Brainwashed: Challenging Black Inferiority
Arts and Culture

Now Read This: Brainwashed, Challenging Black Inferiority

Resistance is NOT futile: Burrell declares war on black self-loathing

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to share with my followers on Twitter that I had begun reading Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell. (You’re not following me? Why not? Go to One of my followers enthusiastically responded that she had just read the book and that, among other things, it moved her to more actively regulate the television programming she allows her children to watch. Then she tweeted a question that I felt was premature at the time: “What is the most important book you’ve read this year?”

My incredulous and amused reply (in 140 characters or less): “It’s only the first week of April! I haven’t read enough books to know which is the most important for the year!”

Well, here I am to publicly and officially acknowledge that I was wrong. Even though the month of April 2010 has yet to draw to a close, I know that Brainwashed is the most important book I will read this year. In fact, it may be the most important book I’ve read in the past decade. Furthermore, if you are an American who identifies as a black person in any way, regardless of your age, cultural background, economic status, level of education, religious beliefs or political affiliation, you must read this book.

Brainwashed‘s author is the founder and chairman emeritus of Burrell Communications Group LLC, the pioneering, black-owned,  Chicago advertising agency that remains a perennial on the Black Enterprise 100s Advertising Agency list. Burrell, an inductee of the Advertising Hall of Fame, is also the founder of The Resolution Project (, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting intra-racial dialogue and a community-based, new media “stop the brainwash” campaign.

If it isn’t yet clear what the title of Burrell’s book, the first product of The Resolution Project, is referring to, let me make it plain: the marketing communication pioneer intends to start an all-out campaign to undo four centuries of the most successful and insidious propaganda effort in American history; namely, that black people are inherently inferior.

Brainwashed is a sweeping, ambitious and valiant attempt to explain how this myth-accepted-as-truth–black inferiority or the “BI Complex”–is at the foundation of media, industry, politics, culture, literature and education for all Americans, and black people in particular. More important, the book illustrates how the success of this propaganda campaign–promulgated not just by American media and advertising, but also every area of human endeavor including science, education, medicine and religion–is at the root of every aspect of black dysfunction, self-destruction and underachievement in nearly every area of American life.