Covid and Caste

Updated 10/21/20 at 12:45 p.m. with recordings and additional links.

How does the concept of “caste” apply to the District, particularly to sometimes intersecting Black, Jewish, and white identities? In the confusion of the pandemic and the election season, how is caste working to divide us? This week’s guest is Dr. Natalie Hopkinson, associate professor of communication, culture and media at Howard University. Discussion includes the eight pillars of caste as Isabel Wilkerson outlines them in her book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent, book, and touch on some of the ways caste explains DC’s political landscape today.

Video on We Act Radio’s Facebook page

permanent link for non-FB users

Dr. Hopkinson’s “Women Behind the Million Man March” appeared in the New York Times in commemoration of the event’s 25th anniversary. The short piece focuses on Cora Master Barry, Maya Angelou, and Betty Shabazz and the challenges of Black women’s participation in what was, by definition, a patriarchal event, as well as the complex nature of Betty Shabazz’s support for the event.

Some Jewish critics, across social media and in the Jewish Journal, dismissed the actual topic of the essay and demanded Dr. Hopkinson apologize for antisemitic words of Minister Farrakhan, centering Jewish interests and, in the process, re-marginalizing the Black women who were the topic of her essay. The Jewish Journal essay raises topics that involved the New York Times rather than Dr. Hopkinson.

Additional Resources

More from Natalie Hopkinson

Make Go-Go Forever on Facebook

Dont Mute DC

Ayanna Long’s documentary, The Let Out, mentioned in the show

Leave Taking , a stage play by Winsome Pinnock, quoted briefly

Tune in Wednesdays

We Act Radio launched this program to highlight perspectives largely ignored in the early stages of the pandemic and official responses to it. We are now six months into this “temporary” project and have focused both locally and nationally, emphasizing stories and perspectives that might otherwise be overlooked.

Tune in weekly at 11 a.m. EASTERN Wednesdays via We Act Radio (audio only) or via Facebook Live Wednesday, 10/21 at 11 a.m. EASTERN.


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