Just Off My Bookshelf: Stamped From The Beginning

The ideas of this book don’t simply add to the conversation about race, it reshapes the boundaries of the conversation. There are many profound points but the point that resonated for me was the emphasis on the humanity of all people. Ibra Kendi deconstructs the race ideas the people of all races have imbedded in our thinking while writing a fascinating and well documented account of American history. It will be difficult for any reader of this book to avoid the process of searching their hearts for some imbedded ideas of race.

There are ideas that I would disagree with in the book. Primarily the idea that there is little hope of convincing people of the issues of race. I’m an optimist that is always hopeful, especially because of the work of Jesus. But there is so many thought provoking and perspective shaping points found in this book.

Here are a few quotes (out of many) that stood out to me:

Many believe that ignorance/hate leads to racist ideas leads to discrimination. Kendi argues that racial discrimination leads to racist ideas leads to ignorance/hate 

“And it was Perkins’s claim of equal souls and unequal bodies that led Puritan preachers like Cotton Mather to minister to African souls and not challenge the enslavement of their bodies.”

“It is one antiracist thing to say discrimination treated Black people like they were barbarians. It is yet another racist thing to say the discrimination actually transformed Black people into barbarians.”

“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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