"Stamped from the Beginning" was not my first literary encounter that set out how deeply established unequal and racist systems were within the social, cultural, and legal framework within the United States empire and I doubt it will be the last. However, it was the first to set out that racist policies do not begin with ignorance or hate but instead that these policies are put in place to exploit some and benefit others. In order to justify these policies, racist ideas are put in place which then leads to ignorance/hate.
Something that stuck out was the racist mandate of "personal responsibility" because it was just so disconnected from reality. "Black people, especially poor Black people, needed to take "personal responsibility" for their socioeconomic plight and for racial disparities, and stop blaming racial discrimination for their problems, and depending on government to fix them." (458) This completely discounts how all of these problems were because of the dispossession, theft, and violence that Black Americans have faced from their forced entry into this country.
A small example is the prison system explained by the author of "The New Jim Crow," Michelle Alexander. Once you become part of the prison system, the system does everything in its power to bring you back in because American society cannot afford to lose its modern-day slave labor. You cannot go back to school because you are ineligible for certain grants, can’t get certain healthcare benefits/certain neighborhoods, can’t vote, can’t live with your family if they live in public housing. This leads to a concentration of poor people who have been ostracized from ever being productive members of society (something we view as positive and as indicative of a person's worth in modern-day America). Which leads to policymakers blaming the very victims of the system because once people fall from grace (from the “American Ideal” of being able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps) they become ghosts within our own society and become undeserving of help. It discounts that at every stage of American society, Black Americans have been disproportionately negatively affected.