Apr. 29th, 2017

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Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in AmericaStamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is about the history of racist ideas, and how as they get challenged, new racist ideas get invented to justify the existing power structures, especially among rich white men. The more I read about the history of racism in America, the more apparent it is that you can’t understand America and modern politics without understanding the history of racism.

Kendi conceptualizes what at first seems a simplified three groups of people, segregationists, assimilationists and anti-racists. As he delves into history, though, it soon becomes apparent that different people through different times held a mix of racist, assimilationist or anti-racist ideas, and that some people’s ideas even evolved with time. I believe to truly appreciate this book one would have to sit down with a notebook and track the person and their ideas and chart it out. As this was a library book, and a new one at that so a week’s check out time, I did not have the luxury of doing so.

There were times where I felt like he was filtering more history than space allowed him to and things seemed a bit jumbled. I also wish he’d explored the roots of racism in, what I would presume to be tribalism, though he pretty much started in the 15th century Europe.

This is an important book to read and study, and highly recommended.

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