Dinner Table Talks create the opportunity for families to have important conversations centered around books. These discussions will build our capacity for talking about race and define our roles in fighting against both every day and systemic racism.
In 2020, Jason Reynolds collaborated with author, activist, and professor Ibram X. Kendi to create a remix of Kendi’s book Stamped from the Beginning, which follows the history of racism in America. Reynolds’s Stamped, written for a younger audience, explains the many ways people have attempted to justify racism by appealing to science, religion, and nature. By tracing the origins of racist ideologies, Reynolds reveals the self-interested motivations and faulty logic behind these ideas. The book also explores the impact of people who influenced America’s views on race, such as Thomas Jefferson, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Angela Davis. Written in an accessible and compelling style, this book connects historical events to issues we face today.
Recommended by Hartley Middleton | Teen Center Customer Service Specialist
Authors Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds discuss how and why they joined forces to write Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You.
Guidelines for Discussion
Be open and honest--even when it's hard.
Understand your own prejudice and bias.
Embrace other cultures or races by reading books, watching movies and going to community events.
Celebrate yourself and your own cultural identity.
Don't shy away from conversations about race. Talking is how you build capacity for anti-racism.
Acknowledge your mistakes and learn from them.
It's okay not to know the answer. Look for it together.
Why do you think the word "race" has become such a hot button word in today's society?
Do you engage in conversations about race with your friends or family?
What were you surprised to learn after reading this book?
"This is not a history book...." What do you think that statement means now that you've read Stamped? Is it just a different kind of history book? Is it different because of who is telling the history? Or is it not really history at all? (Stamped: This is Not a History Book)
What key person, important to American history, did you learn about through reading Stamped? Why did this person stand out to you? Why don't you think you learned about this person in school? (Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and Teens)
Have you ever been taught a historical "fact" in school and discovered later that fact was either a half truth or a lie. Would you be able to share what that "fact" was and how you might have learned the truth?
Jason Reynolds' reading life was changed when he read, Richard Wright's memoir Black Boy. Have you read a book and felt like the character was a mirror--not exactly like you but someone who resembled you, maybe someone that would be in your class? Would you be able to share the title of that book?
Do you think there is a desire for people to assimilate into Black culture?Does this assimilation lead to the Black community possibly feeling like they can’t have anything of their own?
Racism is so embedded in our lives that even everyday expressions associate Blackness with negativity. Examples include words like black sheep, blackballing, blacklisting, and black mark. Other words include minority, ghetto, and inner city. What are more words? What can we do about this?
Have you encountered an example in media or social media where a character/movie or celebrity appropriated another culture? Can you share the name of character/movie or celebrity in the chat? (Stamped: The Media's Role in Racism)
Can someone define culture vultures?
Can anyone provide any examples?
After reading this book, what are you inspired to do? What actions can you take to make your school and community more anti-racist?
The Check Your Privilege Challengeis a new trend that actually originated on the popular social media platform Tik-Tok by a user in Virginia named Kenya. She made the video to share her own personal experiences and give other people the chance to evaluate and compare their own experiences.
The challenge consists of twelve scenarios that too many people often face.
Begin by holding ten fingers up and then put down a finger with each scenario that you have personally experienced:
Start the activity (read out each scenario)
Put a finger down if you have been called a racial slur.
Put a finger down if you've been followed in a store unnecessarily.
Put a finger down if someone has crossed the street in order to avoid passing you.
Put a finger down if you've had someone clench their purse in an elevator with you.
Put a finger down if you or your family have been accused of not being able to afford something expensive.
Put a finger down if you have been stopped or detained by police for no valid reason.
Put a finger down if you have been bullied solely because of your race.
Put a finger down if you've been denied service solely because of the color of your skin.
Put a finger down if the adults in your family have had to talk to you about how not to get killed by the police.
Put a finger down if you ever had a friend tell you they couldn’t play with you/be friends with you because of your race.
Now that you’ve participated in the Check Your Privilege Activity, have a discussion about this experience:
How many fingers did you have left? How did this activity make you feel?
Can you share a time that you’ve experienced one of these scenarios and how did it make you feel?
Want to continue the conversation? Need more resources about race?
Take a look at the following booklists below about race in history and today: