Stamped from the Beginning—The Definitive History of Racist Ideas by Ibram X. Kendi Bold Type Press (2017)

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National Book award winner Ibram X. Kendi writes about the “Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.” Kendi encapsulates the struggle of Black people from the inception of slavery highlighting the delight that slave owners felt while enslaving Africans. Many slave owners noted that fairer-skinned enslaved people were “white enough to look upon… others were as black as Ethiops and so ugly that they almost appeared as visitors from Hell.” Slave owners continued their attack on Black people by hypersexualizing them, making it justifiable to continuously rape women and children. They dehumanized Africans, likening them to animals,: “a people of beastly living, without a God, law, religions or common wealth.” Kendi highlights the falsities of the notion that Africans were not wealthy. In fact, slave owners invaded many African countries because of their natural resources, such as gold and diamonds, while robbing them of their culture and religion. The world’s richest man was an African named Mansa Musa. Mansa Musa was so wealthy that he single-handedly nearly collapsed the Egyptian economy as he freely gave away billions of dollars worth of gold to combat poverty.

As African people were taken from their land and brought to America, they continued to experience extreme atrocities. Kendi notes that Christianity was viewed as only for white people; the British army freed enslaved people who conformed to their idea of Christianity. However, white Americans continued to uphold that Black people were incapable of becoming Christians, so the religion was reserved for white people. Kendi writes, “Christianizing the Negroes makes them proud and saucy and tempts them to imagine themselves upon an equality with the white people.” Additionally, the author reminds readers of the history of gas-lighting faced by Black women

Ibram X Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning is an excellent book for anyone willing to learn about Black people’s struggles and their disadvantages from inception.

About Solange Scott
Solange Scott is the District 12, Toronto PSSP Bargaining Unit president and sits on the provincial Black Persons and Persons of Colour Advisory Work Group, Equity Advisory Work Group, and Status of Women Committee.

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