination.  It educates us without invoking shame and embarrassment by showing us that this system has groomed us to believe in the caste structure.  It’s almost understandable that we would each take our place within it without question.  

But with our eyes open to seeing this system’s cruel and discriminatory nature, we can choose to change our thoughts and behaviors to help raise up all people to be treated with the worth and dignity they deserve.  We can ask ourselves “What beliefs do I hold that I have not seen before and are ready to be dissolved?”.  We hope to gain a deeper understanding of what others experience, have compassion for them, and to be willing to step up and be their companion and ally.

For members of the highest caste, the ego takes hold and wants to keep the caste system in place because it affords power, money, status, and privileges.  Unity’s second principle says that as humans, we have the divine essence of God within us.  Giving in to our ego rather than honoring this divinity within others leads us away from Truth.

We are all divine beings, one with the Presence and with each other, and we have the ability to progress in our consciousness, raise our vibration, and create a better and more equitable world for us all.

Join us next Friday as we delve deeper into Caste – The Origins of Our Discontents.

Can’t watch the video but want to listen in? Tune in to the audio version of today’s dialogue.

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