How to Be an Antiracist
by Ibram X. Kendi
Hardcover- $14.75

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a “groundbreaking” ...

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  "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 review about a book about racism, when the author accuses anyone who disagrees with his theories of being a racist? How does one write a review about a book about racism when the author’s view is so one-sided that even when he acknowledges that there might be Black racism, he blames that on White racism? I’ll tell you how one writes it, with great trepidation!
Anyone who challenges this author is immediately charged with racism. Kendi has set out to prove that racism is systemic and that White people, can’t help themselves, they are inherently racist. If a White person does not think he is racist, that is the sure sign that he definitely is a racist. He has devised the ultimate “ad hominem” argument. He can’t be wrong. He is completely in control of a narrative that has taken hold of the masses in what was once a country that supported the free exchange of ideas, but now supports a “cancel culture” in which only some ideas can be freely exchanged. The ultimate effort seems to support the creation of a different group with power, under the guise of the effort to create equity, rather than to create a more equal playing field for all.
I recently watched a video of a BLM/Antifa march in which they intimidated an immigrant, and shamed him publicly, and then destroyed his business because they decided he was a racist and therefore worthless and worthy of such attacks and intimidation. What kind of an example did the thousands that were protesting that day shouting , “Make the world black!”, set for America or for the idea of equity? The hateful and racist message they were shouting went above the heads of those who were marching and was ignored by the press! The idea of such activism seems perfectly acceptable to Kendi.
Stating that Jews were not allowed in certain schools, businesses, clubs, neighborhoods, just like the blacks, is rejected as an argument because they are light skinned and can become White. Therefore, they get no credit for building their own communities where they were accepted. It is verboten and racist to acknowledge anything that was unjust in the White community when he is discussing his community of color. Kendi rarely explains the history of slavery regarding the African tribes that were at war with each other. He rarely explains that they had their own slaves. Those tribes actively cooperated with slave traders, capturing Africans to gain power and prestige. They sold their own Africans for money! This information is not as important it seems, when he discusses our history of racism.
He tries to compare and contrast the two ideas of racism and antiracism at the front of each chapter on many subjects such as the body, biology, culture, power, sexuality, survival and more. Some of his explanations were incomprehensible to me, some lived in the realm of some fantasyland that I never inhabited.
I taught in what was called Special Service schools when I was a newly graduated college student. I discovered that the parents supported education for their children. However, the streets raised many of them. Every sin of the Black population simply cannot be blamed on Whites, and that is what this man, who teaches our future leaders, is doing. He is inciting protest and activism for reasons that are not as clear as he suggests. He seems to only read and quote from books that are about hate and prejudice. He believes that it is necessary to correct the problems with the newly suggested term equity, instead of equality, to give his community a boost with some special privileges to help them achieve the same power as the Whites, which has some justification, but he ignores the fact that all past efforts to do that, have failed over the last 7 decades. Affirmative action, Welfare, Medicaid are all efforts to create equity that have not succeeded, yet he doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that they could have created equity but did not.
He attributes the failures in his community to the White community's inability to be anti-racist. Regarding the disproportionate number of criminals in his community, he believes it is not because they commit more crimes, but because they are more likely, than their White counterparts, to be arrested for the same crime. It is not because they commit more crimes, but because of tightened criminal laws that more adversely affect them. So, I guess, it stands to reason, if crime is decriminalized, they won’t be committing crimes and won’t be arrested.
Kendi basically accuses Whites of “racializing” everything, of wanting his community to become White. He accuses some Whites of trying to become Black in order to reject racism, but he says that, too, is racist. He approves of safe spaces, but only for some people. He claims that this is not a world of many races, but a world of the Human Race. Then he constantly divides us by expounding about our differences and our races, ad nauseum, dividing us into racial categories, as he uses every variation of the word race that he can think of, even a word I never heard before, “racialized”.
Every day we are told that Black Lives Matter; there are signs on the streets, signs on placards, protest marches to prove it. No other lives matter as much for they are not oppressed as much. You cannot say that Blue Lives, White lives, Yellow and Red lives, also matter, for that is somehow a racist idea. I suppose it is presumed that people of lighter skin color, have an advantage. They can blend in, assume “White privilege”, and therefore, it is racist for them to demand the same support. Yet, Kendi himself, came from a very comfortable background, with what some might consider “Black Privilege”. He had two loving parents who were both educated and successful. So where was the inequity he so profoundly discusses? He suffered from little of it, graduating from fine schools and obtaining employment without problems.
Kendi, who changed his name from Ibram Henry Rogers to Ibram Xolani Kendi, because he did not like the racial association of the name Henry, chose Xolani for his middle name, which means peace, and Kendi, as his last name, which means loved one. Yet I did not find that his book preached either peace or love in great measure. It was more antagonistic and dwelled upon activism, not peaceful protest. Kendi identifies as black, questions why his school only had one black teacher, questions whether or not the teachers feel his emotional pain or are concerned with it, but he never questions his reasoning. Was the behavior only directed toward black students, were there qualified teachers of color who applied to work at his school? Kendi’s main thrust, in all his arguments, seems to support overt activism to correct the injustices he has outlined, the injustices the White community must work to correct.
He uses the word race in so many forms, and so many times, that one has to wonder “if innocence protests too much!” He seems to be channeling Lenin who said “A lie told often enough becomes the truth”. He seems to be searching for anything negative he can find and then conflates the issue to blame racism and White people. It is always the fault of White people that Blacks fail in school, the fault of White people that Blacks die at a younger age, the fault of White people that they are in prison, the fault of White people that they die younger, don’t get adequate health care, have a higher incidence of infant mortality. He does not acknowledge that expectant mothers are often too young to know how to seek medical care, they are ill equipped to care for a child, there is no husband, they have to leave school and miss out on an education because of their own choice, not the choice of a White person.
Kendi proclaims that we are all of the human race but he then blames everything on race, and if anyone did anything that ever offended him, throughout history and his life, he ascribes it to racism and/or a racist in the body of his teacher, a cop, a landlord, an employer, and especially Trump, totally disregarding the racist Democrat Byrd who rode with the KKK, and the terribly racist statements that came out of Biden’s mouth and Kamala’s accusation of racism against Biden. He cherry picks his arguments to present his side, and no other, in the same way that Wilkerson did with her book “Caste”.
If America is such a bad place for people of color, why are people of color begging to come into this country? He attempts to “white-wash” all problems in the community of color by blaming it on racism and rarely addresses personal responsibility for some of the failures. He basically absolves them from all unacceptable behavior because it comes from the White community’s influence on them. He blames the White community for demanding that the Black community become White in speech, dress and mannerisms, disregarding the fact that if someone dresses in a certain way, acts aggressively in their manner or speaks incomprehensibly, they will encourage negative reactions. There are customs that we all follow as Americans, even if we wish to acknowledge theirs.
He discusses the fact that his culture needs equity, that they need a boost with some special privileges to help them achieve the same power as Whites have. He claims that it has not been provided. He does not recognize Welfare programs, Medicaid, Affirmative Action, Section 8 Housing, etc., and the myriad other programs that have been attempted but have largely failed. He attributes the failure to the White community's inability to be anti-racist. He basically accuses them of “racializing” everything, as he supports safe spaces only for some people, that he believes are more deserving. Then he tries to reassert his belief that we are all of one race, the human race, but he fails. He is like the parent who proclaims, “do as I say, not as I do!”

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