When I heard that the book STAMPED, by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, had been used in the Richland 2 SOAR program, I decided to read it. What's it all about?
I was familiar with Kendi's book from readings about Critical Race Theory. Since the Richland Library had four copies of it in English (I mistakenly reserved the Spanish-language copy first), that's where I got it, instead of buying a printed copy or reading it on Kindle.
That was my first good decision - not spending money buying it!
As I read on the inside flyleaf "The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power...", I thought, "Oh, here we go." I hadn't known exactly what to expect, but that set the stage.
Then I began to read the Introduction, which is by Kendi. Kendi refers to this book as a "re-mix" of his book, Stamped from the Beginning. I thought, "Maybe I should read that one first." Kendi praises Reynolds as "one of the most gifted writers and thinkers of our time." (Page x). I thought, "Seriously?"
Then Kendi wrote, "I watched the televised and untelevised life of the shooting star of #Black Lives Matter..." (Pages x-xi) How do you watch an "untelevised" life?
Kendi wrote about the heart-breaking deaths of boys, naming Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown (Page xi), and I'm already wondering, "How am I ever going to get through this book?" And I haven't even made it to the first page yet; I'm just at the third page of the Introduction (misleadingly numbered as Page xi (that's "11", for the kids who are reading the book and don't know what "xi" means).
My opinion has been formed. This book is trash. But I'll keep reading, because I want to know why Richland 2 selected this book for any program.
Kendi referred to co-author Reynolds as "The novelist". Is this book going to be a story dressed up like it's real?
What balance is being given to Richland 2 students? Kendi uses the word "antiracist". Does he really mean his own version of racism?