D. Watkins’ “The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America” is a jolt to the system. He describes growing up in Baltimore’s East side, where sudden death is a fact of life. If the criminals don’t get you, the cops just might. Watkins left the streets to become a teacher. His lesson plan is to make us understand that the “Beast” side didn’t just happen. It’s rooted in the black experience stretching back to the early 17th Century, the other history of America most of us never learned. After reading this book, ignorance is no longer an excuse.