Stamped From the Beginning - Part Two: Thomas Jefferson - Chapters 7-9 Summary & Analysis

Ibram X. Kendi
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Summary

Thomas Jefferson was born in 1743, around the same time as the birth of a new intellectual era: the Enlightenment. Enlightenment thinkers "started secularizing and expanding the racist discourse throughout the colonies" (79). The etymology of the term "enlightenment" derives its base from the word "light," thus, these European and White American intellectuals positioned themselves as the bringers of light and knowledge to a "'dark' world" (80). As such, "light [...] became a metaphor for Europeanness, and therefore Whiteness" (80). Colonial thinkers such as Benjamin Franklin then became accustomed to associating "lightness and Whitenss and reason, on the one hand and [...] darkness and Blackness and ignorance, on the other" (81).

In 1735, Swedish Enlightenment thinker Carl Linnaeus developed early systems of human and animal classification which distinguished humans into four separate racial species. Other contemporary thinkers developed further hierarchies within those four categories which marked...

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