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How to Be an Antiracist
by Ibram X. Kendi

Published: 2019-08-13
Hardcover : 320 pages
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a “groundbreaking” (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves.

“The most courageous book to date on the problem ...
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Introduction

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a “groundbreaking” (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves.

“The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.”—The New York Times

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 it's 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 possibilites—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their posionous 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.

Praise for How to Be an Antiracist

“Ibram X. Kendi’s new book, How to Be an Antiracist, couldn’t come at a better time. . . . Kendi has gifted us with a book that is not only an essential instruction manual but also a memoir of the author’s own path from anti-black racism to anti-white racism and, finally, to antiracism. . . .  How to Be an Antiracist gives us a clear and compelling way to approach, as Kendi puts it in his introduction, ‘the basic struggle we’re all in, the struggle to be fully human and to see that others are fully human.’ ”—NPR

“Kendi dissects why in a society where so few people consider themselves to be racist the divisions and inequalities of racism remain so prevalent. How to Be an Antiracist punctures the myths of a post-racial America, examining what racism really is—and what we should do about it.”Time

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of August 2019: Most people will tell you that racism is all about hatred and ignorance. In How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi's follow-up to his National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning, he explains that racism is ultimately structural. Racism directs attention away from harmful, inequitable policies and turns that attention on the people harmed by those policies. Kendi employs history, science, and ethics to describe different forms of racism; at the same time, he follows the events and experiences of his own life, adapting a memoir approach that personalizes his arguments. This is a very effective combination, fusing the external forces of racism with Kendi's own reception and responses to that racism—the result will be mind-expanding for many readers. Kendi's title encompasses his main thesis: simply not being racist isn't enough. We must actively choose to be "antiracist," working to undo racism and its component polices in order to build an equitable society. To read this book is to relate to the author as an individual and realize just how much we all have in common. As Kendi writes: race is a mirage, assigning an identity according to skin color, ignoring the individual. --Chris Schluep, Amazon Book Review

Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

From the author's website:

1. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi shares his own experience with racist thinking. How does his honesty help give us space to acknowledge and name our own racist behaviors and attitudes?
2. Kendi writes, “The only way to undo racism is to constantly identify it and describe it—and then dismantle it.” Why does he believe we need to call out racism when we see it, even if it can be uncomfortable to identify? ?
3. The book’s central message is that the opposite of “racist” isn’t “not racist.” The true opposite?of “racist” is antiracist. “The good news,” Kendi writes, “is that racist and antiracist are not fixed identities. We can be racist one minute and an antiracist the next.” What does it mean to have to constantly reaffirm your identity as an antiracist? Is there any benefit to the fact that you can’t just decide you are “not racist” or an antiracist and be done with it? ?
4. What is the first step you, personally, will take in striving to be an antiracist? How will you check yourself and hold yourself accountable if you notice you, or someone else, is being racist? ?
5. Kendi thinks that we should assess candidates as being racist or antiracist based on what ideas they are expressing and what policies they are supporting—and not what they say is in their bones or their heart. Do you agree with him? Why or why not? ?
6. Anyone who values immigrants from European countries and devalues immigrants from Latin America is guilty of racism. Have you ever been guilty of this type of racism? Discuss the unique resilience and resourcefulness people possess if they leave everything in their native country behind and immigrate to another, as Kendi examines in the chapter on Ethnicity. ?
7. There’s a stronger and clearer correlation between levels of violent crime and unemployment levels than between violent crime and race, but that’s not the story policymakers have chosen to tell. Discuss why you think this is. How might our society and culture change if policymakers characterized dangerous Black neighborhoods as dangerous unemployed neighborhoods? ?
8. Why do you think it is so hard for people to not assess other cultures from their own cultural standards? How does doing this trap people in racist ideas? ?
9. Inequities between Light and Dark African Americans can be as wide as inequities between Black and White Americans. How have you seen colorism play out in real life and/or in the media? ?
10. Kendi writes, “White supremacist is code for anti-human, a nuclear ideology that poses an existential threat to human existence.” How are white supremacists and their ideology actually harmful to all of humanity—including white people? ?
11. Kendi makes the case that to be antiracist, one must stand against all forms of bigotry. Why is standing against other bigotries so essential to standing against racism? ?
12. Kendi closes the book comparing racism and cancer. What do you think of this comparison? ?
13. Kendi believes we can defy the odds, heal society of racism, and create an antiracist society. Do you? Why is hope so central to the antiracist movement?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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Member Reviews

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by jahnbarlow (see profile) 12/12/21

 
  "The book appears to be at cross purposes with its intended aim, to end racism"by thewanderingjew (see profile) 05/11/21

How To Be An Anti-Racist, Ibram X. Kendi, author and narrator
So, how does one write a review about a book that is about racism, when the author appears to be a racist. How does one write a
... (read more)

 
by Scoleross (see profile) 04/15/21

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