Stamped From the Beginning

Stamped From the Beginning

The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
5
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"A comprehensive history of anti-black racism focuses on the lives of five major players in American history, including Cotton Mather and Thomas Jefferson, and highlights the debates that took place between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists"-- NoveList.
"Americans like to insist that we are living in a postracial, color-blind society. In fact, racist thought is alive and well; it has simply become more sophisticated and more insidious. And as award-winning historian Ibram X. Kendi argues in Stamped from the Beginning, racist ideas in this country have a long and lingering history, one in which nearly every great American thinker is complicit. In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the lives of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists. From Puritan minister Cotton Mather to Thomas Jefferson, from fiery abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to brilliant scholar W. E. B. Du Bois to legendary anti-prison activist Angela Davis, Kendi shows how and why some of our leading proslavery and pro-civil rights thinkers have challenged or helped cement racist ideas in America. As Kendi provocatively illustrates, racist thinking did not arise from ignorance or hatred. Racist ideas were created and popularized in an effort to defend deeply entrenched discriminatory policies and to rationalize the nation's racial inequities in everything from wealth to health. While racist ideas are easily produced and easily consumed, they can also be discredited. In shedding much-needed light on the murky history of racist ideas, Stamped from the Beginning offers us the tools we need to expose them--and in the process, gives us reason to hope." -- Publisher's description.
Publisher: New York :, Nation Books,, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781568584638
1568584636
9781568585987
Characteristics: viii, 582 pages ; 25 cm

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j
JessRB
Jul 26, 2017

Would have easily been a 4 (because of all the research that the author put into it; it's really impressive), if the author hadn't included as much of his own conjecture about past events (often to fill in details to make the scene more vivid; sometimes to say that the critics of a book were more people who hadn't read the book, etc.). At the very end of the book, he talks about how he was trying to make a history book that was more accessible to normal people (i.e. not just historians), and I'm wondering if this is why he did so.

l
legadillo
Jan 19, 2017

Excellent up until Angela Davis. Really loved the chapters on Cotton Mather, Jefferson, didn't know a thing about Garrison, and Du Bois, and I didn't know much about Angela Davis, either, but she seemed kind of peripheral to his point. I read only half of her chapter. But the rest of the book is fascinating.

b
bradallen
Nov 05, 2016

Dr. Kendi's book is a brilliant distillation of racist ideas in America. Impeccably researched and thoroughly readable, Kendi starts at the beginning (even bringing in Aristotle!) and describes the development and evolution of racist ideas from the precolonial era up to current times. This is historical writing and research at its best. Truly deserved of being a National Book Award finalist. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

LPL_ShirleyB Sep 24, 2016

"HEAVILY RESEARCHED YET READABLE" —Booklist

v
voisjoe1_0
Jun 27, 2016

In the 1960’s, the Democrats passed the Civil Rights bills (Blacks allowed in public accommodations and allowed to vote in the southern states). Using white resentment, Nixon/Agnew implemented the Southern Strategy, which turned the South Republican. The strategy also convinced northern whites that the Republicans would keep Blacks out of white schools, out of many factories and businesses, and out of white neighborhoods. This book is described as “the Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.” These ideas basically brainwashed ignorant whites to believe that Blacks were not actually of the same species as whites, but closer to the species of apes. These ideas were not extinguished by the Founding Fathers as Tea Party Michelle Bachmann suggested but actually promoted by American whites from 1619 until today. Even in late 20th century, Charles Murray wrote “The Bell Curve,” which promoted the idea that Blacks were in last place in American society, not because of 450 years of white exploitation and discrimination, but because of inferior genes. The book is sickening, but hopefully a few Whites will begin to face the truth. It will be interesting to see if a new paperback edition comments on the alt-right white supremacy/anti-Semitic anti-Muslim ideology of the new Trump presidency.

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