It is Sunday! I have finally reached the day of my first review. I call this… Book It Brunch Sunday! I just envision my visitors sitting down at Sunday brunch reading my reviews for some reason. And also it flows with the word play a little! Anyway, I hope you get something from this. If not, do not be afraid to tell me why in the comments.
The work that I chose to be the the book of the week is Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (National Book Award Winner) It is written by Ibram K. Kendi, an assistant professor of African American history at the University of Florida.
Yes, this book is a history book. It is difficult to read because like a history book you would read for educational requirements, it includes a lot of information about dates and location which may be a bore. However, it is also hard to read because of the information recieved about the thoughts and ideas that people had and developed based on theories that world travelers would record in their journals and have published. Although it is a difficult one, this is the history book that you want to read. While it does speak on slavery, that is not the main focus. The author really gets into the importance of understanding why racist ideas ever existed in the first place and how they lead to the horrific actions of racist individuals. Before this book, I had only ever thought of a racist being emerged from ignorance and hate. This book introduces a new perspective that explores racist ideas developed from world travelers who are trying to justify the growing and popular slavery market. It also explores regulations and laws put in place to justify generations and generations of slavery and segregation. Speaking of perspective, there is a portion that identifies of the three different views/arguments of racist ideas in this book, including, segregationist, assimilationist, and anti racist (One of the aspects I really appreciated about the book).
It is a real eye opener, when it is realized that famous, poets, historians, and scientist were mostly under the same umbrella of racists ideas because of these “expert” world travelers. The individuals included in the group of famous, poets, historians, and scientist, are people who grade school kids (then and now) are required to study, review, and discuss heavily in basic classes. Kids present projects about how great they are, recite poems, and perform plays written by these individuals because that is all that is learned, and all that is required to learn in school. There is no knowledge of the racist ides they held. All of the negative information learned from this book is swept under the rug in all schools across the nation.
Reading this book placed me in a very emotional and upset state during some portions of the book. It is one thing to have to read about the torture and pain that was physically done to slaves. But it is another to know what white people thought of slaves then, and think of African-Americans now. It is belittling and degrading and sick. It is terrifying!
If you want to gain additional knowledge about the influence of slavery, this is the book. It is unlikely that information shared in this book would be shared in a basic history class. It is also unlikely that information with a full insight on these ideas and how they came to be developed would be shared in a history class like it is shared while reading this book. Open your eyes through this book and understand that these ideas are far from in the past and are still in the minds of racists currently. This is the history book that should be a mandatory text in schools today. People deserve to know this information and not be blind to it, which is why applause this author for presenting the people with this amazing book.