Length: 320 pages
Audiobook Length: 10 hours and 43 minutes
First Published: 2019
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Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism—and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At its core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.
Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.
Quotes from How to Be An Antiracist
The opposite of racist isn’t ‘not racist.’ It is ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.
Like fighting an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.
The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist.
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.
Denial is the heartbeat of racism, beating across ideologies, races, and nations. It is beating within us.
About Ibram X. Kendi
Ibram X. Kendi is a historian, author, professor, journalist, and activist. His works include The Black Campus Movement, Stamped from the Beginning, Stamped, and How to Be an Antiracist. Kendi is the founding director of The Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University and a professor of history and founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. Visit the author’s website →