Description

This course will examine the impact of American slavery and its corollary, embedded anti Black racism.  To start we will examine Isabel Wilkerson’s recent book, Caste: The Origins of our Discontents, as a background to understanding the endemic racism that she sees as it exists in and impacts today’s America.  In addition, we’ll consider how and why she describes the America of today and during all of its past as being defined by a rigid caste system and social hierarchy.  From this we will proceed to “how we got here,” with a mostly chronological study of how the racism created and fostered by the American slave system developed into such a dominant social, cultural, political and economic force.  This will include the pre-Civil War evolution of the slave system and the post-Civil war creation of Jim Crow law and its racist doctrine of segregation and domination.  Finally, we’ll describe how this history has led to today’s profound problems with racism which follow in a direct line from the history described.