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Stamped from the Beginning | August Reads

 


This book has been on my shelves since last year but I always felt extremely intimidated by it; not just in terms of size but also in regards to the writing. Heavy academic non-fiction is always the hardest to pick up in my case. However I decided to join the readathon going on during june and july. It took me two months to read it completely but it is one of the best books I've read this year, one that I will go back to: to my notes and the pages and pages of highlighted paragraphs. There is not a single page that remains untouched. And it was a tough reading experience for sure. I thought I knew about racism in American and turns out I knew some things but not enough, or I didn't know the whole picture. A fitting example is Lincoln and the Civil War. We studied it at school but I can tell you, not in the right way. It was all simplified. North vs South. Good vs Evil. Lincoln and the North fighting to end slavery and free the enslaved. And one can say: well, he indeed accomplished to abolish slavery. Yes, he did. But not for the right reasons. Not because he cared, but because it was in his own self-interests to do so. We are not taught that after the war, the whole idea was to send Black people back to Africa or the Caribbean. And he is just one example of the many exposed throughout the book.

However, probably, the most valuable lesson I took from reading this book is realising that what Kendi explains in this book can be applied to Europe. Not just when the slave trade was starting and Europe was benefitting from it, but now, at present. We have also soaked up the endless studies "showing" how whites are superior to any other race, we also say "you have accomplish so much... for a Black person" (along its many variations) and many believe that Black equals crime, among many other issues. Unfortunately, it is not just white people buying racist ideas. Black, Native American, Asian... we can all buy racist ideas from different reasons. That is way being anti-racist and constantly defying certain beliefs is the only way forward. Stamped from the Beginning should be mandatory for everybody, not just for people in America.

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