What does the art of a remix look like? They change some of the components of a song and make it into a track you can dance to. A remix makes the song more enjoyable to a widespread audience. Take any club track of a popular Britney Spears song and you can get anyone dancing to it. This is exactly what Jason Reynolds does with Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix is the club version of Kendi’s original work from 2017. The original is a comprehensive history of racist ideas in American -aiming at history buffs and those willing to embark on that journey. While Reynolds’ version is an easy to follow guide for wider audiences.
THE REYNOLDS REMIX
Reynolds makes this distinction on the first page. “This is not a history book,” he continues. Remix is “a book that contains history.” Educating isn’t his only job with Stamped -it’s also to motivate. Reynolds hopes to give readers the chance to start their education on race in the United States.
Reynolds praises the younger generation for their ability to be emotional. We are living in a world where there is so much information being thrown at us. It’s more common to hear people’s experiences through the internet. As Reynolds says; we “have the ability to teleport, to scroll upon a war zone or a murder.”
So what do we do with our empathy? Reynolds wants us to educate ourselves. “Scrolling will never be enough,” he says. But in this endless sea of information, where do we start?
THIS ISN’T A REVIEW…
This is a reflection about your own personal education. I will analyze some of the messages Reynolds creates with his work in order to figure out how to educate yourself.
Taking control of your own racism education is intimidating. What I find to be most intimidating about education is depth. We have to look at hundreds of years of racism to cover. There is so much history behind it that Reynolds only touches on. He discusses the world’s “first” racist: a Portugese commander named Zurara. Then he discusses the Puritans, Lincoln, Du Bois, Angela Davis, and the other pieces that make what racism is today.
Combined with the history of racism is racism in the present. It’s overwhelming to study racism and keep up to date with current politics. Swimming caps made for African Americans have been banned from the Olympics. U.S. schools are being investigated to search for remains of Native American children. Even locally -politics in Rochester are changing drastically with the formation of The People’s Slate.
There is a need to include these voices in the media -thus creating a lot of coverage. The desire to educate yourself on every spec of information is intimidating -especially when you combine past and present knowledge.
So how are you supposed to balance it all? I’m gonna let Mr. Jason Reynolds speak on this one.
“Just breathe in. Inhale. Hold it. Now exhale slowly:
NO REALLY, NOW!
Even if it’s just one name. One event. One protest. That is all you need to start your education. Take it one step at a time. Don’t be overwhelmed by the information dump of the media. In the Acknowledgements section, Reynolds notes that “all of us -have to fight against performance and lean into participation.”
Get out there. Talk to people. Be active.
If you have gotten this far into my rant then I know you’re no joke. In the words of Reynolds “all of you deserve acknowledgement. All of you deserve to know that you are in fact the antidote to anti-Blacknesss, xenophobia, homophobia, classism, sexism, and the other cancers that you have not caused but surely have the potential to cure.” You all have the potential to change the world.
Still scared? Don’t know where to start?
W. E. B. Du Bois.
Switch the tab in your phone and pull out google. See how one of these people fit into the conversation of racism. Get one step further in your own anti-racist education.