Stamped From The Beginning

By: Ines Eisenhour ’19

Going in with an open-mind, I had no idea what to expect from Ibram X. Kendi’s lecture at UNF. It was a school night. I had a lot of homework. I wasn’t entirely sure why I had insisted on going, but after hearing this man speak, it was evident that there was no better way to spend my evening. Mr. Kendi has a list of accolades longer than some essays I have been bold enough to turn in, including being a New York Times bestselling author and historian, winning the National Book Award in Nonfiction and currently working at American University as professor of History and International Relations and Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center. At first glance, Mr. Kendi is already a well-established and credible person in his field, but nothing compares to the first few minutes of hearing him speak. From the first word, I was hooked; I wanted to know everything he knew. I wanted to stay there forever and hear what he had to say.

His defining characteristic; however, is not his intelligence, or his achievement (or his natural manner of speech), but instead his bravery. The topic of his book and speech included “the definitive history of racism in America.” A touchy subject, to be sure, but he handled it with unbelievable surety and ease. He balanced his personal experience and knowledge with cold hard facts about our nation’s past. It was so eye-opening that such politically sensitive questions could be answered with irrefutable arguments and evidence. Without disclosing too much of the content of his actual discussion, I will state that he openly claimed that racism is tied to everything from economy to government and class. Mr. Kendi was ultimately unafraid to lay his heart on the line, as a proud black man who wanted to educate those who don’t understand the country’s predicament. For a listener from any political viewpoint, hearing someone like Mr. Kendi is a must-do, so I suggest that you, reader, find something cultural to attend. Whether it be a temporary art exposition on a contemporary issue in society or a speaker like Mr. Kendi, let’s put down our phones and do something to learn more about the important things in life.


Image courtesy of pxsphere CC0 Public Domain.