Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (National Book Award Winner) Paperback – August 15, 2017
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From the Publisher
―George Saunders, Financial Times, Best Books of 2017
"Ambitious, well-researched and worth the time of anyone who wants to understand racism."
"An altogether remarkable thesis on history, but, in ways that are both moving and immediately painful, it also reverberates with the post-election autopsy we're all conducting right now... Stamped from the Beginning is a riveting (and often rivetingly written) work, well deserving of the National Book Award."―The Stranger
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.36 pounds
- Paperback : 608 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1568585985
- ISBN-13 : 978-1568585987
- Dimensions : 5.95 x 1.8 x 9.15 inches
- Publisher : Bold Type Books; Reprint edition (August 15, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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In the same vein, Kendi notes that blacks are more likely than whites to die of prostate cancer and breast cancer, but he does not include the fact that blacks are less likely than whites to die of esophageal cancer, lung cancer, skin cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, brain cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and leukemia.
By selectively citing data that show blacks suffering more than whites, Kendi turns what should be a unifying, race-neutral battle ground––namely, humanity’s fight against deadly diseases––into another proxy battle in the War on Racism.
The entire book is filled with this kind of imaginary stuff. Unfortunately, It would require 5 whole books to debunk all the errors in this publication. - This book was nothing but a rushed political propaganda published in an election year (2016). Unfortunately it did not work and it will work even less in 2020 as Trump has unprecedented black support for a republican candidate.
Very few individuals or institutions mentioned in this book come off as completely free of racist thinking; even many abolitionists and civil rights activists are revealed to have held racist ideas that contradicted their cause. This made me realize the extent to which racism has ensnared the United States in its pernicious roots. In Stamped from the Beginning, Kendi presents two main ideas about racism that helped me understand its influence and progress over the centuries. First, he explains that “Hate and ignorance have not driven the history of racist ideas in America. Racist policies have driven the history of racist ideas in America.” The author admits, “I was taught the popular folktale of racism: that ignorant and hateful people had produced racist ideas, and that these racist people had instituted racist policies. But when I learned the motives behind the production of many of America’s most influentially racist ideas, it became quite obvious that this folktale, though sensible, was not based on a firm footing of historical evidence.” As Kendi explains further, “Racially discriminatory policies have usually sprung from economic, political, and cultural self-interests, self-interests that are constantly changing.” Now that I understand self-interest—not hate or ignorance—has been the driving factor behind racist policies, I can better understand why racism hasn’t died out with the Emancipation Proclamation or desegregation or any of the Civil Rights Acts passed in this country. Tragically, racism persists and continues to evolve according to the current self-interests of people and institutions in power. It’s why, after slavery was abolished, segregation and the Jim Crow laws rushed in to replace it, and long after segregation has been outlawed, African-Americans continue to be oppressed by disproportionate mass incarceration as well as disadvantaged by fewer, inferior housing and employment opportunities.
Second, Kendi points out that racism is not simply a debate between those who support racist ideas and those who oppose racist ideas. Throughout history, three–not two–viewpoints on racism have persisted: “A group we can call segregationists has blamed Black people themselves for the racial disparities. A group we can call antiracists has pointed to racial discrimination. A group we can call assimilationists has tried to argue for both, saying that Black people and racial discrimination were to blame for racial disparities.” As much as I would like to believe I am firmly in the antiracist camp, reading this book made me realize I have held a lot of racist ideas from an assimilationist viewpoint that I need to correct. Kendi gives many examples of well-meaning civil rights activists, including some African-Americans, who upheld assimilationist ideas. Some persisted with these ideas their entire lives, others realized their error and later self-corrected to an antiracist viewpoint, and still others upheld both antiracist and assimilationist ideas, often not realizing the contradiction. Thus, a tragic pattern that has repeated itself throughout American history is the persistence of many assimilationists in seeking to abolish racist policies and ideas with the same flawed strategies that never work.
Indeed, the African-American author admits, “Even though I am an African studies historian and have been tutored all my life in egalitarian spaces, I held racist notions of Black inferiority before researching and writing this book.” I think it’s crucially important that Kendi tells readers about his mistaken notions of race—not to make readers feel better about their own ignorance, but to demonstrate how deeply racist ideas have taken root in American culture. Hopefully this admission on the author’s part will ease readers out of their defensive mode and open their minds to the disturbing truth that racism is a lot more pervasive among us Americans than we would like to believe.
If you want to understand exactly how racism took root in the United States and why it has persisted through the present day, if you are prepared for a very sobering, very painful, and often highly disturbing look at the many flaws, hypocrisies, and atrocities in the American notions of democracy, exceptionalism, and “liberty and justice for all,” then Stamped from the Beginning is a must-read. Ultimately, what the author conveys with copious examples is that “Black Americans’ history of oppression has made Black opportunities—not Black people—inferior.” An absolutely necessary emendation to the traditionally accepted canon of American history.
Top reviews from other countries
The book was highly praised and recommended by people I trust. It did not disappoint. The book does a wonderful job of laying out the cyclical nature of civil rights progress and backlash. In many ways, what we are experiencing now, after 8 years of a black man in The White House, was inevitable. This author lays out the pattern that seems to be inescapable.
If you are interested in understanding more about why the pendulum seems to have swung so far the other way, I recommend this book.
Der selbst afroamerikanische Hochschullehrer sieht die US-Geschichte einmal konsequent aus der Perspektive des Rassismus. Das ist nicht die gewohnte Betrachtungsweise - Schwarze, ihre Versklavung bzw. Diskrimierung werden meist sonst nur kurz angetippt - und dadurch aufschlussreich.
Mit dem Finger auf "die da" in den USA zu weisen, wäre aber falsch - "Stamped from the beginning" sensibilisiert eher für den täglichen abstempelnden Rassismus hier wie dort. Und gegen andere Diskriminierungen aufgrund von Geschlecht, Orientierung, Geld, Herkunft, ... Kendis aufmerksame Hinweise auf Rassismus damals wie heute lassen sich nämlich so übertragen.
Kendi verwehrt sich dabei gegen "Segregationismus" (getrennte Entwicklung), aber auch gegen einen Assimilations-Rassismus, dass Schwarze sich einfach nur angleichen müssten/sollten. Seine "antirassistischen" Vorbilder sind die aufbegehrenden Angela Davis und De Bois, und auch deren Irrwege stellt Kendi mit dar.
Gute viereinhalb Sterne.