Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority

“Black people are not dark-skinned white people,” says advertising visionary Tom Burrell. In fact, they are much more. They are survivors of the Middle Passage and centuries of humiliation and deprivation, who have excelled against the odds, constantly making a way out of “No way!” At this pivotal point in history, the idea of black inferiority should have had a “Going-Out-of-Business Sale.” After all, Barack Obama has reached America’s Promised Land.Yet, as Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority testifies, too many in black America are still wandering in the wilderness. In this powerful examination of “the greatest propaganda campaign of all time”—the masterful marketing of black inferiority, aka the BI Complex—Burrell poses ten disturbing questions that will make black people look in the mirror and ask why, nearly 150 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, so many blacks still think and act like slaves. Burrell’s acute awareness of the power of words and images to shift, shape, and change the collective consciousness has led him to connect the contemporary and historical dots that have brought us to this crossroads.Brainwashed is not a reprimand—it is a call to action. It demands that we question our self-defeating attitudes and behaviors. Racism is not the issue; how we respond to media distortions and programmed self-hatred is the issue. It’s time to reverse the BI campaign with a globally based initiative that harnesses the power of new media and the wisdom of intergenerational coalitions. Provocative and powerful, Brainwashed dares to expose the wounds so that we, at last, can heal.

Community Review

  • This was a great book as it gave detailed information about the plight of African-Americans in light of media exploitation. I gave the rating of five stars because of its details on coming back from slavery to modern day . This topic is important to me because I am doing a research project that investigates why African-American emerging adult men have a low self image . What I appreciate about the book is the authors candid articulation of what he perceives as the denigration of African-Americans and his empire’s unapologetic assessment of how media has contributed to the dismantling of African-Americans true identity and humanity . What was challenging for me as I read was the tendency for the author to not detail other possibilities of why African-Americans do certain things . For instance, the thought of straightening one’s hair is thought to be connected to wanting to be white and I’m not sure if that’s always true. I do believe that there are some women in particular who are tender headed and just don’t want to go through the pain every day . I guess the other challenge that I had is when do we give ourselves permission to laugh at our own plight without feeling condemned ; :we have to fight the battle of racism all the time. With those insights and concerns I still would give this book a rating of five stars
  • For a white person, this book was hard to read, painful even, as Burrell dug deeper and deeper into the truth of how we, Americans, literally have been “Brainwashed!” This book is beautifully written, and such a education, an education in American history, not the whitewashed version.. A must read for European Americans who want to more deeper appreciate the diversity all around us.
  • Very heavy read. Blacks and Latinos are brainwashed due to the idiot box or just technology and we are not aware plus being passed down from gen to gen bad habits. This book will make you think twice on how you conduct yourself and thoughts. I feel like books like this should be read for kids going into middle school because that is the age where it can start. No book of knowledge is too much for any age. As a parent my 10 year old son is reading this book and his father is too. We encourage our son to be above the mess and these books help him understand why we do and say the things we say to him because this place called Babylon will not help him
  • We’re all brainwashed, but this book highlights the fact that whites are trained to think they are more attractive, more intelligent, more moral and that their lives have more value in this society. Blacks have been trained to believe the exact opposite and sadly whites have passed that propaganda torch to blacks to continue to perpetuate that idea. This book doesn’t point the finger at whites (which it easily could), but looks at the psychological effects of centuries of systematic abuse by whites and how it has caused us to contribute to our own self destruction. This should be requires reading to all blacks and be used as a guide to avoid all the traps set up for us all to fall into.
    Plus, it asks blacks to look carefully at all media and entertainment and asks what is really being said and is it putting me down or picking me up. Most black entertainers make their fortunes degrading themselves and the image of other blacks in this country and we should all distant ourselves from propaganda designed to make us laugh at our own suffering and reinforce white superiority. Dismissal is the most casual form of racism and every time I hear whites say “get over it” or “that was the past” it gives me the impression that they believe blacks don’t have minds and there are no psychological effects to centuries of subjugation, persecution, deprivation and incarceration. Read this book and don’t allow yourself to be the butt of anymore jokes about fried chicken, big dicks, bad parenting, poverty, crime or prison.
  • I got a friend who I let borrow this. He returned it back early and said was a little too much for him. He said if he really read the book the way he does most books he would be calling people out on the subliminal racism he now sees. For instance most rappers are paid to perform the role of a gangster thug or buffoon by their manager (who is white). Or how most black comedians at some point compare black people to white people and portray black people as aggressive and rude then compare white people as whiny and polite. You can see this in movies about crime how the black character is dressed like a crook and the white character is dressed in a suit. Its all entertainment and television but look at Michael Jackson and how quick the media created the image of a child molester with him. Black people have had an image made for them along with whites. Just like how you get the image of an alcoholic.What we see as normal prior to reading this book you will later see as what it truly is

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