This is one of the best books I’ve “read” (and by “read,” I mean “listened to on Audible”) during my self-imposed review of United States history. It also details how centuries of oppression, discrimination, and structural racism have impacted the African American community in our country. It is eye-opening, shocking, and in my opinion, a must-read for every white adult whose main point of reference for American history is the U.S. History class we were all forced to take in high school.
Dr. Kendi pulls back the whitewashed curtain to reveal the verifiable history of a meticulously designed inhumane system of oppression endured for centuries by African Americans.
As followers of Christ, we need to understand what was done in God’s name. What was defended in God’s name. What was propagated in God’s name. What continues to be taught in God’s name.
Like Saul on the road to Damascus, we need to see the light. Like Saul’s first days in Damascus, we need to do some soul searching. We need to admit that we’ve been misled, and we need to be open to the truth. And like Saul, when Ananias arrived, we need to humble ourselves and allow others to help us see the truth, and “something like scales” will fall off our eyes. Like Paul after his experience in Damascus, we must be willing to re-examine ALL our beliefs in light our experience. It’s really okay to go back to the actual Scriptures and examine them again for ourselves.
Read Mark. It’s the shortest Gospel. In it, you will notice Jesus was the model of compassion to all people, and He regularly spoke truth to power. In fact, he was killed because he publicly and repeatedly challenged the authority of the most powerful religious leaders. He offered fresh interpretation of sacred texts—more expansive and inclusive. He stood up for the marginalized, touched the untouchable, fed the hungry, comforted the mourning.
And to those who held the most power, Jesus bravely and publicly ridiculed them for putting such a heavy burden on the people of the land.
“Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone.
“Woe to you Pharisees, because you love the most important seats in the synagogues and respectful greetings in the marketplaces.
“Woe to you, because you are like unmarked graves, which people walk over without knowing it.”
One of the experts in the law answered him, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.”
Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them...”
When Jesus went outside, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say.Luke 11: 42-46, 53 (NIV)
Because they didn’t like his subversive teachings on justice, equity, inclusion, and diversity, they wielded their religious authority with the state and had him murdered. How a Christian could ever defend the right to own another human being created in the image of God is BEYOND me. Thank God, chattel slavery is a thing of the past.
The black fight for equality is actually getting more difficult. It’s time to get educated. If nothing else, you’ll be making informed decisions about when to speak and when to remain silent. When to step in and when to step away. When to vote and when to protest.
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (National Book Award Winner) is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand why racism in America is called “systemic” and “structural.”
If you are interested in purchasing this book, here is the Amazon link:
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