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Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

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Goodreads Choice Award
Winner for Best Nonfiction (2020)
A remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning for ages 12 and up.

A timely, crucial, and empowering exploration of racism--and antiracism--in America.

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 is a remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning, winner of a National Book Award. It reveals the history of racist ideas in America and inspires hope for an antiracist future.

Stamped 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, Jason Reynolds 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.

294 pages, Hardcover

First published March 10, 2020

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About the author

Jason Reynolds

78 books8,958 followers
Jason Reynolds is an American author of novels and poetry for young adult and middle-grade audience. After earning a BA in English from The University of Maryland, College Park, Jason Reynolds moved to Brooklyn, New York, where you can often find him walking the four blocks from the train to his apartment talking to himself. Well, not really talking to himself, but just repeating character names and plot lines he thought of on the train, over and over again, because he’s afraid he’ll forget it all before he gets home.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 7,259 reviews
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
April 29, 2020
There was no science to prove any of this. But who needs science when you have racism?

This should be required reading in all American schools. Kids need to know and understand this history (even if the author is quick to tell you it's "not a history book"). It really is absolutely essential. And Reynolds's adaptation is a very accessible, very necessary overview of 500+ years of racism and antiracism in the United States. Now I'm thinking I need to get my hands on Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning to expand on some of the ideas introduced in this book.

Jason Reynolds has done a great job of condensing a lot of information into less than three hundred pages. He has adapted Kendi's work to specifically appeal to young people and he uses humour and a conversational style to keep their attention. He certainly managed to keep my attention.
If you’re like me, you’re asking yourself, Was he on drugs? Yes. Yes, he was. The most addictive drug known to America. Racism. It causes wealth, an inflated sense of self, and hallucinations.

I studied the American Civil War, the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, and colonialism in quite a bit of depth in school, so I expected to be fairly well-versed in the subject matter, but the book still taught me a lot of things. I was especially interested in the origin story of American racism and how Kendi traced the history back to a man he calls the "first racist".

It was also interesting - though, sadly, not surprising - to hear that the old "divide and rule" strategy played such a huge part in the formation of racist ideas. Every student who has studied colonialism knows all too well how those two words in tandem are the cause of so much war, destruction and prejudice. The British did it in India, leading to partition. The Germans and Belgians did it in Rwanda, leading to one of history's worst genocides. And a governor did it in Virginia to pit poor whites and black people against one another:
But the governor knew if Blacks and Whites joined forces, he’d be done. Everything would be done. It would’ve been an apocalypse. So, he had to devise a way to turn poor Whites and poor Blacks against each other, so that they’d be forever separated and unwilling to join hands and raise fists against the elite. And the way he did this was by creating (wait for it… ) White privileges.

If the racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric circling round the poor white communities of today's America is anything to go by, this policy has had consequences that are still being felt in 2020.

The Civil Rights Era stuff was mostly an overview of what I already knew, but it is essential reading for those unfamiliar with it. It introduces readers to the usual suspects-- MLK, Malcolm X, Booker T. Washington, Du Bois, Angela Davis, Marcus Garvey and Stokely Carmichael, to name but a few, and it looks at how racist thinking has not always escaped black writers and activists themselves. I was also pleased that the book spent a little time looking at the overlap of gender, sexuality and racism, and how black women and queer black women have had to deal with prejudice from different angles.

I took a number of things from the later chapters, as well. I just remembered how very much I want to reread Roots: The Saga of an American Family, which I thought was excellent when I first read it and I was too young to really appreciate what I was reading. I also did not know the Rocky franchise was basically racist propaganda. Now I don't need to feel bad that I've never seen it.

Reynolds also explained the "War on Drugs" to me, in simple terms, so I feel like, for the first time, I actually understand what happened there and how drugs became such a major part of perpetuating racial inequality in America.

There's a lot going on this book, and it's a testament to Reynolds's writing skills that it never feels overcrowded or overwhelming. Put this in the hands of all American teens.

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Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,854 followers
September 20, 2020
Big History at its best, it´s showing the important connection between past atrocities and current systems, between old ideologies and their new, subtle, dishonest disguises. Just because something isn´t easy to spot as a malady from the past doesn´t mean that it´s cured, that society is vaccinated, that it´s not a hidden plague still metastasizing, mutating to new forms, evolving to a more politically correct chimera level. Not just the weird ideology mixups of old and new extremist groups, but especially the ones who deem themselves sophisticated, enlightened, and mostly privileged people, who don´t get the whole picture and impede and delay real, substantial change by promoting a dysfunctional, deeply unfair system and having or simulating a blind eye for the cognitive dissonances inside their minds, political parties, and well meaning NGOs.

It´s telling that conventional history just keeps talking about the numbers, names, and obvious actions, but strangely and suspiciously avoids linking them to too hot, controversial, and thereby dangerously true, political, social, and especially economic topics and contemporary history. Would look too bad and open too many questions, not really correspond to what is usually talked about in history class, education prefers memorizing names, places, and numbers instead of reflecting, interpreting, and questioning how we came to where we are. But at least the bigotry is consequent, because the devastating results of this history of shame are concealed and downplayed in most media too.

Of course, schools can´t teach critical thinking, where could that end, instead they just keep helping to create underprivileged, poor white people´s prejudices by not detecting their racist ideas to keep them fighting against the minorities, blacks, anyone in bad, oldfashioned divide et impera style, and by not stopping to keep relativizing a horrible, disgusting past or at least preventing radicalization. Far too many implications and unwanted questions because of the parallels to the second half of the second millennium after whatever, the escalating current problems, the colonial system, world history, the real economic and ideological reason for the war on drugs, redlining, and all the other atrocities.

Openly admitting and explaining to the kids that government, media, and faith used, uses, and will use propaganda and psychological warfare elements to keep the population from rebelling isn´t what the Board of Education department for the promotion of functional illiterates barely able to decipher the fake sockpuppet candidates to actively participate in a dead democracy where all parties promote the same mad, exponential growth, no sustainability or distributive justice course, wants. Ever wondered why Big History seems to just be storming the bestselling lists, but no classrooms or curricula? They prefer the Hollywood fantasy happy go lucky endings of history where, as soon as some superficial laws, but not the underlying problems and missing wealth distribution, are changed, all is a democratic, equal, and fair wonderland.

That´s why such marvelously researched and fact based books with very modern approaches towards both arguing and opening new debates are essential, although they make much of the establishment, especially economics and politics, shiver in fear. Such a realistic, hard, and direct evaluation of both history and present day lets their common platitudes seem even more bizarre, wrong, and unscientific.

The approach of trying to make something as understandable as possible to reach the biggest audience, is often better than very good, but too detailed, specific, and complex bricks of books. In this rare case, there is the old, big, fat edition and the new, shiny, short one and I am not sure if I should still read his original Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
because I guess that most of the essential parts have been converted in this easier to read form for younger audiences. It was the only option before this new edition, now it´s certainly something for history nerds and I don´t know if it offers just more data or also more essential thesis that makes it worth reading.

Anyhow it would be a good idea for other, progressive, critical authors, citizen journalists, social critics, whistleblowers,.. to shorten and simplify their works to be more appealing for younger audiences, especially cutting out anecdotes, unnecessary complicated academic language that is promoting the author´s ego, and wordiness about numbers, names, and places, and possibly cooperating with professional fiction authors who know how to write thrilling and suspenseful. That could open the gates for the exponentiation of readers both important, but self blocking, authors and audiences could benefit from, not to forget society.

A similar book:

Subjective opinion:
Something disturbing comes to my mind when there is this talk about reappraisal, compensation, and justice. It is close to 400 years between the so called Exploration of North America and the end of slavery in 1865, and just 80 years from then until the end of WW2 in 1945. Depending on the national perspective, a very strange system of illogical argumentations, constructed out of
sets in there.

Just to rename places, streets, buildings, etc. that are named in the honor of all the mass murderers participating in colonizing the world and establishing dictatorships for centuries, is already a very hot topic for whatever stupid reasons described in the links. The same mechanism sets in when it´s about doing the same with names associated with slavery. But now, mind game, jump over the pond and imagine the same thing in Europe. So it´s obviously unthinkable to have anything related to glorifying the unspeakable atrocities of WW2, but perfectly fine to still downplay or even kind of celebrate and glorify the same, earlier, often close to genocidal
editions and key personalities in the US, UK, Spain, and other countries. People just don´t, want to, understand that there is no difference between them and leading Nazi war criminals, don´t want the so called explorers and glorified heroes of their nation and history to be at the same level as the organizers of the

A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real-life outside books:

Profile Image for Riley.
429 reviews21.7k followers
June 7, 2020
“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, and 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 trunk. The nests built over time, the changing leaves. That way, your generation can finally, actively chop it down.”

This was a reworking of Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped From the Beginning, told in a way that is accessible for a younger/teen audience. Kendi wrote a forward in this and I really enjoyed that part so I will definietly be reading his book next.

I listened to this on audio and Jason narrated it himself. I have listened to a few of his audiobooks and his narration is always incredible. As a white person who grew up in the south there is so much about the history of slavery that I did not know. And so much of it that was twisted or left without context to fit a narrative. Jason did a great job at breaking it down and exposing a lot of the history that textbooks left out.

If you are already very well versed in black history I don’t know how much you would get from this but I highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for a first step to educating yourself.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,615 reviews10.7k followers
February 9, 2023
Ibram X. Kendi's book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America was released in 2016.

Kendi, a Boston University Professor and founder of the BU Center for Antiracist Research, was awarded the National Book Award in nonfiction for the title. It's also close to 600-pages by a man who can certainly run intellectual circles around me. For that fact alone, I find it intimidating.

Luckily for me, and a lot of other Readers, Kendi decided he wanted to find someone who could take his ideas and write it in a way that would be more agreeable to a younger audience. Hence, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You was born.

It sounds like it took a little cajoling, but eventually Reynolds, a well-loved author of Children's and Young Adult fiction, agreed to take on the project.

Pictured above: Jason Reynolds (left) and Ibram X. Kendi (right)

I chose to listen to the audiobook because I knew that it was narrated by Reynolds. I'm so happy that I did. I would have enjoyed it had I read a hard copy, but hearing it from him, in the way he felt it should be read, was a really special experience.

This book offers a concise history of racism, and the racist ideas that have been used to justify slavery and oppression of black people in the United States, from the time of the first slaves arrival to the country, up through the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement.

It's framed through three separate schools of thought: segregationists, assimilationists and antiracists. It explains how racist ideologies were constructed in a way to gain and keep power; how they led to the systemic issues prevalent today.

Reynolds states numerous times that this is not a history book, and you know what, it doesn't feel like one. The way this is presented makes it feel like you are talking with a friend. It's engaging, it's forthright and it's a must read.

The entire way through I was jotting down ideas, people and events that I want to learn more about. After reading this, I am no longer intimidated by Kendi's original work. I want to read it and plan to by the end of the year!

I cannot recommend this enough. Particularly the audiobook. If you haven't read this one yet, you absolutely should.
Profile Image for Warda.
1,208 reviews19.7k followers
July 5, 2020
“Turned out, freedom in America was like quicksand. It looked solid until a Black person tried to stand on it. Then it became clear that it was a sinkhole.”

Amongst all the anti-racist literature that is out there, this is one of the ones that needs to be heard, listened to and read and understood.

It was simultaneously empowering and exhausting to listen to. Props to Jason Reynolds, Ibram X. Kendi and the production team for bringing this book to life.

This is a condensed, YA version of Ibram X. Kendi’s novel, Stamped From the Beginning. But as condensed as it was, it’ll still leave you with information that’ll have your mind enriched.

The aim was for it to highlight how our current present is a product of the past, of the history that came before us and how this book now presents a new history almost to the one that has been regurgitated. In other words, the truth. Because it’s only with truthful knowledge and honest conversations surrounding the injustices that have occurred and still keep occurring, that will allow us to shape our future better.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,406 reviews11.7k followers
April 15, 2020
I hope this book is put into the hands of every teen in this country, so that it can at least somewhat counteract the white-colored "history" they learn in schools. This work isn't trying to be objective or neutral or to be a history book. It's a call to all of us to face the centuries of racism in the US, and once and for all become anti-racist. Adapted by Jason Reynolds from Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi. I appreciated the complexity of the thought packed into this very-very abridged, condensed work for teens. While I didn't always like Reynolds' tricks to keep the (young) readers' attention, I still think it is a powerful manifesto that I hope gets widely read. It's pretty clear it'll be getting all kinds of awards and acclaims this year.
Profile Image for Chad.
188 reviews
October 8, 2020
I’m amazed at the widespread thought that this should be required reading for high school students. Unless the reader is equipped with a background in actual history to identify when revisionist history is presented, I fear they could see it all as fact. In fairness the author does many times say “this isn’t a history book.” I took that as it’s not the intent of the book to be primarily a history book. Perhaps he really did mean it would be his revisionist history to fit a narrative.

The author clearly prefers Malcom X/Nation of Islam and the Black Panther Party tactics to those of MLK. If you feel the same you’ll likely enjoy this read. If you try and pry out racism in literally everything you hear or see, again you’ll likely enjoy this book.

The author doesn’t address any disparate equality of opportunity, but only discusses disparate outcomes, that’s unfortunate. The author presents only two reasons for disparate outcomes between races, genetic differences (clearly debunked here and elsewhere) and racism. That’s it, it has to be caused by racism full stop. I would recommend spending some time with a Thomas Sowell book or two instead of or at least to supplement this reading. Sowell is famous for arguing that disparate outcomes between races are not necessarily attributed solely to racism. He presents other reasons and backs his well founded arguments as the lifelong academic he is. It’s worth gathering his opinions as well.
Profile Image for Teresa Dunivent.
353 reviews6 followers
July 2, 2020
I will need to reread this one and think some more about the ideas and facts presented. As an educator, I am not happy with the tone used towards all “whites” and am afraid it will create more tension and hatred instead of open up conversations for discussion. I love Jason Reynold’s writing, and he lives up to his reputation here. He is still one of my favorite writers to use to teach author’s craft and verbal discourse around tough topics. I enjoyed all the history presented and love the voice used in teaching it and educating students about some of my favorite writers: L. Hughes & J. Baldwin. I am not happy with the lack of presenting a complete history to understand why some people may target others beyond race. For example, Ronald Reagan was alive during the Red Scare and actually was President Of the Screen Actor’s Guild. He had to deal with the influx of Communists working in Hollywood and wanting to change the political/economic system of America, so it would be no surprise he would look at Davis as a Communist and therefore a threat to our country. Did he judge her for being black? I have no idea, but I know you have to take into account her political leanings also. This would be a great discussion to have with teenagers, and come to their own conclusions about people. I agree whole heartedly that standardized tests are not fair to students in poverty, no matter the race. I know it is hurting our students, and it makes me angry on their behalf. But, there is a specific reference to it putting pressure on Black teachers and Black students. NO, NO, NO...it puts pressure on any teacher who cares about these students and their futures. That deeply offended me! But, I can put that aside for the importance of the topic in the book. My deepest disappointment was the fact that nothing was recommended or suggested for how to change things or how to have conversations about antiracisim. I want a book on that!!!! I want a book that can help us bridge this canyon and start real conversation on a topic we all avoid.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,743 reviews5,283 followers
June 4, 2020
“There will come a time when we will love humanity, when we will gain the courage to fight for an equitable society for our beloved humanity, knowing, intelligently, that when we fight for humanity, we are fighting for ourselves.”

This was absolutely phenomenal. I haven't read the original by Ibram X. Kendi yet, but I certainly plan to after listening to Jason Reynolds' magnificent YA re-working of it. I don't know how much this book will help educate many of the Black individuals in my lives who grew up knowing this information and who work hard for civil rights, but as a white person who was raised in the deep south, so much of the truth that Jason Reynolds revealed here was painfully skimmed over in my upbringing and education. I feel like I learned things that I should have known a long time ago, and I was certainly reminded of how little I will ever truly grasp the Black experience, especially here in the US. But it also reminded me that there are always things I can do as long as I keep learning and listening and do everything in my power to be anti-racist.

I'd also like to say that Reynolds' narration skills are unparalleled; he's so much fun to listen to, and I can see why so many people have raved to me now about audiobooks of his works. I could have listened to him for hours longer and I know I'll be reaching for audio formats of everything else he's written because it was just so enjoyable.

Thank you so much to the publisher and LibroFM ALC Program for providing me with this finished audio copy in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
672 reviews4,297 followers
August 13, 2020
“But the thing about being Black is that just being can bring bloodshed.”

Stamped is a fantastic starting point for anyone looking to learn more about the history of racism within America. It’s a remix of the comprehensive book Stamped From the Beginning, meaning that the book has been condensed and made more accessible for a younger audience. I fully intend to go back and read Stamped From the Beginning, but this one gave me the foundation I really needed.

To put it bluntly - this book blew my mind. There was just so much I didn’t know, that I wasn’t even aware of, and Reynolds presents all this information in easily digestible bite-sized chunks. The history of racism is told chronologically, which makes the most sense of course, taking us from the story of the world’s first racist in 1415 up until Obama’s presidency.

The most eye-opening chapter for me was the one about the War on Drugs and how it was implemented to target the Black community. This has been referred to in a few podcasts I’ve listened to, but Reynolds lays it out in the most basic terms, explaining exactly how it was orchestrated. A drug dealer or user caught with FIVE grams of crack, typically handled by Blacks and poor people, faced a minimum five-year sentence, whereas the mostly White and rich users and dealers had to be caught with FIVE HUNDRED grams of powder cocaine to receive the same sentence. The same drug... just in a different form. Insanity, right?! Add in the fact that police officers policed Black neighbourhoods more, leading to more arrests. Shocking really. And this is only scratching the surface of the systemic racism that exists.

In a nutshell, this should be required reading in schools. It’s highly informative yet accessible and I truly got a lot from this book. Reynolds does a fantastic job. Highly recommend! Bring on Stamped From the Beginning! 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Brandice.
912 reviews
August 1, 2020
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You is not a history book but one about race and how racist ideas evolved and persisted. It’s a condensed version of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning.

In Stamped the remix Jason Reynolds does a great job providing important information in an accessible format. It was easy to read, in a conversational style, though of course much of it infuriating to read about. Everyone can gain something from this — The War on Drugs was just one of many new things I learned about.

From Reynolds’s acknowledgements:

”We can’t attack a thing we don’t know. ... So let’s learn all there is to know about the tree of racism. The root. The fruit. The sap and trunk. The beers built over time, the changing leaves. That way, your generation can finally, actively chop it down.”

I read the physical book and have heard only great things about the audiobook, narrated by Reynolds. Stamped is a book that must be read — Read it, share it, discuss it, act on it.
Profile Image for Lori.
371 reviews439 followers
August 22, 2020
What a brilliant man Ibram X. Kendi is. His comprehensive historical, sociological, political, biographical "Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America," which won the National Book Award, is a professorial tome. Kendi is a distinguished academic. You don't have to buy into all of his ideas to admire this or any of his work, but it pays to wrestle with them. "Stamped..." covers the history of black people in America via copious cited research, covering complex ideas sometimes in complex language and with some very big ideas of his own.

With all the praise came a lot of feedback from people telling Kendi they were sorry they didn't have the book when they were younger. So this man who is bold enough to include "Definitive" in his title was also humble enough to take that on board and find a way to go one better. He asked his favorite YA writer, Jason Reynolds, award-winning author of prose and poetry in YA and middle-school categories, to write "The Remix," to rework and reimagine it for young people and thereby extend its reach and teach. I'm not making a qualitative comparison but naturally this reminded me of Lin-Manuel Miranda alchemizing Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton into a hip-hop musical with an interracial cast.

I'm full of admiration for this work. Jason Reynolds's "Stamped: The Remix" is itself like a textbook, should be a textbook, for younger ones. He's done a brilliant job. And it's not just for YA and middle-school children. Every American young person, especially but not only the descendants of slaves, should be required to read it in school. But I remember my textbooks. They were, no pun intended, whitewashed. And flat. You weren't meant to engage with them but to swallow them, spit them back out and move on. I can't speak for others and I didn't pursue it in college but personally, honestly, almost all of the history I've learned has been on my own.

"The Remix" is a book for adults too. There's plenty to learn and think about in there. But it's not meant for us. If you have kids and can read it before or while they do, all the better. Because let's face it, this will never be taught in schools. Not in my lifetime. And in my opinion, even if this should make its way to curricula (as if), for those with kids in the age range, best to engage with it where some of the most important learning happens: at home.

Reynolds never condescends, he explains, nor does he dilute Kendi's work, he distills it. He includes controversial ideas including that black people have at times been racists too. The fluidity of Kendi's intellectualism is maintained. He doesn't skip slave auctions and lynching but writes about them in a way that won't give younger readers constant nightmares either. There will be time for that. Having written about the substance, I'm giving Reynolds the last word so anyone unfamiliar can sample the style of "The Remix":

"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. So let’s learn all there is to know about the tree of racism. The root. The fruit. The sap and trunk. The nests built over time, the changing leaves. That way, your generation can finally, actively chop it down."
Profile Image for Molly Dettmann.
1,446 reviews22 followers
October 30, 2020
I listened to the audiobook courtesy of Libro.fm and all I can say is, dang, I would listen to Jason Reynolds read the phone book.
Profile Image for Jessica .
2,129 reviews13.8k followers
September 19, 2021
Such an amazing book written in a way that is engaging and accessible for teens. I'm excited to put this in my classroom and encourage my students to pick this up.
Profile Image for Kelli.
851 reviews403 followers
May 22, 2021
The other day I was driving with my son and he asked me, as he often does, what I thought of this book that I was actively listening to until he set foot in the car. I gave him the high level details of what the book discussed and my opinion that he and his sister would both benefit from reading this so called "not a history book" and maybe taking some time to dig in, research, discuss, etc the very important topic. Our conversation then shifted to his view that many people seem threatened by Black history. He then said: "Black history is American history. Just because it hasn't been taught, doesn't mean it didn't happen." He's 12. If I knew how to drop a heart emoji right here, I would.

This book, passionately and impactfully narrated by Jason Reynolds, brings a lot of things to light that are new to me. Accessible for younger readers, this is an important book for all to experience and take in. 5 stars
Profile Image for Sean Blevins.
322 reviews35 followers
March 8, 2021
In all, fine. It's useful, largely as the one thing it claims not to be, lol. But in the effort to be accessible to a younger audience it may have unnecessarily foregone some of the intellectual rigor it would have been better to retain.

I think the ideas on which this book is based, Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped From the Beginning, are important and I'm glad Reynolds' adaptation exposed me to them. I just had problems with how Reynolds adapted it.

Three things that gave me pause about Reynolds' remix:

1) Confusingly, Reynolds labels the 15th century Portuguese author Gomes Zarura (1410-1474 CE) the "world's first racist."
So, what makes him the world's first racist? Well, Zurara was the first person to write about and defend black human ownership, and this single document began the recorded history of anti-black racist ideas. (7)

I say "confusingly" because five pages later, Reynolds acknowledges Aristotle's (385-323 BCE) "Climate Theory" of black African inferiority.
Aristotle...questioned whether Africans were born "this way" or if the heat of the continent made them inferior. (12)

Aristotle's racist ideas preceded Zarura's by a good 1700 years.

But maybe the problem here is with the definition of "racist." Reynolds provides a definition on the first page of the introduction:
A racist idea is any idea that suggests something is wrong or right, superior or inferior, better or worse about a racial group. (ix)

Aristotle's climate theory certainly seems to fit that definition, so I'm left wondering why Zarura is labeled the first racist.

To be clear, I'm not convinced that Aristotle is the first racist. I'm skeptical that such a title could convincingly be applied to any one, ever. I suspect the idea that "something is wrong or right, superior or inferior, better or worse about a racial group" is a very, very old and very, very widespread one. In the end, I'm left with the impression that this is sloppy thinking.

2) On pages 23-24, Reynolds writes about the Germantown Petition Against Slavery of 1688. The problem here is that he attributes the Germantown petition to Mennonites, when it was produced by Quakers. There's a meaningful difference between these two religious groups. The theology and religious practice of the Quakers are essential to the production and history of the document, so it's the kind of thing that matters. It's a little like failing to recognize the difference between Catholics and Anglicans. Again, this just looks sloppy.

3) There are times when Reynold's choice of what to clarify for his young readers is...strange. on page 174, Reynolds uses the idiom "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." And then goes on to clarify that a gander is a male goose. On the next page, he writes of "Malcolm X's philosophy of...self-determination" but doesn't define this far more abstract - and conceptually important - phrase. Again, this feels haphazard, less careful than desired.

I have not read Kendi's original Stamped From the Beginning on which this is based, but I plan to, with the hope and expectation that it will be much better.

What this book does do well is provide an overview of racist ideas and reactions to them. In this sense, it's a useful little history book, despite its protestations to the contrary. The back cover proclaims that "This is NOT a history book" prominently, and Reynolds reminds the reader that "this is not a history book!" frequently between those covers. Yeah, but you know what? It's a history book.

The other thing it does well is lay out the classification scheme of "segregationist, assimilationist, and antiracist." I find myself considering and reconsidering works, claims, authors in these terms now. I'm looking forward to what I trust will be a fuller accounting of these concepts in Kendi's original.
Profile Image for Rosh.
1,574 reviews1,841 followers
February 16, 2022
An interesting and enlightening read, though it didn’t quite work out the way I had expected (I thought it was more generic in nature. I totally forgot that the blurb mentions its focus on the USA.)

Jason Reynolds declares that this is not a history book. But a great chunk of it is dedicated to US history and how racism and anti-racism became mainstream topics in the country. The range of topics covered is vast: skin colour and religion based discrimination, how racist ideas began, historical racists, contemporary racism, biblical scriptures being used for racist thinking, white privilege, gender discrimination, interracial relationships, segregation, black power… It goes from one hard-hitting idea to another. More importantly, it does so in a chronological order such that the development of these thoughts over the centuries is made vividly clear.

Originally written by Ibram X. Kendi under the title “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America���, this adaptation by Jason Reynolds brings the ideas to the level of the teenage reader. And this is brilliantly done. He doesn’t shy away from complicated topics, but his approach – combining humour with history – makes this a superb book for its target segment.

I do wish it had been a bit more global in its approach; there was a lot of US history that I couldn’t connect with. (This, of course, is to be blamed on my erroneous expectations. The book didn’t claim that it wasn’t about the USA.) At the same time, there is no doubt that the problem of racism persists in various forms in almost all countries and more such books are required across the globe so that at least the next generation is better equipped to clean the mess made by their forefathers.

My favourite line among many thought-provoking quotes:
“There will come a time when we will love humanity, when we will gain the courage to fight for an equitable society for our beloved humanity, knowing, intelligently, that when we fight for humanity, we are fighting for ourselves.”

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Profile Image for Betsy Robinson.
Author 9 books1,075 followers
March 23, 2022
This is a YA edition of a much longer book that I meant to buy, but I made a mistake. I'm glad I did because this is extraordinary. I'm 69 years old and I can only imagine how the world might be different if this had been in the school curriculum when I was in junior high.

At only one-quarter of the way through, I'm going to review this now in order to say to all my friends with teenage kids, buy this book! And read it yourselves. Or read it with your teenagers.

I'm having many reactions to what I'm reading, but I don't want to tempt myself to express. Now is a time to be silent, read, and learn. So now I'll shut up.

3/23/22 UPDATE
Inspired to reread this book, I thought I'd add to this post.

Senator Ted Cruz in yesterday's hearing for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, held up Jason Reynolds's YA adaptation of this book and declared that it saying that people see one another's color--acknowledging that we do--is a far cry from MLK's aspiration that we judge one another on our character rather than color. Here is a bit of nuanced wisdom from Kendi's intro to this version of his book:

"The first step to building an antiracist America is acknowledging America's racist past. By acknowledging America's racist past, we can acknowledge America's racist present. In acknowledging America's racist present, we can work toward building an antiracist America. An antiracist America where no racial group has more or less, or is thought of as more or less. An antiracist America where people no longer hate on racial groups or try to change racial groups. An antiracist America where our skin color is as irrelevant as the colors of the clothes over our skin."

Hence, knowing this history is the map to what MLK aspired to.
Profile Image for Ramona.
315 reviews11 followers
September 7, 2020
This book is a perfect example of the fallacy and problem of presentism in our current telling of history. I have no problem acknowledging racism, past and present, but this retelling of history through our 21st century eyes left me rolling my own eyes. He practically throws away the efforts of Jefferson, Booker T. Washington, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lincoln, and Harper Lee because they do not push the bounds fully or correctly, in his eyes. It is because of these kinds of thwarted and uninformed views of historical figures that many people are currently defacing and pulling down monuments. Let’s honor the efforts of the past while we continue to work towards the future!
Profile Image for Jon.
449 reviews24 followers
December 22, 2019
Jason Reynold’s magic is on every page, transforming Ibram Kendi’s work into an accessible volume for youth. For all libraries Grade 7+.
Profile Image for Liza Wiemer.
Author 5 books663 followers
June 5, 2020
A thousand⭐️s. Wow. It's a must for every adult. It needs to be taught in history classes in every U.S. school as part of the curriculum. It's important. Critical. Don't wait! Read this book! Share this book!

STAMPED has the power to change false perceptions of race, crush lies, and bring about important change in laws that continue to promote racism and other forms of hate. BUT, that means we need to take positive action. Don’t wait! Start by reading this book. Share this book!

It's impactful to hear the authors read it. So if you can, I highly recommend that you listen to the audiobook. We know that certain books have the power to transform lives IF we learn from them & integrate the lessons learned into our lives. STAMPED is that kind of book.

For readers/listeners, STAMPED may be a start or a continuation to embracing antiracist behavior. That's why it's critical for this to be integrated into education. Don't wait! Read it. Share it!
Profile Image for Nursebookie.
2,192 reviews339 followers
November 10, 2020
I have listened to this in audio about three times, and each time, I glean a little bit more on this must read! It was a quick listen, and I ordered the paperback of this as well as Stamped from the Beginning to continue my education about history and the root of systemic racism that permeates every aspect of our lives.

The narration by Jason Reynolds was phenomenal and truly exceptional. His delivery made this powerful book more impactful and yet easy to listen to and understand, perfect for our young readers. I had a great time listening to this with my family. To say this book stayed with me long after I read this was an understatement - I learned and I was changed by reading this book.
Profile Image for Jamie.
Author 21 books3,178 followers
June 25, 2020
Fantastic YA version of Ibram X. Kendi's National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.

I was fortunate enough to do a signing with Jason Reynolds in Winston-Salem a couple of years ago, and honestly, I was in awe. Afterward I went and spoke at a book club luncheon and Jason went to speak at 3-4 schools. He's a busy guy doing important work, with an uncanny ability to telegraph serious, complex information about race to teens in a way that's as entertaining as it is enlightening.

I read Stamped in one evening and I'm even more in awe. This is one of those books that's like a vaccine. You inject it into the bloodstream of young Americans and it helps inoculate against the diseases of prejudice, bigotry, and ignorance.
Profile Image for Rachel  L.
1,867 reviews2,240 followers
September 17, 2020
I love Jason Reynolds. His words have such power. When I first heard of this book, I had never heard of the one it was based off of. I read the remix first, and when my hold on the audiobook of Kendi’s novel becomes available I intend to listen to that one. I think what’s great about this book is it reads like Reynolds is having a conversation with you. It also reminds me of that one teacher in high school or professor in college you loved listening to. It’s compelling, informative, shocking, and 100% worth reading. I can see myself recommending this book to a lot of people in the future.
Profile Image for Aoife - Bookish_Babbling.
316 reviews327 followers
August 8, 2020
A history book that's not a history book perfectly describes this digestible read. Reynolds has crafted a bitesize portion to whet the appetites for further discoveries.
Hopefully in the near future, I can pick up Ibram X Kendi's full version and as much reading material on Angela Davis as I can - I need to know so much more about her!

I listened to the audio version which was really well done including interesting asides & pauses in the storytelling to check in and keep the listener and narrator on the same page - I cannot say if this is also done in the print version as I did not have access to it.

Created with a YA audience in mind it is a great introduction for any age category.
Profile Image for Pernille Ripp.
Author 10 books641 followers
October 11, 2019
Still reeling after finishing this advanced review copy written by Jason Reynolds and based on the work of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi. I finished it and immediately wanted to start it again as I knew each read will offer up new knowledge. To see the history of racism wrapped up like this is sheer brilliance, necessary and audacious. Every person, teens and adults, should read this book, discuss this book and jump into action. This is the most important book I have read this year.
Profile Image for Becky Gallego.
291 reviews30 followers
August 25, 2020
So there was no racists until some guy wrote a book justifying using blacks as slaves??? The United States broke away from Britain because it wanted slavery? The movie Rocky is racist and all about putting the black man in his place. This is definitely a different take on history and racism. If you read into everything and look for racism, you will find it. Do yourself and favor if you are looking for a book about racism and don't pick Stamped. Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell gives a much more complete look at racism.
Profile Image for Chasity.
246 reviews13 followers
October 12, 2022
**Excellent. Should be required reading in all high schools.
I’d read anything Jason Reynolds has his hand in writing!

2nd read: listened to it this time, and if it’s possible, it was even better than the first. Read it and share with everyone!

Editing review because apparently this book was banned in Pickens County, SC, and I want to bring it back into our newsfeeds!
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