Caste Book Club Questions

Caste Book Club Questions

Our second book club selection was Caste, and our Society of Notable Women members are still digging into this very complex book.

Like I did with Untamed, our first book club selection, I thought I would bring our Caste book club questions here so other people can enjoy them as well. I found it very challenging to craft questions for this book. The material is wonderful, rich, deep, and complicated, and as a white woman, I wanted to bring an anti-racist perspective to everything as we discussed the book.

You can read the announcement for this book, why I picked it, and more about the book itself and the author right here.

Without further ado, here you go:

Caste Book Club Questions

1. Wilkerson writes about the difference between casteism and racism. A caste is a system of hierarchy in which people enjoy varying degrees of superiority or forced subjugation based on what caste someone belongs to. How have you seen or experienced the American caste system?

2. Unlike castes, class can change with marriage, money, employment, etc. How have you witnessed class changes in your own life?

3. Race is a new concept. Irish, Italians, Poles, Czechs, and more became white for the first time in America. Either knowing this or learning this, how does this affect conversations about race you have witnessed or been part of?

4. Did you study Jim Crow laws or redlining in any American history class? If yes, how old were you and what class was it? If not, how does this information inform your perspective on current events around housing, evictions, mass incarceration, and police shootings?

5. James Baldwin said: “No one was white before he/she came to America.” Discuss what this quote means to your understanding of our current caste system.

6. One of the pillars of the American caste system is heritability, and the American system determined that the caste of a person went through the mother’s lineage. This allowed slave owners to continue to rape their female slaves and allow their children to remain slaves. Know this, how is your opinion of the American mass incarceration system affected (with 7 to 1 Black men incarcerated compared to white men).

7. Was the information about the “Purity vs Pollution” pillar new to you? How does it change your perception of American community pools and private swim clubs?

8. Is the concept of “give the wall” (lower caste stepping out of the way for upper caste) new to you? How have you experienced this in your life?

9. Erich Fromm wrote about how group narcissism – membership in a larger group determines self-worth, hatred of others, and belief in one’s own self-importance – leads to fascism. How has that played out in America in the last few decades?

10. Did you know that Nazis developed their laws regarding Jews, gypsies, and other undesirables by observing and implementing American caste laws? When did you learn this?

11. Germans are ashamed of their Nazi history in a way Americans are not ashamed of slavery. Why do you think Germany was able to humanize their victims and develop laws to enforce “never again” while America still has statues of Lee and confederate flags?

12. How has the pandemic shifted how you feel about the American caste system? What was unseen for you that is now seen?

 

And that is that! Those are the book club questions we worked through while reading Caste.

Next Steps

We would always love to have you in The Society of Notable Women. Request to join today!

And we welcome you to join us for our next book club selection, Raising Antiracist Kids: The Power of Intentional Conversations About Race and Parenting by Nicole Lee.

If you want to read the book club questions provided by the publisher, you can read those here.

Untamed Book Club Questions

Untamed Book Club Questions

Our first book club selection was Untamed, and our Society of Notable Women members loved this book!

I thought I would bring our Untamed book club questions here so other people can enjoy them as well. Our members felt like they helped them think about the book in a deep way. These questions also generated a lot of conversation, as all good book club questions should do (amirite or amirite?).

You can read the announcement for this book, why I picked it, and more about the book itself and the author right here.

Without further ado, here you go:

Untamed Book Club Questions
  1. What are your own preconceived thoughts about what your life is supposed to look like?
  2. When have you personally listened to your intuition?
  3. What did it feel like in your body when you listened to your intuition?
  4. How can you continue to create opportunities for you to listen to your own body?
  5. Have you ever had a physical reaction to another person like Doyle describes from when she met Abby Wambach for the first time?
  6. Have you ever come to a decision because you gave yourself advice like Doyle does with herself around loving her husband?
  7. How have you witnessed women being martyrs for their family? This seems to be very common in the pandemic.
  8. Why do you think Doyle was able to pivot even though her audience was primarily Christian women, and she was now dating (and then marrying) a woman? (PS If you are new to the Notable Woman, this is not something that we would consider problematic, as we believe love is love. Read our community values here.)
  9. Do you practice anyway to get quiet with yourself?
  10. What beliefs have you found for yourself that you actually don’t believe?
  11. Did you already know about how/why conservatives chose social justice issues to rally their base in the 1970’s or was this new information for you? How does that change how you feel about them (if at all)?
  12. What hard things do you want to do but you are afraid of disappointment?
  13. In what ways are you becoming an anti-racist? (This is a practice we have to commit to every day.)
  14. Do you feel like you’ve ever tried to force your life into a script?

And that is that! Those are the book club questions we worked through while reading Untamed.

Next Steps

We would always love to have you in The Society of Notable Women. Request to join today!

And we welcome you to join us for our next book club selection, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson.

 

 

October Book Club Selection: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

October Book Club Selection: Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

I’m excited to announce our October pick for The Notable Woman Book Club – Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson.

I had the pleasure of meeting Isabel Wilkerson during her book tour for The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration. At the time, I was working at Riverside Church, a social justice church housed in a gothic, beautiful building in Morningside Heights in New York City. I have absolutely no idea how I heard that Wilkerson was speaking at the Church that day, and I had not yet read her book. But what I did hear about her and the event intrigued me so even though I was exhausted after a long day in the theatre, I went to the talk. Wilkerson did not disappoint. She was a delight, a wealth of knowledge, and opened my eyes to a part of US history that I did not know anything about. I’m forever changed from her talk that day, which is why her new book has me so excited.

What’s Caste about?

In this brilliant book, Isabel Wilkerson gives us a masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America as she explores, through an immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people, how America today and throughout its history has been shaped by a hidden caste system, a rigid hierarchy of human rankings.

Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people–including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others–she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.

Oh my gosh, right? You know this is going to be good.

And who is Isabel Wilkerson?

Isabel Wilkerson, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Humanities Medal, is the author of the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller The Warmth of Other Suns. Her debut work won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and was named to Time‘s 10 Best Nonfiction Books of the 2010s and The New York Times‘s list of the Best Nonfiction of All Time. She has taught at Princeton, Emory, and Boston Universities and has lectured at more than two hundred other colleges and universities across the United States and in Europe and Asia.

What are people saying about this book?

“Magnificent . . . a trailblazing work on the birth of inequality . . . Caste offers a forward-facing vision. Bursting with insight and love, this book may well help save us.”O: The Oprah Magazine

“Extraordinary . . . one of the most powerful nonfiction books I’d ever encountered . . . an instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far. . . .Caste deepens our tragic sense of American history. It reads like watching the slow passing of a long and demented cortege. . . . It’s a book that seeks to shatter a paralysis of will. It’s a book that changes the weather inside a reader.”–Dwight Garner, The New York Times

“[Caste] should be at the top of every American’s reading list.”Chicago Tribune

“Wilkerson’s book is a powerful, illuminating and heartfelt account of how hierarchy reproduces itself, as well as a call to action for the difficult work of undoing it.”The Washington Post

We’ll be discussing this book in The Society of Notable Women. You can request to join here.

I recommend you buy the book from Bookshop and support a local indie bookstore. Or you can get this book from your local library! Lastly, you could get it on Amazon.

Looking forward to chatting books with you!

The Notable Woman Book Club is here!

The Notable Woman Book Club is here!

I’m excited to announce the first pick for The Notable Woman Book Club – Untamed by Glennon Doyle.

I’ve wanted to launch a book club for Notable Women for years now. I love to read, you love to read, it’s a match made in heaven. But it was always so time-consuming on top of everything else that I wasn’t really managing. It got pushed to the side over and over again. But now, I finally do have the time, and I can’t wait to get started.

Picking our first book is also really challenging, but since this book came out during the pandemic and all the normal exciting book events have been canceled, I think it’ll be fun for us to gather to discuss. (Virtually gather, of course.)

What’s Untamed about?

There is a voice of longing inside each woman. We strive so mightily to be good: good partners, daughters, mothers, employees, and friends. We hope all this striving will make us feel alive. Instead, it leaves us feeling weary, stuck, overwhelmed, and underwhelmed. We look at our lives and wonder: Wasn’t it all supposed to be more beautiful than this? We quickly silence that question, telling ourselves to be grateful, hiding our discontent–even from ourselves.

And who is Glennon Doyle?

Glennon Doyle is the author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Love Warrior, an Oprah’s Book Club selection, as well as the New York Times bestseller Carry On, Warrior. An activist, speaker, and thought leader, she is also the founder and president of Together Rising, an all-women led nonprofit organization that has revolutionized grassroots philanthropy–raising over $20 million for women, families, and children in crisis, with a most frequent donation of just $25. Glennon was named among OWN Network’s SuperSoul 100 inaugural group as one of 100 “awakened leaders who are using their voices and talent to elevate humanity.” She lives in Florida with her wife and three children.

What are people saying about this book?

Untamed will liberate women–emotionally, spiritually, and physically. It is phenomenal.”–Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls and Eat Pray Love

“Some books shake you by the shoulder while others steal your heart. In Untamed, Glennon does both at the exact same time.”–Brené Brown

“This memoir is so packed with incredible insight about what it means to be a woman today, what it means to be ‘good, ‘ and what women will do in order to be loved. I swear I highlighted something in EVERY chapter.”–Reese Witherspoon

We’ll be discussing this book in The Society of Notable Women. You can request to join here.

I recommend you buy the book from Bookshop and support a local indie bookstore. Or you can get this book from your local library! Lastly, you could get it on Amazon.

Looking forward to chatting books with you!

You Can Learn New Skills: Adult Homeschooling

You Can Learn New Skills: Adult Homeschooling

Maybe you’ve seen posts from your friends who are working from home AND attempting to home school their kids. Heck, maybe this is you, working and homeschooling at the same time! (I hear you, me too!)

Because we’re in a pandemic meets quarantine meets shelter in place, this is a weirdly unique time in history. It’s hard to figure out what to do with ourselves when we can’t do all the things we normally do to fill our time. And if you’re like me and have finished cleaning everything, purging and organizing everything, and made it through your Netflix queue – maybe it’s time to take your time back into your own hands and do something crazy like learning new skills or homeschooling yourself! (wink, wink)

I know, I know – another Zoom meeting?!?! (it’s actually not, I promise) – but hear me out here.

You can learn new skills right now, from home!

You could learn cooking techniques, mixology, writing, music production, singing, or gardening from Masterclass right from your couch. Or maybe you want to improve some skills to take your work life up another level. You could learn new skills like digital advertising, graphic design, analytics, basic coding, data analysis, the secrets of Excel spreadsheets, and so much more from experts on Udemy. And if you’re a creative like myself, Creative Live can help you in every aspect of your creativity, from improving your photography and design skills, to dealing with those pesky “poor starving artist” money issues.

The best part is Masterclass, Udemy, and Creative Live have all been building robust learning platforms well before the masses worked from home so they have HUGE libraries of affordable courses many of which will deliver a recognized certification (or prepare you to get certified) in the most in demand skills on the market today. And unlike your son’s poor teacher, they haven’t had half a second to build out a robust learning platform. They’ve spent a lot of time and invested a lot of money into getting it right which means you have an even better online learning experience while you learn new skills.

So whether it’s for personal or professional development, you should not let this opportunity to improve at your own pace, from your own place, and at ridiculously affordable rates pass you by. What a way to make use of this curious resource you’ve been given – the gift of time.

Here are some of the stellar classes you can take to learn new skills today.

Creativity:

Anna Wintour, Creativity and Leadership

Judy Blume and Margaret Atwood, On Writing

Jodie Foster, Filmmaking

Shonda Rhimes, Screenwriting

Personal Development:

RuPaul, Self Expression & Authenticity

Fire Starter Sessions Video Workshop with Danielle LaPorte

How to be Bold, Resilient & Better Than Ever with Tabatha Coffey

How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence with Mel Robbins

Homemaking:

Alice Waters, Home Cooking

Gabriela Camara, Mexican Cooking

Lynette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana, Mixology

Upskilling:

Become Google Analytics Certified to Advance Your Career, Attract Clients & Improve Your Marketing with Daragh Walsh

Copywriting secrets – How to write copy that sells with Len Smith and Sean Kaye

Microsoft Excel for Project Management with Joseph Phillips

Building a Personal Brand with Gary Vaynerchuk

Driving Traffic to Your Online Business with Neil Patel

Robin Roberts, Effective and Authentic Communication

Changing Careers:

Social Media Marketing – Complete Certificate

Kelly Wearstler, Interior Design

Become a Design Thinking Facilitator with Lee-Sean Huang

If writing a book in quarantine is one of the things on your list, you can always check out this summit talk with publisher Alexa Bigwarfe Dalton or this Notable Woman Live with coach Chandra Brooks, where we talk about her book Black, Brown, and Political.

I’ve taken nearly all of these classes (I’m a class junkie) but right now I’m all in on the “Gangster Gardener’s” Masterclass, the one and only Ron Finley, so I can start growing my own food. Finley was cited and then had a warrant issued for his arrest for creating gardens on a curbside dirt strip. But he fought back, got the laws changed, and taught others to do the same.

I hope you find something in this list that lights you up and helps you create a new world the way you want to see it.

Let’s Start a Movement! with Joanna Novelo

Let’s Start a Movement! with Joanna Novelo

COMMUNITY STRATEGIST JOANNA NOVELO

The Notable Woman is proud to present the Super U Summit, 30 empowering women speakers over 10 days.

In this Super U Summit Talk, community strategist Joanna Novelo presents: Realizing Your Vision Via Community.

WHO’S JOANNA?

Joanna Novelo understands the power behind having an engaged community. As a community strategist, Joanna helps entrepreneurs create unique and engaging experiences for their communities so their fans turn into repeat customers. By making audiences feel seen, heard, and taken care of, Joanna helps some of the biggest names on the internet create win-win situations where community members are thrilled and businesses thrive.

TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE TALK TOPIC

We’ll talk about how creating a community can help you bring your vision to life and amplify your message.

HOW TO WATCH

Please join us by clicking on the link below, which will take you to Joanna’s video in the Society for Notable Women Facebook group. (You must join the group to see the video.)

Join The Notable Woman Book Club!

Join now and help us pick our next book and attend our group discussion once a month!

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