Stamped from the beginning : the definitive history of racist ideas in America by Ibram Kendi
Winner of the National Book Award and a NY Times Best Seller, this book is a monumental text for learning more about the endemic nature of racism in our culture throughout the history of the U.S. The parts of the book are divided into “eras” by people who best illustrate those eras: Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Angela Davis. Setting the stage in this way helps to provide the historical context and to see the progression of racist policies as well as the successes and fight toward equality.
Some of the terms introduced here are the ideas of uplift suasion, assimilation, media suasion, and antiracism. Much of these ideas on racism are familiar to me, but in reality, the implementation of these ideas do not have a basis in scholarship or evidence as having helped remove racism from our midst. Part of the problem is that no matter how accomplished someone can be, the goal posts just keep getting moved (see uplift suasion: that being “respectable” and accomplished would “prove” to racists that they are wrong and will force them to change their ideas.) (Note to reader: that did not work.). Another problem is the persistence of labeling a group according to one person’s action-something done quite a bit to Black people in the discourse, but not expected of whites, who are treated individually.
Kendi provides documentation refuting the ideas that became ingrained through faulty science, and while disproved, they still persist to this day (the idea of race itself being one of them.)
This book is a dense read and heavy on history–if you like history as I do, you will love this book. It will make you think and question how much progress has truly been made in the past 400 years.
–Maria Bagshaw, Reference/Instruction Librarian