"The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. Racist ideas are woven into the fabric of this country, and the first step to building an antiracist America is acknowledging America's racist past and present." - Jason Reynolds.
In this special episode of BookTube, our community of close readers asks award-winning author Jason Reynolds about his new book, Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism, and You. Co-author Dr. Ibram X. Kendi chimes in to help explain the book’s origins.
To know the past is to know the present. To know the present is to know yourself.
There are a handful of people "taught" in school year after year after year AFTER YEAR! But what do we truly know about these people? Who were they really? Were they really as great as the history text books make them out to be? The answer is basically no. Most of the history taught is full of "alternative facts", miss truths, distortions, and even flat out lies. A glorified version of history. One of the many things I love about Jason Reynolds is that he is not afraid to tell the truth. He makes it a habit to not tell lies. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You takes a complicated and difficult subject, racism, and turns it into an interesting, entertaining and honest journey through history. But remember this is NOT a history book!
You will hear the names of people you hear about every February, W.E.B DuBois, Booker T. Washington, Fredric Douglass, and many of the things you read will most likely be surprising and yes, these people might not sound so "awesome" afterward.
Now don't get me wrong these people did some very important things that have helped shape America as we know it now. They were considered thought leaders of their time. They struggled with some of the same things you may struggle with today. Do I do my best to simply fit in with White America, assimilate? Or do I embrace my race, identity, and culture to fight back and stand up against oppression and racist tactics used against Black people?
Don't ever forget that being Black is joyous! I’m going to end with a quote from Jason Reynolds, “We can’t attack a thing we don’t know, that’s dangerous. And…foolish. It would be like trying to chop down a tree from the top of it. If we understand how the tree works, how the trunk and roots are where the power lies, and how gravity is on our side, we can attack it, each of us with small axes we can change the face of the forest. So, let’s learn all there is to know about the tree of racism. The Root. The Fruit. The Sap and the Trunk. The nest built over time. The changing leaves. That way, your generation can finally, actively chop it down.”