Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

0 score and 45 weeks ago, it was the peak of the resurgence of the BLM Movement and I was realizing how lacking my school education was regarding racism. While memoirs are my favorite subgenre of non-fiction, I was pleasantly surprised by how non-textbook-y this history book that’s not a history book was. Let’s get into it.

Image is from Amazon- Not my property

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi is a non-fiction book that dives into the makings and continuation of racism in America because it’s a lot deeper and more complex than we learned in public school. Despite its historical nature, this book is written for all audiences. It’s engaging and straight to the point, giving a good, concise overview of the history of racism starting centuries ago until the present because Lord knows, this issue has not been adequately addressed yet.

I honestly feel like this book taught me more about American history than all of high school- and I took AP US History and AP American Government.

I recommend this book if you want to get a solid base knowledge of racism. The writing is very simple and easy to follow, which I think is great because many readers may feel overwhelmed when trying to learn about racism. This is a great place to start.

Reading this book really exposed to me how everything we learn in school is so white-washed. Every “hero” we’re taught to admire from Washington to Jackson to Jefferson is actually a sh*tty racist. And yes, it is possible for these figures to have done a lot for America and also be sh*tty racists. The two are not mutually exclusive so don’t come at me.

Beyond this, the book emphasizes how this is not a history book because NEWSFLASH- RACISM IS NOT HISTORY. It is present. It is institutional, subconscious, and systemic. Whether you’re aware of it or not, it still affects American life today.

A modern case that the book discusses is Obama. The book categorizes people as 1) racists, 2) antiracists, and 3) assimilationists. The first two categories are fairly straightforward, though the book does give a more formal definition. It’s the 3rd category that stood out to me the most. This is the category Obama is placed in.

See how easy that is to understand while also communicating a nuanced, new idea that can be explored further if one desires?

This is a great book for the American teenager or anyone of any age really. The War on Drugs is a super complex topic that I’ve barely started to SLIGHTLY understand and I’m in college. Reynolds explains it in simple terms, explaining why and how drugs have become such a major factor in racial inequalities in America.

This book also has the most important thing I search for in books about racism- INTERSECTIONALITY!! While I wouldn’t behold this as the holy grail book regarding intersectionality, I appreciate how Reynolds does spend some time addressing the connections between gender, sexuality, and racism. Black women and black LGBTQ members face further prejudice and their voices are often silenced.

In the end, what sets this book apart for me is its language. Educating our youth about racism is essential and this is the type of book we need for that. I know that I’ve felt intimidated by books on racism but this is a nice way to start my antiracist journey.

Here’s a link to purchase Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, the remix of Stamped from the Beginning:

Here’s a link to purchase Stamped from the Beginning, which is the original book:

As always, thanks for reading. Feel free to comment as long as you’re respectful and subscribe for more of my mediocre thoughts šŸ™‚

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