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How to Be an Antiracist Ibram X Kendi S Concept Of Antiracism Reenergizes And Reshapes The Conversation About Racial Justice In America But Even Fundamentally, Points Us Toward Liberating New Ways Of Thinking About Ourselves And Each Other In How To Be An Antiracist, Kendi Asks Us To Think About What An Antiracist Society Might Look Like, And How We Can Play An Active Role In Building It In This Book, Kendi Weaves Together An Electrifying Combination Of Ethics, History, Law, And Science, Bringing It All Together With An Engaging Personal Narrative Of His Own Awakening To Antiracism How To Be An Antiracist Is An Essential Work For Anyone Who Wants To Go Beyond An Awareness Of Racism To The Next Step Contributing To The Formation Of A Truly Just And Equitable Society


10 thoughts on “How to Be an Antiracist

  1. says:

    It is only fitting that this book is being released after the past several weeks of racists attacks by politicians and mass shootings in the name of White Supremacy After witnessing these acts many Americans will say I m not like that, I m not a racist I don t have a racist bone in my body Ibram Kendi s newest book addresses that mindset In his follow up to Stamped from the Beginning The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Kendi argues that the dichotomy of either being a racis It is only fitting that this book is being released after the past several weeks of racists attacks by politicians and mass shootings in the name of White Supremacy After witnessing these acts many Americans will say I m not like that, I m not a racist I don t have a racist bone in my body Ibram Kendi s newest book addresses that mindset In his follow up to Stamped from the Beginning The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Kendi argues that the dichotomy of either being a racist or not a racist is a false one We must choose to be racist or antiracist Kendi tells the reader how to be an antiracist by using history and his own biography He chronicles his own personal evolution of espousing racist ideas at a young age to his transformation as an adult Kendi places himself amongst the five individuals that he profiles in Stamped and in turn challenges us to question our own racist views that we all espouse This is an extremely personal book not just from the author s standpoint but from my own Before reading his last book Stamped from the Beginning, I would have considered myself not a racist but realized as I read Stamped that I held many assimilationist views I also believed that I couldn t be a racist because I am Black In this book, one of Kendi s most effective chapters dispels the myth that Blacks can t be racist because they are a racial minority He effectively shows that Blacks hold racist views of other Blacks which have been passed down to us by racist Whites Ultimately he argues that people of all races White, Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American, etc can be racists But the good news is that being racist is not set in stone Kendi tells us that we can change and become antiracist Read his book so you can figure out how Just like Stamped from the Beginning, How to Be An Antiracist has changed my thinking for the better Overall, Kendi s writing is amazing and beautiful I especially loved his use of transitions between chapters, it makes the book hard to put down Thanks to One World and Net Galley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review HowToBeAnAntiracist NetGalleyFavorite QuotesThe only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it and then dismantle it THE GOOD NEWS is that racist and antiracist are not fixed identities We can be racist one minute and antiracist the next What we say about race, what we do about race, in each moment, determines what not who we are I no longer believe a Black person cannot be racist A racist idea is any idea that suggests one racial group is inferior or superior to another racial group in any way Review is also posted on Medium


  2. says:

    I appreciated this book and felt disappointed by it too, so if you want a non controversial review scroll over to something else for now I felt most grateful for Ibram Kendi s argument that you either are racist or antiracist and there s no real in between that by passively being non racist, you collude in racism by allowing racist policy and ideology to persist He applies this argument to several pertinent issues such as the racist nature of standardized testing, police brutality, interse I appreciated this book and felt disappointed by it too, so if you want a non controversial review scroll over to something else for now I felt most grateful for Ibram Kendi s argument that you either are racist or antiracist and there s no real in between that by passively being non racist, you collude in racism by allowing racist policy and ideology to persist He applies this argument to several pertinent issues such as the racist nature of standardized testing, police brutality, intersectionality and racism against Black women and Black queer folk, andI liked his vulnerability in sharing about his personal life and how it connects to the concepts raised throughout the book.I felt most disappointed by Kendi s claim that you can practice racism against white people For example, in the section of the book where he addresses colorism, he writes that I hardly realized my own racist hypocrisy I was turning the color hierarchy upside down, but the color hierarchy remained Dark people degraded and alienated Light people with names light bright, high yellow, redbone Kendi essentially equates dark skinned people s jokes about light skinned people to racism, which ignores the difference between prejudice and racism and how someone making jokes about a light skinned person does not carry the same repercussions at all as opposed to the entrenched colorism against dark skinned people that permeates society He also dedicates a whole chapter titled White that argues that stereotyping white people is colluding in anti Black racism which seemed like such a flawed argument, as my friend Bri tweets about here and writer Melanie Curry dispels in this succinct article about reverse racism, which is not a thing He goes on to write that people who make arguments similar to those of Curry disregard Black people s power, which I found a lackluster thought process Yes, Black people and people of color can accumulate power and use it in racist ways against fellow Black people and people of color, but this presence of power still exists within a system of white supremacy, so you can both possess power and be marginalized within the greater landscape of white supremacist racism While I feel glad that this book s rise in popularity will prompt people to takeexplicit action against racism, I feel somewhat distressed that people may equate prejudice against white people to racism against Black people and people of color As Goodreads user Raphael Nelson writes in his review, How to Be an Antiracist does appear to have a white audience in mind in certain sections e.g., the White chapter and does not explore the deeper reasons why Black people and people of color may have prejudice against white people For those interested inreading on this topic, I d highly recommend Why I m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo Lodge, Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde, and White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo Again, I feel grateful for a lot of Kendi s insights, such as his thoughts on internalized racism and its effects, though I d definitely hesitate to recommend this book on its own, even though that opinion will most likely provoke some reactions


  3. says:

    Someone lent this to me because they found it really useful and resourceful for thinking about antiracism especially in the context of doing organizing I did enjoy the reading the book but I also think personally I had been exposed to a lot of these same ideas already, especially by women of color activists organizers So while I think it s a really good book for anyone still trying to gleam out their own concepts of race and how to actively engage with racism, I didn t come away with that much Someone lent this to me because they found it really useful and resourceful for thinking about antiracism especially in the context of doing organizing I did enjoy the reading the book but I also think personally I had been exposed to a lot of these same ideas already, especially by women of color activists organizers So while I think it s a really good book for anyone still trying to gleam out their own concepts of race and how to actively engage with racism, I didn t come away with that much reading this Which I personally think is a positive and shows what a great job people who engage in antiracism work have been doing I know Kendi is less hopeful about the power of education awareness and I agree that it has limitations when it comes to just creating positive outcomes but I think it s really important work for allies to help them engage in a helpful and fruitful manner I actually also really liked the way Kendi traces his own evolution over time with regards to race and I think its quite helpful for making it easier for readers to engage with their own thinking on race without feeling the typical shame and defensive people can face when confronting their own ideology on race Anyway overall I really think it s a good read and would definitely recommend it to people who at this moment are also trying to figure out their own thinking on race and the best ways on engaging to help reduce the racial disparities rampant in the US


  4. says:

    Disclaimer I received an ARC via Netgalley Shortly after I finished this book, I put a quote from it up on the board in my classroom At one point, Kendi argues that white supremacy is also anti white and a form of genocide on whites This is in addition to the attacks on non whites The interesting thing is that the black students I use black because not all of the students are American citizens were all nodding their heads, and the while students were all WTF But that idea of challenge of Disclaimer I received an ARC via Netgalley Shortly after I finished this book, I put a quote from it up on the board in my classroom At one point, Kendi argues that white supremacy is also anti white and a form of genocide on whites This is in addition to the attacks on non whites The interesting thing is that the black students I use black because not all of the students are American citizens were all nodding their heads, and the while students were all WTF But that idea of challenge of re defining, defining, and expanding terms is, in part, the point of this excellent book Kendi contends that not racist isn t the term we should be using, that it is a true neutral a phrase, too defensive and lets people who say it off He says the term that is the opposite of racism is anti racism, and that is what we all should aim to be He includes himself in this, well for lack of a better term quest, and the book is also a chronicle of his becoming an antiracist While reading this, I kept thing of Coates Between the World and Me, and in many ways this book is a letter to all the world For Kendi also details intersectional anti racism, applying not only to feminism but also support of the LGBTQ community as well as classism this is where the white supremacy being anti white comes in He also dissects and challenges terms and ideas such as his discussion about microaggressions or the connection between racism and power He challenges you, as he challenges himself, to become antiracist


  5. says:

    I m going to need some time to properly review this but for now, GO READ THIS BOOK


  6. says:

    There is so much in Kendi s book that is useful and challenging One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist There is no in between safe space of not racist The claim of not racist neutrality is a mask for racism THIS BOOK IS ultimately about the basic struggle we re all in, the struggle to be fully human and to see that others are fully human The source of racist ideas was not ignorance and hate, but self interest There is so much in Kendi s book that is useful and challenging One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist There is no in between safe space of not racist The claim of not racist neutrality is a mask for racism THIS BOOK IS ultimately about the basic struggle we re all in, the struggle to be fully human and to see that others are fully human The source of racist ideas was not ignorance and hate, but self interest The language used by the forty fifth president of the United States offers a clear example of how this sort of racist language and thinking works Long before he became president, Donald Trump liked to say, Laziness is a trait in Blacks When he decided to run for president, his plan for making America great again defaming Latinx immigrants as mostly criminals and rapists and demanding billions for a border wall to block them He promised a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States Once he became president, he routinely called his Black critics stupid He claimed immigrants from Haiti all have AIDS, while praising White supremacists as very fine people in the summer of 2017 Through it all, whenever someone pointed out the obvious, Trump responded with variations on a familiar refrain No, no I m not a racist I m the least racist person that you have ever interviewed, that you ve ever met, that you ve ever encountered Trump s behavior may be exceptional, but his denials are normal When racist ideas resound, denials that those ideas are racist typically follow When racist policies resound, denials that those policies are racist also follow Denial is the heartbeat of racism, beating across ideologies, races, and nations It is beating within us Many of us who strongly call out Trump s racist ideas will strongly deny our own And here is the nub of what Kendi is getting at we have trouble seeing ourselves for what we are This may be a particular problem of liberal or should I say progressive white people who are often looking to have their friends of color reassure them of their lack of racism Kendi states the situation succinctly What s the problem with being not racist It is a claim that signifies neutrality I am not a racist, but neither am I aggressively against racism But there is no neutrality in the racism struggle The opposite of racist isn t not racist It is antiracist What s the difference One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an antiracist It may be because Kendi is black or it may be because racism against blacks is a particular feature both historically and now of the USA But other forms of racism and related prejudices Against Asians, Indigenous peoples Latin Americans Muslims Jews Irish Italians etc I do not regret seeing myself as black at such a young age I still see myself as black Even though race is not a strong biological category and the way in which we see race is mostly a mirage, society dictates that race is important Black people are constantly forced down by bad policy and ordered to uplift themselves again through good behavior We didn t attend the march in Washington that year but we cheered enthusiastically as the O.J Simpson verdict was read My father recalls that his white coworkers were baffled by the verdict and he and the other black workers had to excuse themselves to celebrate in another room It s not that we thought he was innocent of murder, but we felt that the justice system was farcorrupt We wanted revenge for the beating of Rodney just four years earlier We wanted justice for all the unarmed minorities who were beaten by cops on a daily basis Here is where I have the most difficulty with Kendi He says I represent only myself If the judges draw conclusions about millions of Black people based on how I act, then they, not I, not Black people, have a problem They are responsible for their racist ideas I am not I am responsible for my racist ideas they are not To be antiracist is to let me be me, be myself, be my imperfect self And I do not represent black people White individuals do not represent white people Yet, he seems to come close to solipsism as he believes his experiences ARE always ones that can be generalized for a complete view of racism Further, he takes this later in the book to pushing an analogy between racism and cancer I HAD TROUBLE separating Sadiqa s cancer from the racism I studied The two consumed my life over the final months of 2013 and during the better part of 2014 and 2015 OUR WORLD IS suffering from metastatic cancer Stage 4 Racism has spread to nearly every part of the body politic, intersecting with bigotry of all kinds, justifying all kinds of inequities by victim blaming heightening exploitation and misplaced hate spurring mass shootings, arms races, and demagogues who polarize nations shutting down essential organs of democracy and threatening the life of human society with nuclear war and climate change In the United States, the metastatic cancer has been spreading, contracting, and threatening to kill the American body as it nearly did before its birth, as it nearly did during its Civil War Having criticized the analogy, I do not dispute his assessment of the threat of racism and its ability to destroy much of what we hold dear about American life, democracy and common values So I will close with one of Kendi s uplifting statements THE GOOD NEWS is that racist and antiracist are not fixed identities We can be a racist one minute and an antiracist the next What we say about race, what we do about race, in each moment, determines what not who we are I used to be racist most of the time I am changing I am no longer identifying with racists by claiming to be not racist I am no longer speaking through the mask of racial neutrality I am no longer manipulated by racist ideas to see racial groups as problems I no longer believe a Black person cannot be racist I am no longer policing my every action around an imagined White or Black judge, trying to convince White people of my equal humanity, trying to convince Black people I am representing the race well I no longer care about how the actions of other Black individuals reflect on me, since none of us are race representatives, nor is any individual responsible for someone else s racist ideas


  7. says:

    Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.Okay, I worry about the ratings this book will get and whether or not they are truly honest North Americans have an extremely bad habit of being so far left that any criticism of commentary on sexism, racism, homophobia, etc means you re a racist misogynist homophobe etc I notice this book has straight 5 star reviews on Goodreads, many without commentary Why What about this book makes it deserving of five stars Because the topic is important Yes, it is But Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.Okay, I worry about the ratings this book will get and whether or not they are truly honest North Americans have an extremely bad habit of being so far left that any criticism of commentary on sexism, racism, homophobia, etc means you re a racist misogynist homophobe etc I notice this book has straight 5 star reviews on Goodreads, many without commentary Why What about this book makes it deserving of five stars Because the topic is important Yes, it is But was it executed in a manner deserving of five stars No, it wasn t I can anticipate the backlash I will get, already I can imagine the super Leftists raging about me being bothered by it insert whatever discriminatory stance they think I have, here I got this ARC from NetGalley, and I want to be honest with my review Part of that means not giving it five stars And I think it s important to mention I m not a far Right person either As Imam Tawhidi imamofpeace says Stay away from both the Far Left and the Far Right Keep a balance in all areas of life Disagreements are necessary and dialogue is healthy Maintain the peace So here is my straight from the middle honest review And let me start by saying that I really, really like Ibram X Kendi He s brilliant Anyway, onwards I don t think Anti Racist is a new term though the author seems to pitch it as something of his invention Anti hate as been floating around for a while, now there are a lot of groups called anti hate groups just do a quick google search.This book is strange because I feel like the idea and the layout of the ideas great chapter division, cool addition with the definitions is brilliant, but it s executed rather oddly Is it a memoir Is it a textbook Is it an informative narrative Is it an educational tool Or is it a place for storytelling lots of Christianity references that don t seem to completely interconnect I m not sure Even the definitions at the beginning of each chapter don t really say anything profound Here s an example Along with definitions for assimilationist and segregationist there was this definition Antiracist One who is expressing the idea that racial groups are equals and none needs developing and is supporting policy that reduces racial inequity.What This definition does not relate as an anti to the first two terms.And I agree racial groups are equals But there are plenty of white groups that need developing to improve themselves, for example And there are plenty of extremist racial groups that also need developing Everyone needs a little developing Or Biological antiracist one who is expressing the idea that races are meaningfully the same in their biology and there are no genetic racial differences.What My lack of melanin is genetic I don t understand Or Cultural Antiracist One who is rejecting cultural standards and equalizing cultural differences among racial groups.What does this even mean I tried to read the chapter to interpret it but I left Chapter 7 still confused.And I m not sure if I agree with space antiracism because I truly believe some spaces are not meant to be occupied by people of privilege That doesn t mean integration is banned, but I do believe some people believe equity involves private spaces for racial or sexuality groups When you ve spent years being marginalized and excluded from white spaces, who could blame you for searching for a protected racialized space And at the same time, I don t believe white spaces should be protected, because they re usually rooted in discrimination and not in a safe space for bonding Maybe I misunderstood this chapter I understand that reference to real experiences help develop lessons and learning, but I actually found the endless stories to be distracting from the educational message that I thought this book was meant to be about It seems to be advertised as an essay or a long TEDTalk on being anti Racist but perhaps it is actually a memoir of self discovery Maybe I entered this book with the wrong mindset Listen, I liked this book a lot But I didn t love this book This is not a book I would call a defining voice on anti Racism because it loses a bit of focus throughout and some messages are difficult to comprehend I wish it would have been executed differently I wish it wasinformative and less a narrative But that s me projecting my own needs on this text based on what I expected it to be I would have given it a 3.5 5 but since that s not possible, I m choosing to round down


  8. says:

    So great What an amazing human Kendi is His ability to reflect on his own racist actions and thoughts is profound I love his approach and think his insights are fantastic The use of memoir with the definitions of types of racism and antiracism are really smart I really enjoyed this book, though if you ve read Stamped from the Beginning his previous book you may find this one redundant or slightlyelementary If you haven t attempted Stamped because it s intimidating this might be a b So great What an amazing human Kendi is His ability to reflect on his own racist actions and thoughts is profound I love his approach and think his insights are fantastic The use of memoir with the definitions of types of racism and antiracism are really smart I really enjoyed this book, though if you ve read Stamped from the Beginning his previous book you may find this one redundant or slightlyelementary If you haven t attempted Stamped because it s intimidating this might be a better place to start


  9. says:

    Some cultures mandate that rape victims must be killed and adulterers stoned that females shouldn t be educated, drive, or show their faces in public Some cultures revere nature and strive to live in harmony with it while others endeavor to control it down to the chromosomal level and or pollute indiscriminately Some produce the Magna Carta and Shakespeare and others dissolve into violence and a failed state Despite these self evident facts, Ibram Kendi s postmodern foundational principle Some cultures mandate that rape victims must be killed and adulterers stoned that females shouldn t be educated, drive, or show their faces in public Some cultures revere nature and strive to live in harmony with it while others endeavor to control it down to the chromosomal level and or pollute indiscriminately Some produce the Magna Carta and Shakespeare and others dissolve into violence and a failed state Despite these self evident facts, Ibram Kendi s postmodern foundational principle is that we must regard all cultures as equal Even the countless articles about corporate and school cultures indicate that some are unhealthy some lead to poor performance others seem to foster happiness and productivity No, all cultures are decidedly not equal Kendi recants his youthful denunciations of promiscuity and teen pregnancy, drug dealing and gun violence in the Black community Astonishingly, he still regards these as features of Black culture, but now believes he was influenced brainwashed by white supremacy culture to regard them negatively He was right the first time the practices he mentions are harmful because they prevent individuals from realizing their potential and living purposeful lives that contribute to the common good The most base and venial behaviors, self indulgence see seven deadly sins have been denounced for millennia as anti social Conversely, a cross cultural regard for the virtuous and true, courageous self sacrifice for the benefit of others and for truth has endured until this quite recent and objectionable postmodern posture to which no one can truly subscribe that no behavior or quality should be regarded as superior to another It is universally agreed that one may play the flute well or poorly Similarly, one can conduct one s life well or poorly.Kendi s other significant assertion is that we must only regard individuals as such rather than individuals as members of groups, yet he refers to Black people as a group consistently We cannot ignore statistics While they can be used to distort, they can also be quite revelatory when specific categories are applied Kendi writes Since assimilationists posit cultural and behavioral hierarchy, assimilationist policies and programs are geared toward developing, civilizing and integrating a racial group to distinguish from programs that uplift individuals , which implies the policies that target Black and economically disadvantaged groups are misguided Kendi repeats this delineation between group and individual many times and contradicts himself just as often as he vacillates between group and individual causes and effects, not because I believe Blacknessis a meaningful scientific category but because our societies, our policies, our ideas, our histories, and our cultures have rendered race and made it matter Kendi ratifies the existence of the category while simultaneously urging its deconstruction.Kendi concedes that it took time for him to truly come to terms with the diversity within the group encompassed by the term Black The life experience of a person of African ancestry whose ancestors were free men and women in 18th century Boston and who currently occupies the top socio economic quintile is different from one whose African American ancestors didn t have the means and or wherewithal to leave the Deep South after historical enslavement McMillan Cottom s black black Both groups, however, diverge from the experience of 20th or 21st century immigrants and their descendants from the West Indies, Africa and the Americas ethnic black who enjoy the migrant advantage and comprise 2 3 of the Black students in the Ivy League, which Kendi doesn t mention Race is a baseless social construct, but ancestry does have genetic and epigenetic roots A Bantu is genetically distinct from a Mbuti.Kendi s insistence on referring to the Latinx category is equally problematic The Hispanic category didn t exist for census purposes until 1970 Until then, Mexican Americans, for example, were simply counted as White There is little beyond shared humanity to connect a German Chilean oligarch with an impoverished indigenous Quechua and an Afro Cuban loyal to the revolution in La Habana Within this absurd non category, predominant skin tones range from alabaster to eggplant, heights from towering to well under five feet They may not share a common language, foods, music, literature, etc The idea that these can somehow share a category when they arrive in the USA is laughably ignorant and begs for subdivision to evaluate obstacles to progress.Like many in the Critical Race Theory camp, Kendi attributes disparities in rates of school discipline and incarceration between White and Black to racism, an unexamined causation As an educator, when I read Kendi s descriptions of his behavior as a student, I see a precociously and unpleasantly oppositional and defiant kid Wherefore the anger at so young an age A preternatural sense of injustice at the age of seven or a character flaw Wrath is one of those seven deadlies Similarly, we are meant to consider the racism exposed by incarceration of African American males at five times the rate of whites It s widely held as a given that racism is a factor However, the FBI statistics indicate that the perpetrators of over half of all homicides committed in the USA are Black males, who constitute just 6% of the population That is one egregious statistic not often exposed because it challenges the prevailing narrative Kendi might also take a look at Harvard Law Review s May 2018 article on the role of Black politicians in striving to increase policing in their communities after too many years of insufficient police presence.Kendi is at his best when he instructs us lovingly regarding how to be antiracist Thankfully, he departs from DiAngelos s incendiary, horrifying and irrational declarations in the wretched White Fragility He counters the assertion that Blacks can t be racist because Black people don t have institutional power first by confessing his own racial biases and second by refusing to strip Black policymakers and managers of all their power To do otherwise is pernicious Racist ideas make Black people believe White people have all the power, elevating them to gods See that Harvard Law Review article cited above.Critical race and gender theory value personal experiencethan empiricism In keeping with that premise, Kendi ends the book by telling us that the metaphorically cancerous reading about and recalling racist experiences transformed into physical cancer for him and his family Perhaps, perhaps not Kendi s book may be worth a read, but only with a critical and informed eye


  10. says:

    With protests over George Floyd taking place as I type, this book could hardly betimely Kendi s intervention into current race debates is to expose any assumed position of neutrality as subterfuge there is and can be no position of non racist , colour blind , post racial , he argues the only viable opposition to racism is to be actively and consciously antiracist What makes this such a strong book is that it is also a confession Kendi s antiracist stance is hard won and actively st With protests over George Floyd taking place as I type, this book could hardly betimely Kendi s intervention into current race debates is to expose any assumed position of neutrality as subterfuge there is and can be no position of non racist , colour blind , post racial , he argues the only viable opposition to racism is to be actively and consciously antiracist What makes this such a strong book is that it is also a confession Kendi s antiracist stance is hard won and actively striven for Part memoir, he discusses his own upbringing and indifferent schooldays when he internalised anti black racism, when he grew up imbibing sexist and homophobic ideologies, and recounts with honesty his struggles at university to free himself from his own prejudices It s this humility combined with a scholar s critical intelligence his PhD was in African American studies that give this book its heft.While it is based on primarily the particularities of America s history of race based on chattel slavery and Kendi is himself the descendant of slaves , this is a book which speaks to other geographies and also other isms many of the arguments could be applied to sexism, for example, to offer another strand to activism Kendi is also attentive to intersectionality which, he generously admits, came to him relatively late as a doctoral student There may be some simplicities of analysis at times, but Kendi is a charismatic writer an inspiring, hopeful and heartfelt book based on honesty and intelligence