Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to be posting about race-related issues with links to some great reading and viewing material. I’m not any special kind of expert on these topics. And while I have had Black, Asian, and Latinx family members related to me by blood, marriage, and co-habitation, I definitely have no idea what is like to not live with skin that gives me automatic privilege in many situations. I have never had to worry about my dad, husband, or son being shot while shopping at 7-11 or driving home from work, for example. I’m just a human being who is interested in the well being and dignity of other human beings. I am a white woman who believes that Black Lives Matter.
I’d like to start by talking about Ibram X. Kendi’s new book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.
The first thing I’d like to point out is that this book talks about racist ideas, not about racism or racists. I think this is an important distinction because, as Kendi points out in the book, no one ever sees themselves as a racist. Even slave owners did not see themselves that way. So this book covers the ideas of racism that have been prevalent in the United States over the centuries. But there have been all kinds of racist ideas that have been prevalent in American society.
Stamped from the Beginning provides an excellent purview of American History with a new lens. I promise you’ll learn things you didn’t know if you read it. If you’re not ready to dive into a book right now, this video interview that Kendi gave at the National Book Awards covers all of the major points of the book.
I’ll come back over the next week or so and start topics on some of the main ideas and themes of the book.