My May antiracist read was Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, by Jason Reynolds and Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. This book is the young readers adaptation of Dr. Kendi’s best-selling Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.
Here is some information about the book, from Jason Reynolds’ website:
This is NOT a history book.
This is a book about the here and now.
A book to help us better understand why we are where we are.
A book about race.
The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.
Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas–and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives. (Source)
No words from me this month. Instead, below, you’ll find resources that share the voices of the authors themselves discussing Stamped.
Nikole Hannah-Jones Talks to Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi About Their Book, “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You”
Another incredible resource is An Educator’s Guide to “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You”, which “has been created for educators and students by Dr. Sonja Cherry-Paul, senior research associate at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.”
A sample of the questions featured in the Educator’s Guide:
- Discuss each of the three positions: assimilationist, segregationist, antiracist. In what ways do people, past and present, demonstrate their imperfections by embodying ideas from one or more of these positions?
- In what ways is racism woven into the fabric of American institutions? Where do you see evidence of this today?
- Nigerian author Chinua Achebe (1930–2013) shares the following African proverb in his acclaimed novel Things Fall Apart: “Until the lions have their own historians, this history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” How does Reynolds’s truth-telling about Thomas Jefferson compare to narratives typically told about him as one of our nation’s founding fathers? How does this African proverb help shed light on why the storyteller matters when learning about events of the past and present?
- Reynolds uses the following simile to describe racism: “Freedom in America was like quicksand. It looked solid until a Black person tried to stand on it. Then it became clear, it was a sinkhole” (p. 108). He also uses the following metaphors and descriptors: “racist roadblocks,” “racist loopholes,” “potholes,” and “political and physical violence working to break the bones of Black liberation” (p. 109–110). In what ways is racism embedded in practices, policies, and laws? What parallels can you draw between the past and present ways racist roadblocks, potholes, and loopholes continue to persist?
- Reynolds names the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments each as an example of a “big deal” that is far from a “done deal” (p. 110). When it comes to racism, why must we never let our guards down?
The antiracist read I’m attempting for June is This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work, by Tiffany Jewell. If you’re interested in reading this book too, I’d love to connect and discuss with you.
(Purchase this book through Quarto Kids in the month of June, and 100% of the proceeds will go to Black Lives Matter and Color of Change.)
I try my best, but not all of my antiracist thoughts and reflections make it to the blog. Find more on Instagram.