Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority
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Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  340 ratings  ·  46 reviews
“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-Ou...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by SmileyBooks (first published 2010)
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This book provided an interesting analysis of the "brainwashing" that plagues the psyche of many black Americans. Definitely essential reading for anyone who is black and living in America, this book carefully weaves in the history of the black American community, and how deep rooted insecurities reach back into the period of slavery. Burrell’s thoughtful and important analysis of Hip Hop music and its dangerous and damning portrayal of light skinned black women as trophies is delivered in a man...more
Brian TramueL
Thought provoking, capable of starting a social revolution. Mr. Burrell goes beyond exposing the problems infecting our mental psyche by providing us with the why; Why we feel, think and believe the myth's, stereotypes and generalizations presented to us. Brainwashed provides many teaching moments. For me the BIGgest take away is to not become overly attached to an idea, thought, phrase or image; Because someone or something you trust says it, writes it or prints it doesn't make it real. Remain...more
Jim B
Aug 31, 2014 Jim B rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jim by: Mike Pingel
Shelves: cross-cultural
Burrell, an African American Advertising Hall of Fame inductee, tackles the popular African American culture of today over the myths that many blacks perpetuate by going along with, or at least not protesting. Stereotypes of beauty, sexuality, failures in family life, inability to control spending -- Each of these and other "myths" about black people have a chapter devoted to them. The origins of the myth are explored, and modern examples are discussed.

To his credit, Burrell asks why more black...more
Joi Reece
I must say that I quite enjoyed this book. Provocative and thought provoking!!

This book asserts that African Americans have been subjected to mental enslavement via brainwashing. A plan so sinister, that today’s black people accept it as reality and perpetuate it.

“African Americans have been conditioned to see themselves as powerless,” writes Burrell. It's almost like a modern day Pavlov experiment. Conditioning at its saddest supported by a multitude of interesting examples. The author display...more
Britany Rickett
Received this book at Howard University for the discussion with Mr. Burrell. I loved getting my book autographed. He has a lot of great insight in person so I can't wait to start on the book. I am a bulk book buyer and read in order so I am finally ready to get to this although I've had it for a few months.

Working in media, Tom Burrell is able to give his account at the professional level but also at the historical level and a deeper personal level. I admire how this book wasn't "preaching to t...more
Colleen Clarke
This book is very insightful and speaks about many of the issues that plague the African American and even Afro-Caribbean societies. I must agree that our mindset and lifestyles has to change, in order to affectuate positive changes. In order to change behavior, we have to change our belief system - placing more attention and priorities on our families and the importance of positive and beneficial changes - not to forget our neighbors. We can no longer continue to blame others for our current st...more
One of the best work of Black people that I have ever read. This book should be a wake up call to stop the inferiority of Black people. I applaud Thomas J. Burrell for having the courage to write this book. A must have book collection!
Tom Burrell is a successful marketing executive who turns his attention to the challenges and struggles in the African American community. He speaks as African-American to other African Americans, so for me as a white person it was like listening in on a conversation that most whites do not ever have a chance to hear. From Burrell's perspective many of the problems plaguing poor, urban black communities (such as gun violence, high school drop out rates, overly sexual musical lyrics, teenage preg...more
This book has definitely enlightened me. I can definitely understand all of the propaganda used to brainwash young African American minds. This stuff is real and has been going on for years. I really just love the fact that Tom Burrell uses historical evidences. He is absolutely right, we do need to wake up and try our hardest to break free from our slave like minds. I would read this book again and recommend for anyone no matter what race to read it and help others to understand what's going on...more
As a advertising executive, Burrell has a unique perspective in detailing how Black Inferiority has been sold with masterful skill and technique since the founding of the United States.

His incisive statements on many of the failings of American Black society and the root causes for those shackles is remarkably expressed.

You might not put the book down and walk away mad (you might), but will have a greater understanding of the intrinsic actions and continued behaviors that thwart the vast major o...more
Catherine Richmond
It made me think. And that's high praise for a sermon, a song, or a book. It made me think.
-Jamaica survived slavery and colonialism. Despite a black majority, Jamaica struggles with poverty, unemployment, fractured families, violence - many of the problems Burrell attributes to BI.
-Chinese workers brought to the western US to build railroads were treated like slaves. Yet Chinese-Americans today seem to have overcome early racism.
-Native Americans suffered violence, racism, break-ups of family...more
I had mixed feeling about reading this book based on the title. I thought it was a book about how blacks are victims, but it was not. The author details how we are affected by our history in the United States in detail. Mr. Burrell gives great insight about how we can begin to make changes in our way of thinking to improve the lives of blacks. If you think you are inferior this thought process will become your reality.
Think of your most deeply rooted and ill-serving personal traits: spending too much money on items you can't really afford, accepting violence as a way of life, lack of self-esteem, difficulty with intimacy, and poor diet, among others. In your heart you don't like what you see, know you can do and be better, but the journey is long and arduous, and fraught with a multitude of reasons not to change. Hard, right?
Well, now imagine that you belong to an entire group of people who for centuries hav...more
I felt this book was thought-provoking. Many of the things Burrell discusses are things I've heard discussed around the table when I was growing up. I can relate to a lot of the topics in the book and found myself nodding my head often. The only problem I have with a book like this is that when you're done reading it, what do you do? I don't think Burrell wants to leave readers with the impression that "well folks, that's it....we're toast!" but how do you turnaround a mindset that doesn't even...more
I think this book is a must read for the Brown community. It's gives a detailed explanation of the propaganda used to enslave the minds of our people from the moment our ancestors arrived in this county as slaves. This is a very mind opening book that will help our people begin to reverse the myth of inferiority.
This book introduces many interesting ideas. However, as all propaganda does, it skews the information presented in one direction -- the direction of "black as victim." There are so many wonderful books out there that show the plight of the black Americans as success stories, that should be read right alongside this book in order to get a real clear view of black society. I read this with my 10th graders, and all they seemed to pull from it were bad ideas about their culture. I paired it with Th...more
Sep 06, 2010 Cecile rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to help break the cycle of racsim
Although a bit repetitive, Burrell provides the kind of language and history that would make this book a good text for our youth, of any race.

Too many think that because slavery ended in the mid 1800s, the psychic and economic scars are also in the past.

Not enough time has past, and not enough people of all races have learned that the rationalizations for whites being so dehumanizing has been as well integrated into our society as is Christianity.

It will take centuries, unfortunately, for the...more
Aug 10, 2011 Tim added it
I was expecting an academic analysis of how media portrayals of African Americans have impacted race relations and the economic, social and educational opportunities of African Americans in the United States. And this is certainly present in the book, but it is not the focus. The book is really written as a sort of self-help book for the the African American community. Certainly optimistic, and there were some things in here I hadn't considered such as the down sides to integrating schools. Read...more
This book truly opened my eyes to Black American culture. Tom Burrell takes an advertiser's perspective on the myth of black inferiority and how Americans (regardless of race) use this myth to rationalize the atrocities and injustices forced upon the Black American people. What I found truly interesting about this book is that it could be applied to every minority group and how it gave a historical context to the current plight that Black Americans face.

To me, a mark of a good book pushes one's...more
Hugely important read. Also a good, clear and concise historical introduction for those who want to learn more about the astronomical affect of cultural oppression that's still ruining black people's lives. I wouldn't say I was this book's target audience, this is very much written to inspire and motivate people of colour (and rightly so), I would love to know some of the reactions from black feminists, however particularly when it comes to Burrell's theories on 'Studs and Sluts' and his views o...more
Mar 04, 2014 Erica added it
Excellent. A MUST read.
Raya F
One of those books that makes you question the choices that seemed so innocent. After reading this book I have eschewed most reality TV (do I really want my child to think it's acceptable to throw punches when she doesn't agree) and been more conscious about how and what I say around my children.

This book isn't easy to read and covers some things that other tomes related to race cover (relationships, sex, employment) but this book presents the information as a sell so that Blacks can see how far...more
Ashley Williams
Very thought provoking and eye opening read. Critical thinking is a must while reading this. Tom Burrell gave great insight and research for the different topics in this book. I recommend this to anyone who wants to gain knowledge on the subject of the brainwashing of the African American race.
Panashe M.
A must read for anyone interested in American 19th and 20th century history, racism and the racial apparatus employed by the system to keep blacks down. Magnificently written, well-researched, intriguing and thought provoking. Would have gotten 5 stars but I didn't quite agree with his plan of action, or the use of Barack Obama as a symbol of what blacks can achieve - but that's due to my objections with mister Obama
Devin Munro
Very interesting book. Explaining the reasoning for the way some and not all African Americans people think with historical information to back it up. This book opened my mind to the little things that I do and allow myself to be involved with and how that affects me negatively.
This book pretty much lays the historical groundwork of the black inferiority myth in the USA. A fast read and very important work. This book is the beginning of a new mindset to arise. Very thought provoking and insightful, I highly recommend this book!
Karen Davis
Burrell makes it plain in connecting the traumas during slavery to the contemporary traumas inherit in our conditions resulting in what he calls Black Inferioty Complex. This is a good companion read to Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome.
it was a good read , but definitely takes an interesting view on things; felt like I was reading a book about the character from "In Living Color" who's in prison and every aspect of their being is driven down to the fact their black..
This is a great book. It puts an understanding the complex of black people of today. I wish I would have read this book years ago. I will definitely pass this book to my younger brother who is in high school.
I wanted this to be better than it was - it seemed more like a long and complicated pitch rather than an academic argument. I found it to be pretty disappointing but still found plenty of great points.
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Brainwashed: Erasing the Myth of Black Inferiority

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“In the ‘60s and early ‘70s, we paid lip service to being black and proud, but the sudden conversion was not supported by the necessary psychological machinery to make the change permanent. Even today, we have woefully inadequate countermeasures, no permanent cultural mechanisms to undo what a 400-year marketing campaign has achieved.” 0 likes
“As industrial jobs began disappearing from cities, many black men found themselves back in positions of economic helplessness, without the kinds of jobs that allowed a man to support a family. To survive, many families turned to the government’s welfare system for sustenance. In her commentary, “Black Females Raising Black Males,” Dr. Arlett Malvo described the ramifications of the welfare state on black” 0 likes
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