During our antiracism groups this past year, the question of what role classism and caste play in racial inequities has come up more than a few times, and some of you have asked that we delve into this further. 

Please join Deacon Ari Wolfe in a close reading of Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.” We will take a critical look at how class has operated in the United States, the impact it has had, and where we might go from here. It is a well-researched, brutally honest and insightful book. 

A reviewer from O: The Oprah Magazine wrote, “. . . 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.”

From Amazon reviewer Chris Schluep:

“(Caste) points to our entire social structure as an unrecognized caste system. Most people see America as racist, and Wilkerson agrees that it is indeed racist. She points out that we tend to refer to slavery as a “sad, dark chapter” in America when in fact it lasted for hundreds of years—but in order to maintain a social order and an “economy whose bottom gear was torture” (as Wilkerson quotes the historian Edward Baptist), it was necessary to give blacks the lowest possible status. Whites in turn got top status. In between came the middle castes of “Asians, Latinos, indigenous people, and immigrants of African descent” to fill out the originally bipolar hierarchy. Such a caste system allowed generations of whites to live under the same assumptions of inequality—these “distorted rules of engagement”—whether their ancestors were slave owners or abolitionists. And the unspoken caste system encouraged all to accept their roles..”

We will meet for discussion via Zoom every other week on Wednesdays, April 21st through August 11th, from 2:30 - 4pm PDT, reading approximately 25 pages each week. All are invited to join, even if you are not able to attend the Zoom discussions. 

Suggested Donation $10. An email will be sent with confirmation and more details.

The Reverend Ari Wolfe, MTS The Reverend Ari Wolfe (she/her) is a deacon in the Episcopal Church, currently serving at St. Columba’s Church & Retreat House in Inverness, California. With an eclectic spiritual background, she holds a Master's degree in Theological Studies from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, with a focus in the area of Queer Theology and how congregations can better extend welcome and support to people who are LGBTQ-identified. Deacon Ari was ordained in November, 2019 at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the School for Deacons. She has three adult children and lives in El Cerrito with her husband and 3 cats. A life-long social activist, she is excited to bring conversations of racial justice and a curriculum for anti-racism to the community. For more information, please visit