2 out of 4 stars
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Racial tensions in the United States are stirred up now, and white supremacy is being perpetuated both overtly and covertly. Reginald Stanley Sinkler, a retired New York City teacher, offers an antidote to white supremacy in his book, White Supremacide: The Facts Of History, Known To Be Lethal To White Supremacy. The book outlines the tenets of white supremacy and exposes their roots in historical ignorance.
The existence of genetic white supremacy is not supported by history. The 16th-century Greek colonizers were quite taken with the people of Africa. They revered African schools as the first known organized education system. In fact, Sinkler invokes Plato, recalling the shame he expressed when comparing Greek schools to the superior Egyptian versions. Africa was not a remedial, backward civilization in need of a cultural upgrade. African people and their innovations were respected and emulated by the early Greek colonizers.
Sinkler debunks the basic assumptions of white supremacy, one by one. Dark skin color, believed by white supremacists to indicate inferiority, proves to be a genetic adaptation necessary for survival in the intense sun—just one example of the many distortions that justified slavery, colonization and other forms of racial inequality.
White Supremacide concludes with 25 antidotes to racist beliefs as well as some guidance for talking to people with racist views. Sinkler wisely encourages reflective listening and a soft touch. Rather than listing historical facts, be curious about others’ beliefs and invite them to talk about the historical origins of their claims. Realizing one’s own beliefs have a flimsy foundation is a better change agent than being preached to.
The book’s content is compelling, but the technical problems interfere with the reading experience. Structurally, the book is chaotic. It contains no Table of Contents and the section fonts and formatting are inconsistent, so the reader can easily become disoriented. The author overuses tools of emphasis, such as font size, bolding, capitalization, underlining, ellipses, and exclamation points. This defeats the purpose by placing emphasis on almost everything.
The book was not professionally edited; I found over 10 significant punctuation errors in the first few pages. The chronic comma overuse was distracting and created unnecessary pauses, making the reading laborious. One nearly-200-word sentence required 4 or 5 readings to navigate the punctuation landmines and serial prepositional phrases. In the end, the meaning was still unclear.
I would have appreciated the inclusion of references to accompany the historical content. I don’t doubt the author’s historical claims, and I know much of his information is available in recorded history. The addition of references would lend more credibility to the work.
I admire the effort to launch a full-scale, historical response to white supremacist beliefs. Unfortunately, the book’s assets are overshadowed by its presentation and editing problems. Given the assets and liabilities, I rate White Supremacide 2 out of 4 stars. I recommend the book to anyone who isn’t easily distracted by technical issues and is interested in African history or the origins of racism.
This is an important work, so I encourage the author to obtain a professional editor and include some sources. I most appreciated Sinkler’s advice for engaging with others’ extreme beliefs. If we could all talk with others in this way, hate might begin to dissolve, one conversation at a time—and the author’s vision of a day when “racial respect is the universal norm,” might begin to emerge.
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