Never Forget Who You Are: Conversations about Racism and Identity Development
Rodney L. Hurst and Rudy F. Jamison Jr. Ed.D.
Canon Press Group (2020)
Reviewed by Robert Leon Davis for Reader Views (12/2020)
In “Never Forget Who You Are: Conversations About Racism and Identity Development,” written by Authors Rodney L. Hurst and Rudy F. Jamison Jr. ED.D, you’ll embark on an unusual journey. Both are Black men, but one journey is through the eyes of a 50-year-old person and the other a 75-year-old. An unusual vision, as one has essentially viewed the black diaspora starting before the advent of the civil rights movement and the other one after the movement. Both authors emphatically state that their journeys began in different places and times but with the same results, outlook, views, and moments! Being Black in any age is being Black!
To help not only the Black race, but ALL races comprehend fully the past and current discussion of systemic racism, the authors present historical contexts, personal anecdotes, and more importantly “possible” solutions to address this unique world dilemma. They observed that no matter what period of America’s timeline since its inception, the country has created a “caste” system. Its structure is based not only on power, but pigmentation as well. They further maintain that the institutional structures of current day America is an impediment for black people in general. The authors both declare that “to be black in America, and to not camouflage your blackness behind a veil of concession, is to perpetually resist the psychological contortion expected by a dominant White culture.”
Well, I’ll start this review by stating one thing right out the gate; this “work” blew my mind from the first page! Out of the hundreds of books I’ve read or reviewed, this book is the only book I actually used a yellow highlighter to assist me with. When I state “works,” that’s exactly how I would describe “Never Forget Who You Are” by Rodney L. Hurst and Dr. Rudy F. Jamison Jr. For me, most books are books, but this material and its contents, observations, proven clauses, and elegantly presented material is a work of ART!
I’m not able to present to the potential reader all that this book is, only that everyone, and including All races, should get this book. The syntax of the work is brilliantly written in a way that anyone would appreciate. The cadence just flows from one chapter to the next with none of what I called “hard breaks” (stays on track). The brilliancy of the work is you have two individuals from different decades of life presenting their unique total experiences. The “facts” presented are indisputable. The work isn’t “accusatory” in a bad way putting no one race down, but it isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade! And please note…this material isn’t a rant!
The various presentation of facts about how America not only exists, but currently operates will clearly open your eyes. This is precisely why I encourage White readers to examine the book. If you’re black you’ll understand not only the “fight” in being black, but the authors present various ways to “never deny self.” People of other races reading this will also have a better understanding of the complexities of racism as well. Lastly, This “work” should be required reading for all young people, Black or White in high school or higher education. A work of ART…..Five stars easily.