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February 2, 2021 52 min

Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Isabel Wilkerson talks to Alec about her best-selling book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Wilkerson says America’s caste system began in 1619, when enslaved people first arrived in the Jamestown colony. Drawing comparisons between India’s millennia-long caste system and the Nazis’ subjugation of Jews in WWII, Wilkerson says white Americans developed a caste system to justify centuries of violence and discrimination against African-Americans. Wilkerson says we must understand our full history and the caste system today to become a more equitable nation. Alec then follows up on the question of reparations with William Darity, a Duke University professor of economics and co-author of From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century. Darity says the U.S. government owes $10 - $12 trillion in reparations to the approximately 40 million descendants of enslaved people. Darity says reparations are essential to close the persistent wealth gap between white and Black households.

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