How to be an antiracist

Ibram X. Kendi

Book - 2019

""The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it -- and then dismantle it." Ibram X. Kendi's concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America -- but even more 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. I...n this book, Kendi weaves 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." --

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Subjects
Genres
Autobiographies
Published
New York : One World [2019]
Edition
First Edition
Language
English
Physical Description
viii, 305 pages ; 19 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages [243]-286) and index.
ISBN
9780525509288
0525509283
Main Author
Ibram X. Kendi (author)
  • Definitions
  • Dueling consciousness
  • Power
  • Biology
  • Ethnicity
  • Body
  • Culture
  • Behavior
  • Color
  • White
  • Black
  • Class
  • Space
  • Gender
  • Sexuality
  • Failure
  • Success
  • Survival.
Review by Booklist Reviews

"When we realize old words do not exactly and clearly convey what we are trying to describe, we should turn to new words," writes Kendi, winner of the National Book Award for Stamped from the Beginning (2016), in his memoir-with-history about confronting personal racism and embracing antiracism. Accordingly, to contextualize his experience as a Black youth, budding scholar, ethicist, and activist, he defines different kinds of racism (biological, behavioral) and describes antiracist policies and terms in light of racial strife today. While admirably fit for agitating discussion, some terms are confusing and feel labored, like Kendi's hyphenated identifiers: gender-racism, queer-racism, class-racism, space-racism. And his descriptions of his life in Queens, New York, Manassas, Virginia, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, seem structured to set himself up as proof of his sociological declaratives. (He decided to live in a poor neighborhood because he "believed culture filtered upward, that Black elites, in all our materialism, individualism, and assimilationism, needed to go to the ‘bottom' to be civilized.") Kendi does successfully model self-examination and inspires readers to consider whether ignorance or self-interest drives racist policies into reality. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Kendi follows up his National Book Award-winning and New York Times best-selling Stamped from the Beginning by drawing on ethics, history, law, and science, not to mention personal narrative, to consider what an antiracist society might look like. Not colorblind, not nonracist, but antiracist; like a self-help book for society at large. Get ready to discuss. Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

In this sharp blend of social commentary and memoir, Kendi (founder, Antiracist Research & Policy Ctr., American Univ.) expands on ideas introduced in his award-winning book, Stamped from the Beginning. Here, the author argues that segregationists believe that other races are intrinsically inferior while assimilationists believe that a poor environment has made people of different races weaker and in need of uplift. Antiracism, or the concept that all races are equal and that only racist policies keep people of color oppressed, is what we must strive for, but that's easier said than done. As a black child, Kendi watched with rage as his white teachers favored white students. At 17, he delivered a speech that bemoaned black culture, and as a college student, he took solace in the antiwhite teachings of the Nation of Islam. Finally, as a professor with an antiracist mind-set, Kendi is ready to spread his message, his stories serving as a springboard for potent explorations of race, gender, colorism, and more. VERDICT With Stamped from the Beginning, Kendi proved himself a first-rate historian. Here, his willingness to turn the lens on himself marks him as a courageous activist, leading the way to a more equitable society. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/19.]—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal & Library Journal Copyright 2019 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The essential introduction to antiracism as a concept; Kendi weaves together lessons with his own experiences to create a practical guide for readers. Copyright 2021 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Kendi follows his National Book Award–winning Stamped from the Beginning with a boldly articulated, historically informed explanation of what exactly racist ideas and thinking are, and what their antiracist antithesis looks like both systemically and at the level of individual action. He weaves together cultural criticism, theory (starting each chapter with epigraph-like definitions of terms), stories from his own life and philosophical development (he describes his younger self as a "racist, sexist homophobe"), and episodes from history (including the 17th-century European debate about "polygenesis," the idea that different races of people were actually separate species with distinct origins). He delves into typical racist ideas (e.g. that biology and behavior differ between racial groups) and problems (such as colorism), as well as the intersections between race and gender, race and class, and race and sexuality. Kendi puts forth some distinctive arguments: he posits that "internalized racism is the true Black-on-Black crime," critiquing powerful black people who disparage other black people and racializing behaviors they disapprove of, and argues that black people can be racist in their views of white people (when they make negative generalizations about white people as a group, thereby espousing the racist idea that ethnicity determines behavior). His prose is thoughtful, sincere, and polished. This powerful book will spark many conversations. Agent: Ayesha Pande, Pande Literary. (Aug.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A best-selling author, National Book Award-winner and professor combines ethics, history, law and science with a personal narrative to describe how to move beyond the awareness of racism and contribute to making society just and equitable.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Combines ethics, history, law, and science with a personal narrative to describe how to move beyond the awareness of racism and contribute to making society just and equitable.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

#1 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 ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—The New York Times Book Review, Time, NPR, The Washington Post, Shelf Awareness, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus ReviewsAntiracism 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.