How does the class system in the U.S. resemble and differ from a caste system?
While the antecedents of class -- less a system than an outcome of circumstances -- created conditions that some might categorize as similar to a caste system, the two are vastly different. The continuing existence of ethnic minority underclasses can be directly linked to histories of slavery and institutionalized racism, such as existed in the United States for almost two hundred years. In that respect, the distinction between class and caste can be blurred. The crucial difference, however, lies in the extent to which a caste system institutionalizes class...
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