Race, in America, is a complicated and divisive subject. How can we talk about it, if we don’t exactly know how it all came about, and where so many of the ideas we still believe today actually had their origins? When we look back at the history of enslaved people in our country, how is it that so many beliefs that were started hundreds of years ago to justify this horrific economic machine are still around, over 150 years after the abolition of the official practice?
Hopefully, you’ve heard of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, but what about W.E.B. Du Bois and Angela Davis? And did you know that the guy who played a big part in the Salem Witch Trials, also played a huge role in shaping how people who lived in the colonies viewed people who were black and the ideas about enslaving people? My guess is you didn’t, and neither did I – at least about Cotton Mather – the Salem Witch guy. Even the movies you might have grown up with helped to reinforce many of the ideas that are centuries old, and still have tremendous power to this very day.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi says it isn’t a history book, but it certainly does give you a history of how ideas and people have shaped the institutions and systems that we have in place today which keep racism alive in America.
Recommended for grades 7 and up.