Review: Stamped – Racism, Antiracism, and You

Review Stamped Racism Antiracism and You

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You is Jason Reynolds‘s remix of Ibram X. Kendi‘s Stamped from the Beginning. It makes Kendi’s vital 600-page history of racism in America much more accessible to a younger audience. I found it enlightening, both for the history I was unaware of, as well for casting a new perspective on the history I already knew.

From the publisher:

This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now. 
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race. 

The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited. 

Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.

Stamped defines three groups of people (assimilationists, segregationists and antiracists) and demonstrates how nearly every major political and activist figure, from the 1400s through the Obama presidency, can fit into one of the categories. It also shows how some people’s views shift over time and they move away from one category and closer to another.

Reynolds repeatedly assures readers that Stamped is not a history book, and although that’s not entirely true, he presents notable (and notorious) figures in such an entertaining fashion it keeps readers engaged.

Beyond informing readers about the past, Stamped also examines the many code words and policies that are still being used by politicians (“war on drugs,” “crack baby,” “thugs,” “welfare queen”) as racist dogwhistles.

Stamped should be used in classrooms side-by-side with traditional textbooks to view history through the lens of race. It’s very interesting and essential reading for all ages.

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