How to Be an Antiracist

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the Nationwide E book Award–successful creator of Stamped from the Starting comes a “groundbreaking” (Time) method to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves.

“Essentially the most brave guide up to now on the issue of race within the Western thoughts.”—The New York Occasions (Editors’ Selection)

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—The New York Occasions E book Overview, Time, NPR, The Washington Put up, Shelf Consciousness, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Evaluations

Antiracism is a transformative idea that reorients and reenergizes the dialog about racism—and, much more basically, factors us towards liberating new methods of fascinated about ourselves and one another. At its core, racism is a robust system that creates false hierarchies of human worth; its warped logic extends past race, from the best way we regard folks of various ethnicities or pores and skin colours to the best way we deal with folks of various sexes, gender identities, and physique sorts. Racism intersects with class and tradition and geography and even adjustments the best way we see and worth ourselves. In How you can Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers via a widening circle of antiracist concepts—from probably the most primary ideas to visionary potentialities—that may assist readers see all types of racism clearly, perceive their toxic penalties, and work to oppose them in our programs and in ourselves.

Kendi weaves an electrifying mixture of ethics, historical past, regulation, and science together with his personal private story of awakening to antiracism. That is a necessary work for anybody who needs to transcend the attention of racism to the subsequent step: contributing to the formation of a simply and equitable society.

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  1. Kelly C

    I ordered three copies, as we were using this text to support professional development. The exterior of the books were as expected, very clean with no blemishes. The book itself is full of thought-provoking and robust content. I actually bought the Audible copy as well to bolster my absorption of the material discussed. I found the content to be very valuable, and it elicited excellent conversation and eye-opening revelations regarding policies that have just been accepted as standard in our society. Because it is so robust, I will go through the text a second time in order to assure that I have understood and absorbed the content to the degree in which it was intended. Overall, I value this text immensely and am very happy with my purchase.

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  2. Adam Shields

    I picked up How to Be an Antiracist almost immediately after I finished Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. They are very different in approach. Stamped from the beginning is more academic, much longer, and more historical. How to be an Antiracist is much shorter, more personal and, in a helpful way, not academic.Despite it being shorter and less academic, I think this is a book I am going to need to read again, while I doubt I will re-read Stamped from the Beginning. How to be an Antiracist is making subtle changes to the recent Critical Race Theory informed definitions of racism. And while I think I mostly agree with Kendi’s critiques, I also think I need to both re-read this book to be sure I understand what he is doing, and read some others responding to him to make sure I am not missing some of the implications of his critiques.At the most basic, Kendi is rejecting the prejudice plus power definition of racism. At the same time, he is rejecting racist as a descriptor of a person. He wants racist to be the descriptor of the idea or action. “A racist idea is any idea that suggests one racial group is inferior or superior to another racial group in any way.” Similarly, “A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups.” In another place, “What is racism? Racism is a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities…Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing.”Kendi uses the metaphor of racism not as an identity (or tattoo), you either are or are not racist, but a sticky name tag that you put on and take off. He is unequivocal that anyone can express racist ideas or perform racist actions. And he is not at all rejecting the concept of racism as a systemic reality. He does not like the term systemic racism (because it is too vague). He wants to concentrate on ‘racist policies.’

    A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups. An antiracist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups. By policy, I mean written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups.

    There will, I think, be several White people that are opposed to the Critical Race Theory line of thinking about racism that wants to embrace a part of Kendi’s point. They will like that anyone can express racist ideas or actions. But will not understand Kendi’s more significant point that the movement to antiracism is rooted in the empowerment of Black and other minorities. Kendi’s position is not that Blacks can be racist against Whites, but that Blacks can be racist against other Black people. Kendi is not empowering the idea of ‘reverse racism’ but expanding racism to included Black people being racist against other Black people or other minorities.Throughout How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi talks about three approaches. In general, people are or have been, segregationists, assimilationists, or antiracists. Segregationists want to maintain separate racial hierarchies. Assimilationists wish to break down legal segregation, but also do not go far enough in breaking down the internal understanding of racial superiority. Assimilationists want acceptance and often are willing to have either partial approval or behavior-based acceptance of some, as opposed to all. In Kendi’s approach, segregationists and assimilationists are both forms of racism. It is only antiracists that are focused not just on legal segregation and discrimination, but also on internal feelings of superiority or inferiority that move society beyond racism.Antiracism, like feminism in its ideals, is not about reversing the patriarchy or racial hierarchy, but about equality. To be antiracist in Kendi’s ideal means to not only be opposed to racism and for racial equality, but also to be against division based on, “gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, skin color, nationality, and culture, among a series of other identifiers.” To be antiracist means that you are also an antisexist, against religious discrimination, against xenophobia, etc.Kendi is also not interested in suasion.

    The original problem of racism has not been solved by suasion. Knowledge is only power if knowledge is put to the struggle for power. Changing minds is not a movement. Critiquing racism is not activism. Changing minds is not activism. An activist produces power and policy change, not mental change. If a person has no record of power or policy change, then that person is not an activist.

    When I say this book is personal, I mean that. Kendi uses his own life primarily as an example of moving from racism to antiracism. He talks about how he, at one point, had adopted the racist ideas against other Black people that were common at the time and won a speech competition by reciting them. He talks about anger and hatred against White people for both the historical harm and the continued indifference to racism. He talks about his own internalized sexism and homophobia. In each of these areas and more, he came to realized that a sense of superiority or alienation, no matter how large or small, perpetuates differences and violates the antiracist ideal.The end of the book is the most personal. Kendi recounts how soon after they were married, his wife developed breast cancer. Together they walked through that cancer and instead of being newlyweds and she starting her medical career after 12 years of preparation to become a doctor, she became a cancer patient. And then not long after his wife was cancer-free, he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.Cancer becomes the metaphor for racism at the end. Racism has embedded itself in our society. It is spreading and distorting culture and if it is not rooted out, not just in the racial aspects, but the sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc., it will continue to metastasize and transform. According to an interview on NPR I heard last week, his cancer is in remission for now, but he has a very high likelihood of reoccurrence, and he is not fooling around because he is not sure how long he will be alive to oppose racism.

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  3. Nina Alter

    I read the first edition a few years ago. After reading a recent article in which Dr Kendi spoke to his revised edition, I was curious.I loved reading the book the first time. Especially the author’s candor and vulnerability in reflecting upon his own teen angst, and his own journey with racism. The revised edition only builds on that; and with all the courage behind Kendi’s thinking, magnified by his willingness to be vulnerable to not having all the answers.Also: Never before have I seen annotations in an updated edition so prominently called out, or so simply/personally spoken to. The usual attempt at sterility that I see in too much non-fiction is abandoned, and some annotations ask more questions than they provide answers.I also appreciate that the publisher allowed (or asked?) its designer, to not be so discreet about the annotations. It reminds me of how GitHub shows code diffs, or how GDocs shows changes; in context. No sterility, just honesty.Insightful and worth the time to read, whether or not you read the first edition—and a brilliant meditation on hope and possibility, grounded in the hard realities of thorough, attentive, and honest scholarship.

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  4. steveandlisa

    I’ve read 6 or 7 books on racism/anti-racism this year, and this one has been far and away my favorite and the most useful.It presents the issue in a more logical and even-handed manner than the others, in a way that is less exhausting and intimidating for a white person trying to do anti-racist work, and in a way that has energized me to get out and try to change policies rather than wasting my time trying to change the minds of devoted racists. I HIGHLY recommend it.This would make an excellent companion to Stamped from the Beginning (a rundown on the history, nature, magnitude on racism) and White Fragility (the most useful book I’ve read for things like everyday racism, repairs, racial abuse/microagressions, etc.).

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  5. BTW2006

    THIS BOOK!!! Oh my, it is such a great read, please consider reading it or listening to it. I will likely get it on audible, this time I’m reading with my pencil in hand. My jaw has literally dropped on several occasions. We need to do better. We need to EDUCATE ourselves so we can educate others. The book really is a great blend of memoir and history. It speaks to the theory that we can’t feel empathy until we understand someone else’s experiences. And by learning the history surrounded by someone else’s life experiences, and how education changed the way the author thinks, reminds us that we all have the responsibility and ability to change our thought patterns when we open up our ears, minds, and hearts to the experiences of others and listen, really listen to what they have to say.

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  6. Amanda

    Powerful book and essential reading for white people, especially those who consider themselves allies and want to learn how they can better support POC and be truly anti-racist. That said, while I wouldn’t call the writing pretentious, it definitely requires a solid grasp on modern literature. Putting it plainly, you need to have a high reading level compared to other similar books. Some of the concepts require a high level of extrapolation and critical thinking, and I had to reread several passages to ensure I understood what was being said.Again, still a GREAT book and I recommend it to everyone who wonders how large the difference between simply not being a racist and being anti-racist is, and wants to know how they can frame their thinking to help change the world and rid it of racism against POC for good.

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  7. HappyHappy

    I need to read the entire book first and then I will follow-up my review.My first initial thoughts were positive. The author starts off the intro as “My Racist Introduction” which I found to be very genuine. That even his younger self was racist to his own ethnicity. That he now recognizes that he too was making assumptions. The first chapter I have been engaged and found the reading to be educational. They provide you with definitions that help breakdown being racist, antiracist and the differences between the two which I find informative.I’m someone who prides themselves on being antiracist. I strive to treat everyone as I would want to be treated. I recognize and appreciate our differences but I can also do better. I want to eliminate the racial gaps and do my part by eliminating policies that continue to support racial injustice. I want to educate myself and learn more. See how I can help be the change that I desperately wish to see in the world.I want to raise my two children to love and respect all people. I look forward to reading the rest of this book.Cons: None

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  8. Maria Lindner

    Very well written book and arrived in nice condition. This book should be in schools. Highly recommend for everyone to read.

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  9. Glenn Overby

    It’s an engaging memoir and an activist’s handbook in one. Kendi pulls no punches in calling out much of the conventional wisdom about racism. He examines, unafraid, the inconsistencies and flawed decisions in his own life story and traces their parallels in the public sphere. Read it. Engage it. Let it teach you. Agreement may be a long process, if and when. But growth is the reward on offer for a fair reading.

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  10. Quinton Zondervan

    For some people it may be better to read “White Fragility” first before embarking on this book. But if you’re ready to accept that racism is pervasive and acts through us to make racist policy, then this book is ready for you. He makes a persuasive and moving case that the answer to pervasive racism is to be anti racist. To make antiracist policy changes so that we can root out racism from our society once and for all. A daunting task to be sure, but not an impossible one. And to survive as a nation, and perhaps even as a species, we have to take up this fight.

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  11. Read-A-Lot

    Five luminous 🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟stars! This is a bold book of reckoning. Kudos to Ibram Kendi for having the testicular fortitude to bring new ideas to the marketplace. Although antiracism isn’t necessarily a brand new idea, Kendi has placed his indelible stamp on it and will now be forever linked to it with this very important book. One of the things that impress, and is helpful in discussion and debate are clear definitions. As he did in his previous work, Stamped From The Beginning he is laborious about exactly defining the terms he uses. Readers will appreciate this as it helps to flush out clarity.And I would add, arms one against the attacks that are surely coming from all angles. I distinctly remember the debate around Afrocentricity and all the myriad ways that people defined it. The hijacking was possible because Molefi Asante possibly didn’t go deep enough in his definition of Afrocentricity, although that was later definitively corrected.Kendi is seeking to avoid this error writing, “defining our terms so that we could begin to describe the world and our place in it. Definitions anchor us in principles……Some of my most consequential steps toward being an antiracist have been the moments when I arrived at basic definitions….So let’s set some definitions. What is racism?” Kendi having spent time in Asante’s Africology Ph.D. program at Temple University might account for some of this diligence.We’ll come back to his definition, as that will surely become the cause of some attacks because he has dared to challenge long-held beliefs about racism, racists, and who can and cannot be considered racists. Whenever you are bold enough to offer new thoughts to the marketplace of ideas, you had better be ready for battle, and if this book is any indication Kendi is indeed ready. Alongside his guide to becoming antiracist, he offers his own personal journey which adds a personal flavor to the book and keeps it from sagging into academic boredom.So, for Black folk it’s true that many of us have a definition of racism, that excludes Blacks from being racist, well Kendi challenges that and forces us to possibly make an adjustment to our definition. That’s going to be a tough one for sure, but his arguments here are very cogent and considering his definition of racism, quite logical.When was the last time a book made you reconsider some defining principles? Wow! For non-Blacks, just saying well I’m ‘not racist‘ will no longer cut it. To wit, “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.”With chapters on Power, Biology, Class, Black, White, etc. Kendi has made a thorough attempt to spark a movement towards antiracism, that results in a world where people actively and consciously fight against racism. Is that a pipe dream? As detailed here in this text, if we accept the definitions then no, it is indeed achievable, but we must do the work and it starts with the man in the mirror. That was the first place I went after finishing this book and contemplating this new definition of racism,“So let’s set some definitions. What is racism? Racism is a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities. Okay, so what are racist policies and ideas?” Damn you, Kendi! What are racist policies and ideas, well you will have to get this book, READ and engage the ideas of antiracism and hopefully be on your way to becoming an Antiracist! Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Oneworld Publishing for an advanced DRC. Book will explode onto shelves Tues. August 13, 2019

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  12. Ken Christiansen

    I just finished reading Kendi’s How To Be An Antiracist. I really liked the book. That includes the format of mixing personal narrative with propositional statements. And the overall content. Why did I like it?1) Kendi has a clear definition of antiracism that makes sense to me. He identifies antiracism as working to change racist policies. Racist policies in government. Racist policies in corporations. Racist policies anywhere. He sees racist ideas as following racist policies rather than leading racist policies. This doesn’t rule out learning as much as you can about racist ideas – Kendi’s major work Stamped From The Beginning was a thorough history of just that. But where do racist ideas come from? He finds that source in the self-interest of policy makers including both persons who directly make laws and persons with economic power to protect who influence them.2) Kendi acknowledges racist ideas and actions in the black community throughout the book. This includes his own disparaging of blacks in his prize-winning high school Martin Luther King Day speech; E. Franklin Frazier’s sociological writings which dominated sociological thought about race from the early 1930s through the mid 1960s; the misguided widespread support in the black community for the War On Drugs which eventually included the 26 out of 38 members of the Black Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives voting for the 1994 anti-crime legislation that led to mass incarceration; and many other examples. Kendi explicitly refutes the argument that black people can’t be racist because black people don’t have any power.3) Kendi affirms everyone’s basic humanity. This is where the question of assimilation gets a little sticky. Many advocates of assimilation see those whom they want to assimilate as inferior. This was very true of Oscar Romero’s1966 book, The Culture Of Poverty, and only slightly less true of the monumental 1944 Carnegie Foundation study by Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 Johnson Administration report, The Negro Family: The Case For National Action, drew heavily from E. Franklin Frazier’s 1955 book, Black Bourgeoise, to make the case that fixing the Negro family should be a top governmental priority – all the government needed do for black America.4) Kendi points everyone in the same action direction: change racist policies! He doesn’t talk about “white supremacy culture” as in Critical Race Theory. He doesn’t say “white should fix it” as I understand Critical Race Theory to say. His message to blacks, to whites, to everyone is that we need to identify specific racist policies and then work hard and work together to get them changed.5) Kendi’s message contrasts directly with the penchant in many contemporary anti-racism training programs to look for racism only in the white psyche.The personal narratives included in the book make the entire message come alive. I can’t recommend it more highly.

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  13. Ms. Mary R. Sweeney

    This scholarly work cites works throughout history as he makes his valid case for the equality of the racial groups our society has defined for us. He posits that all are inherently equal without ignoring that there are differences in all people. There is no racial group (which is really not a truly meaningful categorization anyway) that is superior or inferior to another. This is not the first time this point has been made but I have never read anything that so clearly directs your way to correct thoughts and action. Ibram Kendi is nothing short of brilliant. He explains and defines so clearly, candidly, thoughtfully, reasonably that it had my fist to my forehead saying “of course”, so many times my head hurts! When an author can point to something and make you feel it’s so obvious you should have always known it then is when you know you have found something important. If everyone read this, we would be a better nation for it.

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  14. Richard Henry

    Kendi, is on to something, and his ideas needs to be explored in a way that I can under stand after a lifetime of thinking I was naturalist and How does the individual stop racist policy.

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  15. Sheryl Frisk

    In the middle of a personal hailstorm, I could not read this book, it required too much concentration to push the words into my brain. So I download the audio book and listened to the author’s calming articulate voice narrate. I listened to a chapter on a daily walk, perfect timing. I will listen to this book over and over again. Thinking critically is so important and you cannot read/listen to this book (unless you’re inhuman) without stopping to ingest and regurgitate the teachings, as best as one can. I dedicated myself as a youngin’, 35 years ago. That does or did not make me an antiracist. I will always have goals, an open mind and determination.SheGraduatate – University of Washington – Class of ’94BA American Ethnic StudiesMajor: African American Sociology and Political ThoughtMinor: Chicano Studies#BLM

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  16. Erin L

    I feel Like this should be required reading for ALL humans. So informative, packed full of helpful knowledge. The author captures such important topics for all humans to be informed of. I’ve read all of his books and they are so eye opening. I love his work and am so grateful that he educates the population.

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  17. Susan Y. Page

    This book was recommended to me as a starting point in cultivating a deeper understanding of current socio-cultural unrest, with an eye toward identifying actions I can take to help effect change. I am not finished yet, but thus far it has been both informative and instructive. Kendi’s thought-provoking material has forced me to take a critical look at my core beliefs and presumptions, even though I (like many other self-identified “enlightened” liberals, I’m sure) had not considered myself a racist. Once finished, I am going to get the workbook and see if I can get a few friends together to do it as a group.

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  18. GARRETT A. ISACCO

    This a very good book, well researched by a man who is obviously a scholar. Each chapter views different important aspects of racism and how to be an anti-racist. It took me a long time to read the book because there was so much to think about. Reading this book especially in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder cause me to realize just how difficult it is for African Americans to navigate life in the USA in 2020 dealing with racist police, a criminal justice that seems to be designed to put them in jail and the overall unfairness of life in general. I simply couldn’t function in such an environment.Dr. Kendi has thieved, survived a killer cancer (which is outlined in one chapter), producing this outstanding book. He give me hope that one day, hopefully soon we as a society will begin to address the endemic racism in our culture.

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  19. V. Schafer

    I am a white woman who saw some atrocious acts of racism as a child so I knew its ugliness was in our society. Until Donald Trump was elected I was asleep at the wheel assuming our society had overcome racism. I live in a rural part of the Pacific Northwest so it was easy for me to be unaware that racism was still alive and well in our society. What this book does is tells SO MUCH HISTORY that has been suppressed from the general public. Most importantly, Dr. Kendi is so honest in his thoughts and growth as he fights to understand racism and how to rid our society of this ugly plague. I will have to read and reread this book many times before I can truly absorb all that I NEED to understand from it. I hope that ALL people read this book. I have bought several more copies to give to those that would like to read it but can’t afford it. Dr. Kendi please continue your SO important work so our world can overcome racism.

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  20. Jessica Pinguil

    Bought this book for my college.

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  21. John Anderson

    A really great analysis of racism around us and what we can do to fight it. I thought that the format of the book was great, a captivating and relatable personal history story that threads together excellent individual chapters on different aspects of how racism can affect different parts of our lives and how we can turn that around. I found particularly powerful Professor Kendi’s perspective on what motivates racism, the destructive myth of race, waking up that individuals don’t represent a race, and the importance of moving from color-blindness to anti-racist if we are going to see the change we want to see. I actually took notes on a lot more points, the book is really rich. Thank you Professor Kendi.

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  22. Bettina Jones

    I just finished this excellent book by Ibram X. Kendi. It explores racism from all angles and really engages the reader not only with history but ways to reflect on and view one’s own racism and connection to it. It really opened my eyes and shows you how to work towards improving ourselves, our communities and ultimately our world. What was also quite telling is the author’s own journey to see his own racist views, how he came to them, how they were affecting his life and he chose to work on overcoming them.What was going on in his life while writing the book makes it all the more amazing that he was able to write it. This is not an easy read because it is asking you to examine your views and deep held beliefs. However I think this is a vital book for everyone to read if we have any hope of making our country a more equitable place for everyone.

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  23. Alexis Vetack

    LOVED this book! It was very thought provoking, and I appreciated how Kendi separates his ideas into chapters. While reviewing Antiracist frameworks, Kendi also reflects on his own Antiracist journey because we all make mistakes. To those who rate this as a one star book, I have to ask – are they rating it low because they do not understand the life experiences/ hardships Kendi has endured as a Black man. And to the sentiments that state there is no “evidence” to defend his stance, there is a whole index of such evidence at the end of the book sorted by chapter. I recommend everyone pick up this book. Reflecting is not easy and we all will make mistakes so do be prepared for that journey towards racial justice!!

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  24. I find it interesting

    I will start by saying that I am biased because I attune myself to be a human living in the social setting of America, with the label of Black, and love it. I have also waited for this book and hold “Stamped from the Beginning” in the highest regard.I loved the storytelling and the sharing of his experiences towards his current growth. I found Kendi’s autodidactism to be familiar and in correlation to so many Black people I know. My favorite chapter, for many reasons, is chapter 8 “Behavior.” Truthfully, there is consistent opportunity to learn and reflect on your own racist and antiracist practices, yes Black people can be racist too, according to Kendi, but he puts a caveat on it. The Book is just well done. My only critique would be for Kendi to expound on the “Black racist” due to the lack of knowledge that they have power. This is a large step in Black intellectual thought and I would have benefited from a deep more explanatory discourse on how he came to the notion that Black people obfuscate other Black people’s power, on a larger level than just citing a few examples of powerful political Black people. For us who don’t yield that kind of power, it’s difficult to see the functioning reality of labeling other Black people racists for their deeds towards people of color. I get it, I would have liked to understand how Kendi came to that summation.Overall, I love it.

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  25. Jeanne Arp

    I know there has been a lot of discussion about this book – much of it positive and much of it negative. I must side with the positive.I think there are some very important ideas in this book that should be read by everyone who cares about and thinks about equality, equity, and racism. Those who think answers lie in leaving things alone or in cancelling everything and everyone who you disagree with doesn’t understand that these issues are centuries old and terribly complex and will require and lot of work and time to turn around.

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  26. Adam Shields

    I picked up How to Be an Antiracist almost immediately after I finished Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. They are very different in approach. Stamped from the beginning is more academic, much longer, and more historical. How to be an Antiracist is much shorter, more personal and, in a helpful way, not academic.Despite it being shorter and less academic, I think this is a book I am going to need to read again, while I doubt I will re-read Stamped from the Beginning. How to be an Antiracist is making subtle changes to the recent Critical Race Theory informed definitions of racism. And while I think I mostly agree with Kendi’s critiques, I also think I need to both re-read this book to be sure I understand what he is doing, and read some others responding to him to make sure I am not missing some of the implications of his critiques.At the most basic, Kendi is rejecting the prejudice plus power definition of racism. At the same time, he is rejecting racist as a descriptor of a person. He wants racist to be the descriptor of the idea or action. “A racist idea is any idea that suggests one racial group is inferior or superior to another racial group in any way.” Similarly, “A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups.” In another place, “What is racism? Racism is a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities…Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing.”Kendi uses the metaphor of racism not as an identity (or tattoo), you either are or are not racist, but a sticky name tag that you put on and take off. He is unequivocal that anyone can express racist ideas or perform racist actions. And he is not at all rejecting the concept of racism as a systemic reality. He does not like the term systemic racism (because it is too vague). He wants to concentrate on ‘racist policies.’

    A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups. An antiracist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups. By policy, I mean written and unwritten laws, rules, procedures, processes, regulations, and guidelines that govern people. There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups.

    There will, I think, be several White people that are opposed to the Critical Race Theory line of thinking about racism that wants to embrace a part of Kendi’s point. They will like that anyone can express racist ideas or actions. But will not understand Kendi’s more significant point that the movement to antiracism is rooted in the empowerment of Black and other minorities. Kendi’s position is not that Blacks can be racist against Whites, but that Blacks can be racist against other Black people. Kendi is not empowering the idea of ‘reverse racism’ but expanding racism to included Black people being racist against other Black people or other minorities.Throughout How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi talks about three approaches. In general, people are or have been, segregationists, assimilationists, or antiracists. Segregationists want to maintain separate racial hierarchies. Assimilationists wish to break down legal segregation, but also do not go far enough in breaking down the internal understanding of racial superiority. Assimilationists want acceptance and often are willing to have either partial approval or behavior-based acceptance of some, as opposed to all. In Kendi’s approach, segregationists and assimilationists are both forms of racism. It is only antiracists that are focused not just on legal segregation and discrimination, but also on internal feelings of superiority or inferiority that move society beyond racism.Antiracism, like feminism in its ideals, is not about reversing the patriarchy or racial hierarchy, but about equality. To be antiracist in Kendi’s ideal means to not only be opposed to racism and for racial equality, but also to be against division based on, “gender, sexuality, class, ethnicity, skin color, nationality, and culture, among a series of other identifiers.” To be antiracist means that you are also an antisexist, against religious discrimination, against xenophobia, etc.Kendi is also not interested in suasion.

    The original problem of racism has not been solved by suasion. Knowledge is only power if knowledge is put to the struggle for power. Changing minds is not a movement. Critiquing racism is not activism. Changing minds is not activism. An activist produces power and policy change, not mental change. If a person has no record of power or policy change, then that person is not an activist.

    When I say this book is personal, I mean that. Kendi uses his own life primarily as an example of moving from racism to antiracism. He talks about how he, at one point, had adopted the racist ideas against other Black people that were common at the time and won a speech competition by reciting them. He talks about anger and hatred against White people for both the historical harm and the continued indifference to racism. He talks about his own internalized sexism and homophobia. In each of these areas and more, he came to realized that a sense of superiority or alienation, no matter how large or small, perpetuates differences and violates the antiracist ideal.The end of the book is the most personal. Kendi recounts how soon after they were married, his wife developed breast cancer. Together they walked through that cancer and instead of being newlyweds and she starting her medical career after 12 years of preparation to become a doctor, she became a cancer patient. And then not long after his wife was cancer-free, he was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.Cancer becomes the metaphor for racism at the end. Racism has embedded itself in our society. It is spreading and distorting culture and if it is not rooted out, not just in the racial aspects, but the sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, etc., it will continue to metastasize and transform. According to an interview on NPR I heard last week, his cancer is in remission for now, but he has a very high likelihood of reoccurrence, and he is not fooling around because he is not sure how long he will be alive to oppose racism.

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  27. Tony Mirabel

    Doctor Kendi places great emphasis on policies which directly influence both racist and anti racist behavior. The narrative dissects concepts and definitions to clarify the message. An objective view opens all concepts to speculation, as to be expected from anyone paying attention. I appreciate that Dr. Kendi lived in a low income black neighborhood during his post graduate studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. It should also be mentioned that Dr. Kendi wrote this book while undergoing chemo therapy which alludes to his point that there can be no progress without pain..I agree. Dr. Kendi’ use of the English language is eloquent and just adds to how well written this work is. This book has helped me to make sense of the current polarized state of America.

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  28. Kona Baker

    This was a wonderful read. I appreciate Kendi’s approach to breaking complex ideas down by deconstructing language to core definitions – a great starting point. Kendi clearly and concisely ties his points together while remaining rooted in language, logic and reasoning. While he is clearly passionate and writes with a lived experience of racism, he never allows his reasoning to take a backseat to emotion. Read this book!

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  29. Gail Frisch

    I absolutely loved this book! Absolutely everything about it! It explains perfectly what we need as a society to grow and learn in spite of the systemic racism that’s always been embedded in our consciousness without us even knowing it. This is a guide for us all to grow beyond what we’ve known or acknowledged about systemic racism and how to grow as a society beyond it. I’m white and loved the new tools I’ve been given to know better so we can do better. We all need to consciously pay attention so our world is more just, fair, and truly equal for all.

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  30. R Scheese

    Just finished Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s bestseller “How To Be An Antiracist”.Well researched and well written. Thought provoking and some surprisingperspectives. I appreciated the author’s vulnerability and approach to sharing his personal narrative and growth in developing his understanding of racism and the necessity of antiracist action needed to eradicate racism from the system.To grow, one must admit with intellectual humility that there are things we need to learn and then take action to discover those lessons. There is terrific content to absorb in Dr. Kendi’s writing. It is filled with deep content and is a book that calls for plenty of reflection.I wrestled with the author’s concept of capitalism and racism as conjoined twins. It seemed that in limiting the debate on capitalism to the ills within Friedman’s perspective on maximizing shareholder value seems to suggest that only government can be the answer. I’ve witnessed too many family and small business successes raise individuals from poverty to throw capitalism out as part of a possible antiracist solution in a societal ecosystem of government, charitable organizations, business and education working together. I will admit I may be misinterpreting the author’s intent in emphasizing policy change, but I want to advocate for business being part of the solution.The sad part is there is still much work to be done. We all need to be part of the solution. Take the time to read and reflect on “How To Be An Antiracist” I highly recommend it.

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  31. Juliana Abraham

    Each chapter in Ibram X. Kendi’s book is dedicated to a particular manifestation of racism that we are faced with (Power, Biology, Ethnicity, Gender, Color, White, Black and many more). Kendi begins almost every chapter by defining terms like racist and antiracist. These definitions are essential for understanding what these constructs are and how they operate in our world and then for helping us to evaluate the specific policies that maintain or challenge racism in our homes, in our schools, places of worship and in our governments.Kendi argues and thoroughly convinces us that the way to make change is to focus on policy. Any policy that results in racial inequity is a racist policy. Any policy that is racially equitable, is an Antiracist policy. Any person supporting a policy that results in a racially inequitable outcome is acting in a racist way. Any person resisting a policy that results in racial inequity is acting as an Antiracist. Look at the policy. Look at the outcome. Let us work and act toward racial equity!!!Kendi’s honesty and sincerity about his own journey toward antiracism compels and encourages us all in our own journeys toward antiracism. I finished his book and felt hope, the kind of stubborn, relentless hope that’s ready to face and endure struggle. If you’re like me, you’ll underline the majority of this book, write notes on the blank spaces throughout and fold down the corners of several pages for future reference. You’ll want to keep your copy and give this book as gifts to family and friends.

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  32. Ken Christiansen

    I just finished reading Kendi’s How To Be An Antiracist. I really liked the book. That includes the format of mixing personal narrative with propositional statements. And the overall content. Why did I like it?1) Kendi has a clear definition of antiracism that makes sense to me. He identifies antiracism as working to change racist policies. Racist policies in government. Racist policies in corporations. Racist policies anywhere. He sees racist ideas as following racist policies rather than leading racist policies. This doesn’t rule out learning as much as you can about racist ideas – Kendi’s major work Stamped From The Beginning was a thorough history of just that. But where do racist ideas come from? He finds that source in the self-interest of policy makers including both persons who directly make laws and persons with economic power to protect who influence them.2) Kendi acknowledges racist ideas and actions in the black community throughout the book. This includes his own disparaging of blacks in his prize-winning high school Martin Luther King Day speech; E. Franklin Frazier’s sociological writings which dominated sociological thought about race from the early 1930s through the mid 1960s; the misguided widespread support in the black community for the War On Drugs which eventually included the 26 out of 38 members of the Black Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives voting for the 1994 anti-crime legislation that led to mass incarceration; and many other examples. Kendi explicitly refutes the argument that black people can’t be racist because black people don’t have any power.3) Kendi affirms everyone’s basic humanity. This is where the question of assimilation gets a little sticky. Many advocates of assimilation see those whom they want to assimilate as inferior. This was very true of Oscar Romero’s1966 book, The Culture Of Poverty, and only slightly less true of the monumental 1944 Carnegie Foundation study by Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s 1965 Johnson Administration report, The Negro Family: The Case For National Action, drew heavily from E. Franklin Frazier’s 1955 book, Black Bourgeoise, to make the case that fixing the Negro family should be a top governmental priority – all the government needed do for black America.4) Kendi points everyone in the same action direction: change racist policies! He doesn’t talk about “white supremacy culture” as in Critical Race Theory. He doesn’t say “white should fix it” as I understand Critical Race Theory to say. His message to blacks, to whites, to everyone is that we need to identify specific racist policies and then work hard and work together to get them changed.5) Kendi’s message contrasts directly with the penchant in many contemporary anti-racism training programs to look for racism only in the white psyche.The personal narratives included in the book make the entire message come alive. I can’t recommend it more highly.

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  33. Craig C.

    This book is packed with definitions, humility, and education on anti racism. I appreciate the authors ability to model humility by revisiting times he got it wrong and how he is correcting his language and understanding.

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  34. Susan Entin

    This is an offer of learning what to do about overwhelming racism and racist response to protest

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  35. A.E. Bross

    This was an absolutely excellent book… once one got further in. I will confess that the beginning of the book is dense, denser than I expected, and it was difficult, given everything going on in the world, to get into it. But a number of chapters in, and Kendi hits his stride, shying away from no topic in the demonstration and discussion of race and racism, as well as all of it’s intersections (women, LGBTQIA+, real estate, etc. etc.). It was fascinating, riveting, and rang truer than perhaps even the author meant it to when he wrote it. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in learning more through the experiences and expressions of Ibram X. Kendi

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  36. Jeet

    This book has changed the way I view the world. It so clearly and unequivocally defines what racism is, how it has dictated so much of our society, and how to fight it. It goes into the many facets of life through which racism takes hold, such as class, gender, and sexuality. Many books by scholars can be challenging to read because of their fancy language and holier-than-thou voice – this was not the case here. Everything the author says is grounded in reality and humility, and is said in a way that is easy to understand. I would not be surprised if this book becomes required reading for high schoolers in the future. It actively changed how I will approach the world and gives a clear framework through which we can become antiracists.

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  37. Joseph Psotka

    How to Be an AntiracistIbram X. KendiI agree with Kendi, that 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.” And I’ve come to see that the movement from racist to antiracist is always ongoing—it means standing ready to fight at racism’s intersections with other bigotries.A racist idea is any idea that suggests one racial group is inferior or superior to another racial group in any way. Sadly, the implicit meaning of “race” to the vast majority of the world includes a racist hierarchy that puts one ethnic group above another. It certainly cannot mean that to an antiracist or someone struggling to become an antiracist.I agree with Kendi that “race” is fundamentally a power construct of blended difference that lives socially. Race creates new forms of power for the powerful. But it also contains many surplus and implicit meanings that the vast majority of mankind without power also believes as a tenuous hold on power that is fictional.This critique is basically about Chapter 4, about Xendi’s clinging to the word “Race”. I loved his first book because his ideas were growing and in transition, not yet congealed into an ideology, which may describe his ideas in this book. In “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” Ibram X. Kendi was still growing and exploring his ideas, and I especially admired his ability to integrate and go beyond Ta_Nehisi Coates. I especially loved his description of Bill Clinton’s avowal that the human genome offered proof that we are all one race, what Kendi in this book calls a:BIOLOGICAL ANTIRACIST: One who is expressing the idea that the races are meaningfully the same in their biology and there are no genetic racial differences.But now he goes on to say that “Only racists shy away from the R-word—racism is steeped in denial.” And this is the opposite conclusion that I arrive at: We need to remove “Race” from our language as a key step in becoming antiracist. The word “Race” has become a pillar upholding way too many racist ideas. We need to cut that pillar down.He also says: “It is one of the ironies of antiracism that we must identify racially in order to identify the racial privileges and dangers of being in our bodies.” And I firmly do not believe that. We have many, way too many ways to identify racist ideas and institutions in our society. We don’t need to identify racially and we are all better off if we don’t hold on to racist ideas in any way. This is not assimilationist. It is a call for cultural diversity, but outside the shackles of racist racial concepts.“Biological racism rests on two ideas: that the races are meaningfully different in their biology and that these differences create a hierarchy of value.” Kendi at one point in his past accepted the first, while he rejected the biological racial hierarchy, but he came to see that this was a doubtful ploy by racists to sneak in their racist ideals.By elevating certain inherited abilities in abused minorities, such as improvisational decision making, that could explain why they predominate in certain fields such as jazz, rap, and basketball, and not in other fields, such as classical music, chess, and astronomy; by acknowledging certain almost irrelevant and certainly lower status ways that Blacks are superior, the racists justified a biological racist distinction that empowers other racist biological ideas that are even more abusive. By upholding a biological distinction between “races” racists could hold on to the fundamental racist idea of a biological sanction for racist hierarchies, and gave them power to subjugate. Racist power at once made biological racial distinction and biological racial hierarchy the components of biological racism.One of the “great truths” this hid was “that in genetic terms, all human beings, regardless of race, are more than 99.9 percent the same.”As Kendi justifiably points out, when geneticists compare different white populations to those in Africa, they find there is more genetic diversity between populations within Africa than between Africa and the rest of the world. Race is a genetic mirage.Yet, even with this scientific proof, segregationists like Nicholas Wade figure if humans are 99.9 percent genetically alike, then they must be 0.1 percent distinct. And this distinction must be racial. And that 0.1 percent of racial distinction has grown exponentially over the millennia. And it is their job to search heaven and earth for these exponentially distinct races. This argument is not just fallacious and makes no sense; it is increasingly so. Segregationists and non-racists will find it increasingly impossible to cling to.Anyway, they are not the real problem. The real problem are the millions of racists who believe their racist ideas, including “Race”, are just common sense. It is their implicit positions that have become untenable.Even Christian fundamentalist Ken Ham, the co-author of One Race One Blood, asked in an op-ed in 2017. “For one, point out the common ground of both evolutionists and creationists: the mapping of the human genome concluded that there is only one race, the human race.”Given all these sensible positions that Kendi emphasises and describes it came as a total shock to me that he next justified continuing to uphold and promulgate the word “Race”.He begins by asserting that: “Race is a mirage but one that humanity has organized itself around in very real ways.”This makes no sense to me as a justification, because humanity has also organized itself in very real ways around racist ideas, especially in America; and in no way does this justify us to hold on to them.He next challenges an economic interpretation of race by asserting that “imagining away the existence of races in a racist world is as conserving and harmful as imagining away classes in a capitalistic world—it allows the ruling races and classes to keep on ruling.”This seems self contradictory too. Doing away with classes is a very legitimate goal of modern politcal movements, with the expre3ss goal of taking power away from ruling classes, just as taking away the idea of races is an essential part of taking power away from ruling ethnic groups.His next justification is a bit more powerful. He says: “They fail to realize that if we stop using racial categories, then we will not be able to identify racial inequity.”This makes no sense to me. Surely we can identify racist ideas if we destroy the concept of race. If we rail against the concept of race, we begin to destroy racist ideas embedded within the concept of race, such as a hierarchy of inferiority and superiority.And too, we can still identify economic and social inequities. Especially if races don’t exist, the fictions that racisst create become even clearer fictions , and all our energies can be devoted to tearing them down.Kendi is just plain wrong when he says that if “we cannot identify racial inequity, then we will not be able to identify racist policies. If we cannot identify racist policies, then we cannot challenge racist policies.”That’s just silly. Racist policies, like legal insistence on money for bail and voting can still easily be seen. After all, there are still ethnic groups of blacks and Hispanix to analyze, and arguments become even more powerful when all colored groups are united with other lower economic groups. And there are still huge inequities, especially internationally when we compare the developed northern against the undevelop southern world.“Terminating racial categories is potentially the last, not the first, step in the antiracist struggle.”Terminating racial categories may be difficult but may be easier than terminating implicit racist ideas in common sense views, and in many institutions like the police.Replacing racist “racial” categories with anti-racist ethnic categories does not need to be the first step, and in fact it may be much too difficult in this world where “race” is embedded in all legal canons to be a first step; but for an antiracist it is an essential step in struggling against the racist ideas that dominate our world,

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  38. Joyce Amen

    Dr. Kendi details excellent points into how to incorporate anti-racist thinking, as opposed to a non-racist perspective—which are two distinct concepts. He explains his personal journey with respect to race and anti-racist versus racist ideas, and elucidates that—like himself—any other person can incorporate both anti-racist and racist ideas at various points. The point is that one is conscious of their ill-founded notions on race and perform the hard work that it takes to become more anti-racist than one previously was. He also illuminates that certain figures, such as the well-known white abolitionist, William Lloyd Garrison, promoted assimilation, not authentic anti-racist policies. In addition, Kendi speaks of the belovéd W.E.B. Du Bois and that he did not fully promote anti-racist ideas until later in his life. (Consider Du Bois’s concept of “The Talented Tenth,” to be later overtaken by a more inclusive and empowering coalition, per his new anti-racist ideas.) Kendi offers a variant of personal phenomena and other illuminating perspectives. Be sure to consider his words when thinking about cultural phenomena, non-racist versus anti-racist thinking, alterations between racist and anti-racist thinking and how to do the hard work that is incorporating an anti-racist mentality, as well as how others’ perceptions of the privileged and underprivileged colors our thinking. Indeed, whether one is a BIPOC or of a white background, oftentimes people are swept in generalizations about entire groups. Kendi ensures that anti-racism is incorporated in all respects—for all persons involved.

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  39. Robert L. Ringler Jr.

    A very challenging book for me to read, especially with all the things going on right now. It’s challenging because I was probably one of those who would have responded “I’m color-blind” or “I’m not a racist” even 3-4 months ago. Now, however, with the historical background and well laid out presentation contained here, I’m much more aware of the systemic racism built into our American way of life. It’s amazing how many examples are easily identifiable once your perspective is changed – almost like taking off the blinders. I hope that this can be the beginning of my efforts to change and move towards a more consistent antiracist point of view.

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  40. Chris Cardon

    This book is brilliant and amazing. It should be required reading for all humans. Totally foundational! I really appreciated Kendi’s vulnerability and weaving the story of his growing up throughout the book. It gave the book beauty on top of being so educational. Kendi is giving people who read the book new eyeglasses with which to see the racism problem. I never knew how powerful definitions could be until I read the book. Identifying common mistakes of allies (policies that inadvertently segregate or condescendingly recommend assimilation) is key. Once you think of racism as a policy problem of self interest, it is more solvable.

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  41. BreeKG

    All the upvoting of critical 1-star reviews of this book is evidence if all the people who actually need to READ this book for themselves. I’m appalled that Amazon lets the reviews show up as if 50% of readers disliked it, when their own site shows only a 6% 1-star rating currently.Compelling read, and surprisingly personal in his autobiographical descriptions of his own struggles with racist thought and identity. Cogently redefines the essence of racism not so much as individual prejudice, but in the support of wider systemic *policies* that maintain those social imbalances. Really meant a lot to me as a Latina and fellow millennial. I recognized a lot of the assimilationist thinking I absorbed growing up, and the continuing influence of those ideas the political arguments over race found today.

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  42. A. Jones

    Dr. Kendi’s writing is fluid and engaging as he expertly teaches complex concepts through his personal journey to becoming anti-racist. In many ways, this was hard to read, it for all the right reasons. The difficulty came in absorbing what he teaches and honestly evaluating my own history and my own outlook so I can change myself and those parts of the world that I touch.I will be digesting and revisiting these concepts and outlooks for years to come, as I know I will have to remind myself what it means to be effectively anti-racist for the rest of my life.If I could set required reading for every American, this book would be it.

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  43. ERamos9696

    There are few books that I finish reading and make me feel like I am a better person- I will take these lessons and be better. It’s not enough to say you will do something, you must make the change to prove you want this world to be better. Racism needs to end and must be stopped at every turn. This book needs to be required reading- for students, for teachers, for anybody who thinks not being a racist is enough. You must be an anti-racist.

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  44. Angela V

    I know I can’t say I’m not racist. This read was exceptionally enlightening and provides a way for one to become anti-racist. For our country to move forward, this is a necessary read. We cannot deny the current status of racism. We cannot deny the harm it is putting on all those who are not White. We owe it to our Black, Asian, Latinx, Native and all who have ever been”Other” to really do the work and think within. Knowing is not doing, so do – learn, grow, dig deep inside yourself, dialogue, learn from others that have the knowledge and expertise,, know it is not their job to tell you how our what but listen for their guidance.

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  45. rawr means i love you in dinosaur

    I’ve read many of the reviews on this book prior to buying it. Although, I’m not finished, I have some thoughts. This work isn’t superficial, as others claim. It’s written in the same tradition as academic (educational and enlightening, not theoretical or imaginary) papers, but with the benefit of personal experience. The loudest critics seem to take the wrong lessons from this because they didn’t approach the material with any intention of learning something that might make them uncomfortable. This isn’t for light of heart, enjoyment in an entertaining sense of the word. This is beneficial, crucial, and necessary. Growth may be painful, when encountering new ideas that change your views on details in society that we take for advantage, but just because growth is painful doesn’t mean that it’s not the right thing. This book is treasure, and I’m eager to finish.

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  46. Read-A-Lot

    Five luminous 🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟stars! This is a bold book of reckoning. Kudos to Ibram Kendi for having the testicular fortitude to bring new ideas to the marketplace. Although antiracism isn’t necessarily a brand new idea, Kendi has placed his indelible stamp on it and will now be forever linked to it with this very important book. One of the things that impress, and is helpful in discussion and debate are clear definitions. As he did in his previous work, Stamped From The Beginning he is laborious about exactly defining the terms he uses. Readers will appreciate this as it helps to flush out clarity.And I would add, arms one against the attacks that are surely coming from all angles. I distinctly remember the debate around Afrocentricity and all the myriad ways that people defined it. The hijacking was possible because Molefi Asante possibly didn’t go deep enough in his definition of Afrocentricity, although that was later definitively corrected.Kendi is seeking to avoid this error writing, “defining our terms so that we could begin to describe the world and our place in it. Definitions anchor us in principles……Some of my most consequential steps toward being an antiracist have been the moments when I arrived at basic definitions….So let’s set some definitions. What is racism?” Kendi having spent time in Asante’s Africology Ph.D. program at Temple University might account for some of this diligence.We’ll come back to his definition, as that will surely become the cause of some attacks because he has dared to challenge long-held beliefs about racism, racists, and who can and cannot be considered racists. Whenever you are bold enough to offer new thoughts to the marketplace of ideas, you had better be ready for battle, and if this book is any indication Kendi is indeed ready. Alongside his guide to becoming antiracist, he offers his own personal journey which adds a personal flavor to the book and keeps it from sagging into academic boredom.So, for Black folk it’s true that many of us have a definition of racism, that excludes Blacks from being racist, well Kendi challenges that and forces us to possibly make an adjustment to our definition. That’s going to be a tough one for sure, but his arguments here are very cogent and considering his definition of racism, quite logical.When was the last time a book made you reconsider some defining principles? Wow! For non-Blacks, just saying well I’m ‘not racist‘ will no longer cut it. To wit, “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.”With chapters on Power, Biology, Class, Black, White, etc. Kendi has made a thorough attempt to spark a movement towards antiracism, that results in a world where people actively and consciously fight against racism. Is that a pipe dream? As detailed here in this text, if we accept the definitions then no, it is indeed achievable, but we must do the work and it starts with the man in the mirror. That was the first place I went after finishing this book and contemplating this new definition of racism,“So let’s set some definitions. What is racism? Racism is a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities. Okay, so what are racist policies and ideas?” Damn you, Kendi! What are racist policies and ideas, well you will have to get this book, READ and engage the ideas of antiracism and hopefully be on your way to becoming an Antiracist! Thanks to Netgalley and Random House Oneworld Publishing for an advanced DRC. Book will explode onto shelves Tues. August 13, 2019

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  47. Jgd5055

    Using his life experience and his own shortcomings, the author brings to his very personal understanding of racism. His understanding is deep and his logic profound. This is not a book for everyone simply because it has such a deep understanding and development of complex concepts. I read it like a textbook and my copy is a mass of underlining and margin notes. There is heart and bravery in his story. But once the narrative turns back to understanding how deep racism runs there are times it is overwhelming and daunting. Keep reading. Read slowly. Find a book group if you can. And if you are a teacher consider how this book might become part of your school’s curriculum.

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  48. Rainbow Tiger

    The author brings up points I never would have considered, as a Caucasian older woman, raised liberally, but certainly not aware, by any means, of what people of color go through. Recent headlines have continued to shock me as to the extent of the deep seated biases, bigotry, and out and out hatred that is so rampant, yet subtle in many ways, in the US society. I’m horrified, deeply saddened, and doing all I can to become more aware.This book, along with a few others, is an excellent tool to give me a start. I highly recommend it.That I even have to read this to educate myself, because it still exists, and I literally wasn’t aware, astounds me. We’ve got some growing to do, US citizens. Step One, right here.

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  49. Erin Harms

    Top 2020 book I read! Ibram nailed it in so many ways from his personal journey to breaking down the ways racism is perpetuated with ignorance! He has written a book I believe if everyone read could change the world! It’s just straight up and honest to the bone! Be the change you want to see and he has taken one of Gandhi’s most powerful teaching to heart and is doing just that! He has his personal transformation and is now spreading the light! May his voice carry far and wide and this book reach as many hands as possible 🙏🏻🥰❤️

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  50. Angela Xie

    Thankful for this well-written book from the bottom of my heart! I especially enjoyed the personal touch by Dr. Kendi with all his personal anecdotes that weaved together the educational contents on antiracism beautifully.Being a Chinese immigrant who has only become an American citizen for two years, for most of my life I had been ignorant of the perpetuation of injustice against black and Hispanic people. My father had been mugged and injured on the head by a black person on his way home when I was a child but I have always had an implicit bias even before the incident. Not only did this book help me recognize the horrific reality of racial injustice in our country that is built upon bigotry, greed, and self-interest, it gave me new eyes to see the racism in myself that I have had toward every other people group that is different from me. Our seemingly harmless psychological tendencies can be harmful to society in a very tangible way.My journey to be an antiracist has only just begun, and I want to thank Dr. Kendi again for his inspiration and leadership.

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  51. BrainySop

    A deep look into the original of racism, its home in policy, and imagining the fundamental shift from white to shared power necessary to build a society of truly equal opportunity.

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  52. Dr. Taylor, Toureno D.

    Before I wrote my thoughts about this book, I felt went to the one and two stars comments. I am not surprised by people making the comments they made, because they are either blind to whole complete truth. First, I read Stamped from the Beginning, this is a must.I believe you truly have to read this book first in order to truly appreciate the content of this book. In doing my research, and reading several other authors I was left with many questions. This book would answer many of my questions.It’s somewhat reflective of people who made the negative comments are doing being just nor fair in what they are saying. It’s unfortunate people make blanket statement without much to back it up, with nothing more than an opinion.Finally this is very well written book, which captures and explain racism for how it affects everyone. Before a person make another negative comment they should read Malcom X biography, and then Stamped from the Beginning. You will then appreciate this book.

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  53. bookprincess

    I wish this book was required reading for all high school English classes. Regardless of what race you are (and that includes Black), this book should be read and re-read. The nuances of how we talk as a society have power and consequences. This book explains, gives history, and offers perspective from a standpoint of caring. It is powerful and by reading it, you will be one step closer to solving a societal problem.

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  54. Julie Hurst

    I really enjoyed this book. The book is full of factual information, historical data, and statistics that support Kendi’s ideas. He definitely tells it like it is. Through sharing his own journey and introspection, he encourages you to do the same. My guess is that there were some readers who didn’t like what they saw in themselves but that is how we grow. I highly recommend this book!

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  55. Alex J. DeCaria

    As a privileged white male who likes to believe that I am not racist, I was looking for something to explain racism and how to guard against inadvertently fostering racism though my actions and words. Prior to reading this book my attitude was “It’s easy not to be racist…just don’t be racist.” This book taught me otherwise. I wasn’t prepared for the many interesting and powerful ideas presented. The most important idea that I learned is that nonracist is not the opposite of racist – the opposite of racist is antiracist. This forces me from the passive stance of “I am not racist, so I am not part of the problem”, to the active stance of “Unless I am antiracist, then I AM part of the problem.”The book was very readable. The chapters are short and well-focused. The ideas build on each other and are woven throughout the chapters. Though there is repetition, it serves the purpose of reinforcement. I enjoyed the way the author used illustrations from his own experiences, and isn’t afraid to call himself out on his own past racist thoughts and actions.This book is only going to be effective if you approach it with an open mind. Unfortunately, if you are an ardent racist, it probably isn’t going to change your mind on anything. But if you fancy yourself to be nonracist, this book may just open your eyes.

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  56. paulina rambeau

    An informative, engaging, and practical guide for those of us who truly want to live in an antiracist way. The process will be imperfect as Dr. Kendi notes beautifully as he shares his own challenges, but the work (self examination first and foremost) to get to actual systemic antiracist policy changes must be done.

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  57. Mary Lou

    This book digs into the substantive causes of racial ideologies with such detailed simplicity that’s not only self reflective but challenges historical -specifically-cultural assumptions and labeling while encouraging a broad view and tolerance for the vast hues and inherent cultures that make up our great nation. It immediately captures the readers attention and doesn’t disappoint chapter-by-chapter. The title of the book itself is courageously instructive: How to be an Anti-Racist.The author answered the question with a bold reflection while challenging labels and by extension , suspending stereotypes and behaviors and decisions that are informed by racism. Racism is a verb, an action or actions that doesn’t need to be overt , even covert actions can still be racist. We judge based on what we see, what we’re taught, what we assume, what we think. These constructs are mental constraints: We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal…..Learn from it and be better for it so our future doesn’t duplicate the sins of the past. Racism persists only because racism still exists.

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  58. Tony Mirabel

    Doctor Kendi places great emphasis on policies which directly influence both racist and anti racist behavior. The narrative dissects concepts and definitions to clarify the message. An objective view opens all concepts to speculation, as to be expected from anyone paying attention. I appreciate that Dr. Kendi lived in a low income black neighborhood during his post graduate studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. It should also be mentioned that Dr. Kendi wrote this book while undergoing chemo therapy which alludes to his point that there can be no progress without pain..I agree. Dr. Kendi’ use of the English language is eloquent and just adds to how well written this work is. This book has helped me to make sense of the current polarized state of America.

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  59. joezy

    A few friends recommended this book as a way to educate myself in racism and how to fight against it as an antiracist. I learned about systemic racism in college so I came to this with some knowledge. But I walked away with so much more.Kendi has a fantastic way of weaving anecdotes from his own experiences around racism and antiracism to stories from history around the two topic. It’s an eye-opening book and I am so glad I read it. I highly recommend picking it up for yourself. Education is one of the ways we can make progress towards racial justice and this is a great place to start.

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  60. Kool58

    Recent events of police brutality on black subjects got people to protest and me into educating myself on racism. I’m first generation Indian American and did not actively study racism. Dr. Kendi in this book had presents scholarly work. It took me a while to finish the book as I would stop and Google the name of an author mentioned to read about him/ her on wikipedia and also youtube. Dr. Kendi is so kind that he concludes racist policies are the result of politicians’ self-interest. I’ll be reading this book again to work on myself to get rid of my own biases. Highly recommend for everyone!

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  61. Anthony Beckman

    This book impacted me very powerfully. From the opening pages, it began to change the way I viewed racism – my own thoughts, beliefs, actions, and values around racism. It succinctly reviews the many forms of racism and the antiracist stances we can choose to take in response. It is a powerful and vulnerable self exportation by Dr. Kendi along with providing insight into our culture and our policies. If you are ready to confront one of, if not the most important issue facing America today – this book will help you along that journey. In my own life, there will be a time before “How to be an antiracist” and the time following. It is a powerful hopeful message. Now it is time to be an activist to make “American what it must become” as James Baldwin would say.

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  62. Michael G. Cassidy

    In telling the story of his own journey to be antiracist, Kendi reveals a path that is challenging, but possible to follow, This book provides a map of a difficult terrain to anyone willing to begin or continue a life long journey to be Human.

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  63. Sunday C

    “It is best to challenge ourselves by dragging ourselves before people who intimidate us with their brilliance and constructive criticism” p. 199.Glad I challenged myself to read this and think about what it means for me. Wow. Changed my perspective on the world in so many ways. This books will stay with me…forever.An antiracist is “one who is supporting antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea” (p. 13) An antiracist loves you for being you – not for being like them but for being who you are.Racism is rooted in self-interest, greediness for power. (Ignorance is essentially a byproduct of racism and racist policies.)As educators, we don’t always realize how our way of being with children or young adults may be influenced by the racist & assimilationist views of the world around us, of the world we were raised in. Being an anti-racist is freaking hard. Dr. Kendi reflects on his own growth towards this throughout the book, acknowledging periods in his life, moments in his life when he has been a racist, an assimilationist, and an antiracist. (This is part of his brilliance by the way.) We have to be very observant and intentional to make the shift towards being an antiracist and we may (will) still have moments (days, periods) when we are not.The chapters are dense but manageable (ranging from 8-12 pages). Each chapter begins and ends with an anecdote from Dr. Kendi’s life. We meet him in second grade, middle school, high school and on. The last chapter is framed with his life during the writing of this book. After he pulls you into a chapter with a revealing anecdote, he moves into discussing a particular topic related to racism – behavior, culture, gender, etc. POWERFUL STUFF.

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  64. Gary

    I love this (hard cover) book. It took me a while to get through but that may be because I read it all and didn’t dwell on the definitions introducing each chapter. No, the definitions aren’t what you would see in Webster’s, but come on, read the chapters!The editor did miss a couple of typos (misspelled bombarded, German Sherman?) but the content of the chapters is clear and educational. I was not aware, for example, that Black immigrants coming into the U.S. today often have the preconception that African Americans are lazy. Even they have been sucked into believing a lie.I’m an average 67 year old White guy who grew up in Midland and Houston Texas as a child. I saw the “Inside for Whites only” signs. I saw the garbage men pick up the heavy metal trash cans. Invariably, they were Black and extremely muscular. As a child, I thought the signs were mean. I also hoped that Black people wouldn’t get mad at “us” because they were so strong.Fortunately, I had great parents who did not reinforce racism. I grew up to know that the signs were mean. I have spent a lifetime being embarrassed to be white whenever White Supremacy reared it’s ugly head. I’m embarrassed by our current POTUS and his sycophants.This book also describes what it means to be an activist. Kendi is very honest with himself here. He admits to thinking he was an activist at times when he strictly was not. He admits to his own racism and his realization of such. Honest, educational, and candid. Thank you, Kendi.

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  65. Ruth M. Brandon

    A powerful analysis, including history, sociology, psychology and more. It reveals an evolution in the understanding of both “racist” and “anti-racist” by the author, who grew up in the black middle class but does not let them off the hook. Both academic with extensive footnotes, and memoir, this book contains many definitions of racism: power racism, biological racism, ethnic racism, body racism, cultural racism, space racism and many others, always with parallel definitions of anti-racism. He rejects the thought that anybody can be “not racist,” unless they are “anti-racist” which always includes action to move society toward equity. Desire or success at assimilation into the dominant culture does not count for him.

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  66. lily Holmes

    This book was perfect for me. I’m a white woman in my 40s, raising a white daughter and navigating this world as a liberal in a very conservative part of the country. No one thinks they’re racist and I feel I have a lot of work to do. I want to do my part to make it better for everyone. This book was like all the background I needed to help guide me. One of my favorite takeaways is that an equitable world benefits everyone, not just those who are being treated unfairly today. I hope to bring others out of the dark by explaining that.

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  67. Remi Ramos

    Should be a book read by all.

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  68. OwlG

    I just finished reading the Kindle version of Ibram X. Kendi’s book, How To Be An Antiracist, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.The first several chapters define and address the various types of racism and other bigotries. For me the book exploded (in the best way) with the chapter titled “Failure” by drawing together all the groundwork laid in the preceding chapters and clearly explaining how the evidence changed the author’s thinking. The two chapters that followed addressed personal responsibility and hope-against-hope.In those last three chapters I found myself highlighting passage after passage.

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  69. tripletdad53

    As a white professional middle class woman, I believe it is my obligation to broaden my understanding of racism to become part of the solution and not ignorantly perpetuate the problem.The comprehensiveness of this book did not disappoint! Ibram Kendi shifted my perspective on racism.Anti racist policies diminish fear and transform racist ideas. We need to weed out racist policies and those who knowingly support them for their own benefit.So very grateful that Ibram Kendi had the courage to challenge his own racist beliefs and has left a road maps for all Americans to follow.So very hopeful Kendi’s work at American University will unite us as a country and strengthen our humanity as we begin to realize anti racist policies benefit us all.

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  70. Patricia

    Although the book is written by a scholar and historian, Kendi’s work is incredibly engaging because he tells his own personal journey in a compelling way along with the lessons of history. The history of institutional racism was fascinating and horrifying all at once. The book opened my eyes and made me understand the world from a different vantage. This book along with White Fragility have changed my thinking. He also points out that differences between individual acts and how the economy and idealogy play into the history of racism. I highly recommend the book regardless of your starting viewpoint.

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  71. Mouse

    What a great book. I love the insight Kendi shared regarding his journey in striving to be an anti-racist. The main takeaway I got from this book was, “Everybody is racist and has implicit biases, but the actions you actively take in order to stop perpetuating racism is what defines one as an anti-racist.”Are you willing to sit down, take accountability, and evaluate your own actions and pre-conceived notions in order to improve yourself and the social climate of the world or are you going to be a bystander and continue to allow racism to happen?It was definitely a heavy read, but it opened my eyes and was very insightful.

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  72. Cameron Kuhn

    Extremely thought provoking, there were times where I found myself really irritated by Dr. Kendi and then minutes later feeling so lucky to soak up his philosophies of life. The organization and writing of the book is superb. I went into the book thinking it would be fairly surface level on how to be a better white person, maybe that’s why at times I was uncomfortable because I had to face some truths about my beliefs that maybe I didn’t want to deconstruct; but this book is so much more than being a good citizen or representative of your race, it really tries to open and reshape how you think about and view the world. That was overly welcome and made me pleasantly surprised as a reader.

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  73. Nina Alter

    I read the first edition a few years ago. After reading a recent article in which Dr Kendi spoke to his revised edition, I was curious.I loved reading the book the first time. Especially the author’s candor and vulnerability in reflecting upon his own teen angst, and his own journey with racism. The revised edition only builds on that; and with all the courage behind Kendi’s thinking, magnified by his willingness to be vulnerable to not having all the answers.Also: Never before have I seen annotations in an updated edition so prominently called out, or so simply/personally spoken to. The usual attempt at sterility that I see in too much non-fiction is abandoned, and some annotations ask more questions than they provide answers.I also appreciate that the publisher allowed (or asked?) its designer, to not be so discreet about the annotations. It reminds me of how GitHub shows code diffs, or how GDocs shows changes; in context. No sterility, just honesty.Insightful and worth the time to read, whether or not you read the first edition—and a brilliant meditation on hope and possibility, grounded in the hard realities of thorough, attentive, and honest scholarship.

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  74. Austin Shirey

    One of the most eye-opening and important books I’ve ever read; one I feel will need to re-read and re-read in order to truly take it all in. Everyone needs to read this book.

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  75. Maria

    brilliant book: racial inequalities are created by racist policies and racist ideas are created to defend the racist policy, which gives power to abusive white people who think they are racially superior.Something is wrong with white people. They tend to be disrespectful to minorities, and they don’t care about racial inequalities a lot of the time. They just want to defend what they perceive as their right to be abusive.Kendo is a genius 👏👏👏

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  76. Katherine Stivers

    This book was hard to read at times (mama going on little sleep) so I often had to reread paragraphs at a time. I have learned a great deal about racism in the US, though. I too used to think that racism would end with more education. Really, we need policy change in order to affect change. As a white woman, I found this book helped me call myself on my own biases and racist thoughts. It also helped me understand how I can take action to help ensure policy change. I think this book should be required reading in US History classes!

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  77. Luke Matthews

    I first encountered Ibram X. Kendi’s work when I read his 2016 book STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING: THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF RACIST IDEAS IN AMERICA. What a masterful, even magisterial, piece of work. Moving from the earliest moments of European invasion of the Americas to the present-day, in that work Kendi uncovered more than five centuries of the damage done by anti-Black racism has done and is doing in America to our society, our culture, our minds and bodies. (If you haven’t read it, you ought to.) Shortly after finishing that book, I saw that he had a new book titled HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST. I put it on my list, added it to my pile (as it were) and moved on to reading something else. Well, I’ve read a bunch of somethings else, and so have now gotten around to reading it.I’ll admit that I felt prompted to read HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST (which was published just last year in 2019) as it seems that – at least at the college where I work – the book has become the center of a lot of attention. There are book clubs, discussion groups and the author is widely cited as an authority. It was time to read it to stay in the institutional conversation.The ideas contained in HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST are there in STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING as well. Both books make the assertion that simply recognizing the existence of racism is not enough, that if we are to make a more just society we must actively seek out and replace the laws, policies and traditions that have created and that are maintaining the social and cultural structures that naturalize inequality. Those ideas, however, are presented in HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST in a more personal, memoir like format in which Kendi takes the reader through his own struggle to divest himself of the effects of racism on his thoughts and actions. Frankly, I prefer the more historical approach but I can see how the more personal approach would appeal to others. But, whether you like to get the insights presented as history or as memoir, if you’re troubled by the parade of broken promises that is this country’s history and want to do something about it – something more than just acknowledging that ugly parade – you couldn’t go wrong by reading and studying this book.I have a couple of quibbles – and neither takes away from the value of the book – with what Kendi has to say in HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST. One has to do with his linguistic concepts. He uses the term “Ebonics” – a term linguists shun – to refer to Black English (in the minds of some users of that term, the grammar of Black English has to do with an influence from the languages of West Africa and there is simply no evidence any such influence), and he uses the term “dialect” as if it its definition includes the idea of a speech variety being substandard – there is no such sense in the linguistic definition of dialect. His handling of linguistic concepts was strangely sloppy in a book that was otherwise pretty tightly argued. Another thing was that Kendi, building on his personal experience with cancer, likened racism in the US as a kind of cancer, and that we must endure the surgery and chemotherapy with their attendant pain and suffering to rid ourselves of the malignant growth of racism. But likening racism to cancer implies a dangerous and deadly thing that is not supposed to be there. This felt oddly out of place in the work of a scholar who has looked so closely at history of American institutions. An examination of American history actually seems to reveal that racism has been there from the beginning – it’s built into the structure of our institutions…it’s not a neoplasm, a new growth but a constituent part of the thing itself – it’s the mortar holding the bricks together, it’s the thread binding the seams. Being anti-racist then will then require us and future generations to tear down and re-build.

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  78. MEL

    I enjoy reading this author.

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  79. Luke Matthews

    I first encountered Ibram X. Kendi’s work when I read his 2016 book STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING: THE DEFINITIVE HISTORY OF RACIST IDEAS IN AMERICA. What a masterful, even magisterial, piece of work. Moving from the earliest moments of European invasion of the Americas to the present-day, in that work Kendi uncovered more than five centuries of the damage done by anti-Black racism has done and is doing in America to our society, our culture, our minds and bodies. (If you haven’t read it, you ought to.) Shortly after finishing that book, I saw that he had a new book titled HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST. I put it on my list, added it to my pile (as it were) and moved on to reading something else. Well, I’ve read a bunch of somethings else, and so have now gotten around to reading it.I’ll admit that I felt prompted to read HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST (which was published just last year in 2019) as it seems that – at least at the college where I work – the book has become the center of a lot of attention. There are book clubs, discussion groups and the author is widely cited as an authority. It was time to read it to stay in the institutional conversation.The ideas contained in HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST are there in STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING as well. Both books make the assertion that simply recognizing the existence of racism is not enough, that if we are to make a more just society we must actively seek out and replace the laws, policies and traditions that have created and that are maintaining the social and cultural structures that naturalize inequality. Those ideas, however, are presented in HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST in a more personal, memoir like format in which Kendi takes the reader through his own struggle to divest himself of the effects of racism on his thoughts and actions. Frankly, I prefer the more historical approach but I can see how the more personal approach would appeal to others. But, whether you like to get the insights presented as history or as memoir, if you’re troubled by the parade of broken promises that is this country’s history and want to do something about it – something more than just acknowledging that ugly parade – you couldn’t go wrong by reading and studying this book.I have a couple of quibbles – and neither takes away from the value of the book – with what Kendi has to say in HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST. One has to do with his linguistic concepts. He uses the term “Ebonics” – a term linguists shun – to refer to Black English (in the minds of some users of that term, the grammar of Black English has to do with an influence from the languages of West Africa and there is simply no evidence any such influence), and he uses the term “dialect” as if it its definition includes the idea of a speech variety being substandard – there is no such sense in the linguistic definition of dialect. His handling of linguistic concepts was strangely sloppy in a book that was otherwise pretty tightly argued. Another thing was that Kendi, building on his personal experience with cancer, likened racism in the US as a kind of cancer, and that we must endure the surgery and chemotherapy with their attendant pain and suffering to rid ourselves of the malignant growth of racism. But likening racism to cancer implies a dangerous and deadly thing that is not supposed to be there. This felt oddly out of place in the work of a scholar who has looked so closely at history of American institutions. An examination of American history actually seems to reveal that racism has been there from the beginning – it’s built into the structure of our institutions…it’s not a neoplasm, a new growth but a constituent part of the thing itself – it’s the mortar holding the bricks together, it’s the thread binding the seams. Being anti-racist then will then require us and future generations to tear down and re-build.

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  80. Christina Dragonetti

    I would like to thank Ibram Kendi for this book. We need this kind of analysis to deconstruct the phenomenon of racism and to pursue more clarity on how to tag it and stamp it out – in the world and in ourselves. In interweaving autobiography and viewpoint, Kendi provides a rigorous and passionate perspective, underscored with personal humility and the courage to share his journey. If I could ask one thing from Kendi’s next works – and I will be reading them – it would be provision of sources from his research.

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  81. John Brodrick

    The book is well written and speaks in a gentle tone so as not to be off-putting to those who may start with a different mindset. Kindness is at the heart of the philosophy. In short the book proposes:- Don’t be in denial about racism, examine yourself, the ideas you hold and policies you support. Admit and improve- Be active against racism (anti-racist) not passive (I’m not racist mentality).- A lot of these anti-racist policies will benefit all Americans. Stop thinking like it is a zero sum game.Overall if people would be more open minded, give the book a try, really listen to what he is saying, it seems to me it would make the world a better place.I’ll leave with my favorite quote from the book: “White supremacists blame non-White people for the struggles of White people when any objective analysis of their plight primarily implicates the rich White Trumps they support.”

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  82. Amazon Customer

    Kendi is incredibly methodical in his discussion of what racism is and how it functions. The book moves forward in a wonderfully organized manner, tying abstract concepts to personal history in always meaningful ways. The points he make can be really didactic but the anecdotes keep it lively and readable.Just finished reading some of the recent reviews of the book and it seems he should add a new chapter quoting from all of them to simply prove more vigorously all the points he’s making. People here are just full of racist concepts and ideas they’re using to attack this. Really enjoying the book so far.

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  83. Craig C.

    This book is packed with definitions, humility, and education on anti racism. I appreciate the authors ability to model humility by revisiting times he got it wrong and how he is correcting his language and understanding.

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  84. It’s Mueller Time

    This is definitely a must-read for everyone. Sadly, the people who need to read it the most won’t be reading it. It is somewhat a narrative as his personal anecdotes are sprinkled around a truly compelling framework for what racism is and isn’t. Racial discrimination is ok if it leads to anti-racist policies (aka affirmative action). With a biographical history in black liberation theology from his parents, the author leads you to a better understanding of racism and the need not to just be race neutral or color-blind which is in effect, racist, but to fight for policies that are anti-racist.

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  85. L. Meloy

    Maybe the most comprehensive and thought-provoking book on racism and “How to be an anti-racist” that I have read or could ever hope to read. He thoroughly explores all aspects of racism, bigotry, bias, sexism, homophobia, gender bias, etc. and more importantly how to work through all these issues, and why it’s important. He is very candid as he incorporates his own experience with becoming aware of his own biases, how these biases and prejudices are not only hurting others but hindering his own growth as a person. Perhaps most importantly, that this is a continual and life long process, and not something that any of us (particularly as Americans steeped in a racist culture for 400 years) can hope to change swiftly. But he gave me hope that we can all learn and change.

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  86. Steven H Propp

    Ibram Xolani Kendi (born Ibram Henry Rogers) is director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University; he previously taught history and Africana Studies at several universities, and founded the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University.He wrote in the Introduction to this 2019 book, “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 race 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 no longer care about how the actions of other Black individuals reflect on me, since none of us are race representatives… And I’ve come to see that the movement from racist to antiracist is always ongoing… it means standing ready to fight at racism’s intersections with other bigotries. 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… and antiracist world… can become real if we focus on power instead of people, if we focus on changing policy instead of groups of people. It’s possible if we overcome our cynicism about the permanence of racism.” (Pg. 10-11)He explains, “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 ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an antiracist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, 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.” (Pg. 9)He outlines, “let’s set some definitions. What is racism? Racism is a marriage of racial policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities… Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing… A racist policy is any measure that produced or sustains racial inequity between racial groups. An antiracist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups… Focusing on ‘racial discrimination’ takes our eyes off the central agents of racism: racist policy and racist policymakers, or what I call racist power.” (Pg. 18-19) He continues, “So what is a racist idea? A racist idea is any idea that suggests one racial group is inferior or superior to another racial group in any way. Racist ideas argue that the inferiorities and superiorities of racial groups explain racial inequities in society… An antiracist idea is any idea that suggests the racial groups are equals in all their apparent differences—that there is nothing right or wrong with any racial group. Antiracist ideas argue that racist policies are the cause of racial inequities.” (Pg. 20)He recalls a church program from his youth, of “Black people feeding Black people [which] embodied the gospel of Black self-reliance that the adults in my life were feeding me. Black self-reliance was a double-edged sword. On one side was an abhorrence of White supremacy and White paternalism… On the other, a love of Black rulers and saviors of Black paternalism. On one side was the antiracist belief that Black people were entirely capable of … relying on themselves. On the other, the assimilationist idea that Black people should focus on pulling themselves up … getting off crack, street corners, and government ‘handouts’…This dueling consciousness nourished Black pride by insisting that there was nothing wrong with Black people, but it also cultivated shame with its implication that there was something behaviorallly wrong with Black people… well, at least those other Black people. If the problem was in our own behavior, then Reagan revolutionaries were not keeping Black people down—we were keeping ourselves down.” (Pg. 30-31)He suggests, “But there is a way to get free. To be antiracist is to emancipate oneself from the dueling consciousness. To be antiracist is to conquer the assimilationist consciousness and the segregationist consciousness. The White body no longer presents itself as the American body; the Black body no longer strives to be the American body, knowing there is no such thing as the American body, only American bodies, racialized by power.” (Pg. 33-34)He argues, “But there is no such thing as racial ancestry. Ethnic ancestry does exist… People from the same ethnic groups that are native to certain geographic regions typically share the same genetic profile. Geneticists call them ‘populations.’ When geneticists compare these ethnic populations, they find there is more genetic diversity between populations within Africa that between Africa and the rest of the world. Ethnic groups in Western Africa are more genetically similar to ethnic groups in Western Europe than to ethnic groups in Eastern Africa. Race is a genetic mirage.” (Pg. 53)He states, “To be antiracist is to view national and transnational ethnic groups as equal in all their differences. To be antiracist is to challenge the racist policies that plague racialized ethnic groups across the world. To be antiracist is to view the inequities between all racialized ethnic groups as a problem of policy.” (Pg. 64) Later, he adds, “To be an antiracist is to focus on color lines as much as racial lines, knowing that color lines are equally harmful for Dark people. When the gains of a multicolored race disproportionately flow to Dark people, inequities between the races mirror inequities within the races. But because inequities between the races overshadow inequities within the races, Dark people often fail to see colorism as they regularly experience it. Therefore, Dark people rarely protest policies that benefit Light people…” (Pg. 110)He notes, “To be an antiracist is not to reverse the beauty standard. To be an antiracist is to eliminate any beauty standard based on skin and eye color, hair texture, facial and bodily features shared by groups. To be an antiracist is to diversify our standards of beauty like our standards of culture or intelligence, to see beauty equally in all skin colors, broad and thin noses, kinky and straight hair, light and dark eyes. To be an antiracist is to build and live in a beauty culture that accentuates instead of erases our natural beauty.” (Pg. 113-114)He points out, “Months before being assassinated, Malcolm X faced a fact many admirers… still refuse to face: Black people can be racist toward White people… Whenever someone classifies people of European descent as biologically, culturally or behaviorally inferior, whenever someone says there is something wrong with White people as a group, someone is articulating a racist idea. The only thing wrong with White people is when they embrace racist ideas and policies and then deny their ideas and policies are racist… There’s no such thing as White genes. We must separate the warlike, greedy, bigoted, and individualist cultures of modern empire and racial capitalism… from the cultures of White people. They are not one and the same…” (Pg. 128)He observes, “To color police racism as White on the pretext that only White people can be racist is to ignore the non-White officer’s history of profiling and killing ‘them ni-gers.’ It is to ignore that the police killer in 2012 of Brooklyn’s Shantel Davis was Black, that three of the six officers involved in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray were Black, that the police killer in 2016 of Charlotte’s Keith Lamont Scott was Black, and that one of the police killers in 2018 of Sacramento’s Stephon Clark was Black. How can the white officers involved in the deaths of Terence Crutcher, Sandra Bland, Walter L. Scott, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, and Decynthia Clements be racist but their Black counterparts be antiracist?” (Pg. 147-148)He recalls, “My parents were worried… when I moved into this Black neighborhood. I felt I needed to live around Black people in order to study and uplift Black people. Not just any Black people: poor Black people… I made urban poverty an entryway into the supposedly crime-riddled and impoverished house of authentic Blackness… I thought I was so real, so Black, in choosing this apartment in this neighborhood. In truth, I was being racist… I was fleeing to poor Blacks in racist assurance of the superiority conferred by their danger, their superior authenticity. I was the Black gentrifier… I believed culture filtered upward, that Black elites … needed to go to the ‘bottom’ to be civilized.” (Pg. 163-165)He notes, “To be antiracist is to reject not only the hierarchy of races but of race-genders. To be feminist is to reject not only the hierarchy of genders but of race-genders. To truly be antiracist is to be feminist.” (Pg. 189) Later, he adds, “I am a cisgendered Black heterosexual male… To be queer antiracist is to understand the privileges of my cisgender, of my masculinity, of my heterosexuality, of their intersections. To be queer antiracist is to serve as an ally to transgender people, to intersex people, to women, to the non-gender-conforming… and being led by their equalizing policy campaigns, by their power struggle for equal opportunity.” (Pg. 197)He summarizes “steps to be an antiracist. I stop using the ‘I’m not a racist’ … defense of denial. I admit the definition of racist (someone who is supporting racist policies or expressing racist ideas). I confess the racist policies I support and racist ideas I express… I acknowledge the definition of antiracist (someone who is supporting antiracist policies or expressing antiracist ideas). I struggle for antiracist power in my spaces… I struggle to remain at the antiracist intersections where racism is mixed with other bigotries… I struggle to think with antiracist ideas… Racist ideas fooled me nearly my whole life… I realized there is nothing wrong with any of the racial groups and everything wrong with individuals like me who think there is something wrong with any of the racial groups.” (Pg. 226-227)He concludes, “Race and racism are power constructs of the modern world… Racism is not even six hundred years old. It’s a cancer that we’ve caught early. But racism is one of the fastest-spreading and most fatal cancers humanity has ever known… There is nothing I see in our world today… giving me hope that one day antiracists will win the fight… What gives me hope is a simple truism. Once we lose hope, we are guaranteed to lose. But if we … fight to create an antiracist world, then we give humanity a chance to one day survive, a chance to live in communion, a chance to be forever free.” (Pg. 238)This book will be “must reading” for anyone concerned with issues affecting race, ethnicity, and social groups in modern culture.

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  87. Steven H Propp

    Ibram Xolani Kendi (born Ibram Henry Rogers) is director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University; he previously taught history and Africana Studies at several universities, and founded the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University.He wrote in the Introduction to this 2019 book, “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 race 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 no longer care about how the actions of other Black individuals reflect on me, since none of us are race representatives… And I’ve come to see that the movement from racist to antiracist is always ongoing… it means standing ready to fight at racism’s intersections with other bigotries. 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… and antiracist world… can become real if we focus on power instead of people, if we focus on changing policy instead of groups of people. It’s possible if we overcome our cynicism about the permanence of racism.” (Pg. 10-11)He explains, “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 ‘anti-racist.’ What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an antiracist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, 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.” (Pg. 9)He outlines, “let’s set some definitions. What is racism? Racism is a marriage of racial policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities… Racial inequity is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing… A racist policy is any measure that produced or sustains racial inequity between racial groups. An antiracist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups… Focusing on ‘racial discrimination’ takes our eyes off the central agents of racism: racist policy and racist policymakers, or what I call racist power.” (Pg. 18-19) He continues, “So what is a racist idea? A racist idea is any idea that suggests one racial group is inferior or superior to another racial group in any way. Racist ideas argue that the inferiorities and superiorities of racial groups explain racial inequities in society… An antiracist idea is any idea that suggests the racial groups are equals in all their apparent differences—that there is nothing right or wrong with any racial group. Antiracist ideas argue that racist policies are the cause of racial inequities.” (Pg. 20)He recalls a church program from his youth, of “Black people feeding Black people [which] embodied the gospel of Black self-reliance that the adults in my life were feeding me. Black self-reliance was a double-edged sword. On one side was an abhorrence of White supremacy and White paternalism… On the other, a love of Black rulers and saviors of Black paternalism. On one side was the antiracist belief that Black people were entirely capable of … relying on themselves. On the other, the assimilationist idea that Black people should focus on pulling themselves up … getting off crack, street corners, and government ‘handouts’…This dueling consciousness nourished Black pride by insisting that there was nothing wrong with Black people, but it also cultivated shame with its implication that there was something behaviorallly wrong with Black people… well, at least those other Black people. If the problem was in our own behavior, then Reagan revolutionaries were not keeping Black people down—we were keeping ourselves down.” (Pg. 30-31)He suggests, “But there is a way to get free. To be antiracist is to emancipate oneself from the dueling consciousness. To be antiracist is to conquer the assimilationist consciousness and the segregationist consciousness. The White body no longer presents itself as the American body; the Black body no longer strives to be the American body, knowing there is no such thing as the American body, only American bodies, racialized by power.” (Pg. 33-34)He argues, “But there is no such thing as racial ancestry. Ethnic ancestry does exist… People from the same ethnic groups that are native to certain geographic regions typically share the same genetic profile. Geneticists call them ‘populations.’ When geneticists compare these ethnic populations, they find there is more genetic diversity between populations within Africa that between Africa and the rest of the world. Ethnic groups in Western Africa are more genetically similar to ethnic groups in Western Europe than to ethnic groups in Eastern Africa. Race is a genetic mirage.” (Pg. 53)He states, “To be antiracist is to view national and transnational ethnic groups as equal in all their differences. To be antiracist is to challenge the racist policies that plague racialized ethnic groups across the world. To be antiracist is to view the inequities between all racialized ethnic groups as a problem of policy.” (Pg. 64) Later, he adds, “To be an antiracist is to focus on color lines as much as racial lines, knowing that color lines are equally harmful for Dark people. When the gains of a multicolored race disproportionately flow to Dark people, inequities between the races mirror inequities within the races. But because inequities between the races overshadow inequities within the races, Dark people often fail to see colorism as they regularly experience it. Therefore, Dark people rarely protest policies that benefit Light people…” (Pg. 110)He notes, “To be an antiracist is not to reverse the beauty standard. To be an antiracist is to eliminate any beauty standard based on skin and eye color, hair texture, facial and bodily features shared by groups. To be an antiracist is to diversify our standards of beauty like our standards of culture or intelligence, to see beauty equally in all skin colors, broad and thin noses, kinky and straight hair, light and dark eyes. To be an antiracist is to build and live in a beauty culture that accentuates instead of erases our natural beauty.” (Pg. 113-114)He points out, “Months before being assassinated, Malcolm X faced a fact many admirers… still refuse to face: Black people can be racist toward White people… Whenever someone classifies people of European descent as biologically, culturally or behaviorally inferior, whenever someone says there is something wrong with White people as a group, someone is articulating a racist idea. The only thing wrong with White people is when they embrace racist ideas and policies and then deny their ideas and policies are racist… There’s no such thing as White genes. We must separate the warlike, greedy, bigoted, and individualist cultures of modern empire and racial capitalism… from the cultures of White people. They are not one and the same…” (Pg. 128)He observes, “To color police racism as White on the pretext that only White people can be racist is to ignore the non-White officer’s history of profiling and killing ‘them ni-gers.’ It is to ignore that the police killer in 2012 of Brooklyn’s Shantel Davis was Black, that three of the six officers involved in the 2015 death of Freddie Gray were Black, that the police killer in 2016 of Charlotte’s Keith Lamont Scott was Black, and that one of the police killers in 2018 of Sacramento’s Stephon Clark was Black. How can the white officers involved in the deaths of Terence Crutcher, Sandra Bland, Walter L. Scott, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, and Decynthia Clements be racist but their Black counterparts be antiracist?” (Pg. 147-148)He recalls, “My parents were worried… when I moved into this Black neighborhood. I felt I needed to live around Black people in order to study and uplift Black people. Not just any Black people: poor Black people… I made urban poverty an entryway into the supposedly crime-riddled and impoverished house of authentic Blackness… I thought I was so real, so Black, in choosing this apartment in this neighborhood. In truth, I was being racist… I was fleeing to poor Blacks in racist assurance of the superiority conferred by their danger, their superior authenticity. I was the Black gentrifier… I believed culture filtered upward, that Black elites … needed to go to the ‘bottom’ to be civilized.” (Pg. 163-165)He notes, “To be antiracist is to reject not only the hierarchy of races but of race-genders. To be feminist is to reject not only the hierarchy of genders but of race-genders. To truly be antiracist is to be feminist.” (Pg. 189) Later, he adds, “I am a cisgendered Black heterosexual male… To be queer antiracist is to understand the privileges of my cisgender, of my masculinity, of my heterosexuality, of their intersections. To be queer antiracist is to serve as an ally to transgender people, to intersex people, to women, to the non-gender-conforming… and being led by their equalizing policy campaigns, by their power struggle for equal opportunity.” (Pg. 197)He summarizes “steps to be an antiracist. I stop using the ‘I’m not a racist’ … defense of denial. I admit the definition of racist (someone who is supporting racist policies or expressing racist ideas). I confess the racist policies I support and racist ideas I express… I acknowledge the definition of antiracist (someone who is supporting antiracist policies or expressing antiracist ideas). I struggle for antiracist power in my spaces… I struggle to remain at the antiracist intersections where racism is mixed with other bigotries… I struggle to think with antiracist ideas… Racist ideas fooled me nearly my whole life… I realized there is nothing wrong with any of the racial groups and everything wrong with individuals like me who think there is something wrong with any of the racial groups.” (Pg. 226-227)He concludes, “Race and racism are power constructs of the modern world… Racism is not even six hundred years old. It’s a cancer that we’ve caught early. But racism is one of the fastest-spreading and most fatal cancers humanity has ever known… There is nothing I see in our world today… giving me hope that one day antiracists will win the fight… What gives me hope is a simple truism. Once we lose hope, we are guaranteed to lose. But if we … fight to create an antiracist world, then we give humanity a chance to one day survive, a chance to live in communion, a chance to be forever free.” (Pg. 238)This book will be “must reading” for anyone concerned with issues affecting race, ethnicity, and social groups in modern culture.

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  88. Joseph Psotka

    How to Be an AntiracistIbram X. KendiI agree with Kendi, that 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.” And I’ve come to see that the movement from racist to antiracist is always ongoing—it means standing ready to fight at racism’s intersections with other bigotries.A racist idea is any idea that suggests one racial group is inferior or superior to another racial group in any way. Sadly, the implicit meaning of “race” to the vast majority of the world includes a racist hierarchy that puts one ethnic group above another. It certainly cannot mean that to an antiracist or someone struggling to become an antiracist.I agree with Kendi that “race” is fundamentally a power construct of blended difference that lives socially. Race creates new forms of power for the powerful. But it also contains many surplus and implicit meanings that the vast majority of mankind without power also believes as a tenuous hold on power that is fictional.This critique is basically about Chapter 4, about Xendi’s clinging to the word “Race”. I loved his first book because his ideas were growing and in transition, not yet congealed into an ideology, which may describe his ideas in this book. In “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” Ibram X. Kendi was still growing and exploring his ideas, and I especially admired his ability to integrate and go beyond Ta_Nehisi Coates. I especially loved his description of Bill Clinton’s avowal that the human genome offered proof that we are all one race, what Kendi in this book calls a:BIOLOGICAL ANTIRACIST: One who is expressing the idea that the races are meaningfully the same in their biology and there are no genetic racial differences.But now he goes on to say that “Only racists shy away from the R-word—racism is steeped in denial.” And this is the opposite conclusion that I arrive at: We need to remove “Race” from our language as a key step in becoming antiracist. The word “Race” has become a pillar upholding way too many racist ideas. We need to cut that pillar down.He also says: “It is one of the ironies of antiracism that we must identify racially in order to identify the racial privileges and dangers of being in our bodies.” And I firmly do not believe that. We have many, way too many ways to identify racist ideas and institutions in our society. We don’t need to identify racially and we are all better off if we don’t hold on to racist ideas in any way. This is not assimilationist. It is a call for cultural diversity, but outside the shackles of racist racial concepts.“Biological racism rests on two ideas: that the races are meaningfully different in their biology and that these differences create a hierarchy of value.” Kendi at one point in his past accepted the first, while he rejected the biological racial hierarchy, but he came to see that this was a doubtful ploy by racists to sneak in their racist ideals.By elevating certain inherited abilities in abused minorities, such as improvisational decision making, that could explain why they predominate in certain fields such as jazz, rap, and basketball, and not in other fields, such as classical music, chess, and astronomy; by acknowledging certain almost irrelevant and certainly lower status ways that Blacks are superior, the racists justified a biological racist distinction that empowers other racist biological ideas that are even more abusive. By upholding a biological distinction between “races” racists could hold on to the fundamental racist idea of a biological sanction for racist hierarchies, and gave them power to subjugate. Racist power at once made biological racial distinction and biological racial hierarchy the components of biological racism.One of the “great truths” this hid was “that in genetic terms, all human beings, regardless of race, are more than 99.9 percent the same.”As Kendi justifiably points out, when geneticists compare different white populations to those in Africa, they find there is more genetic diversity between populations within Africa than between Africa and the rest of the world. Race is a genetic mirage.Yet, even with this scientific proof, segregationists like Nicholas Wade figure if humans are 99.9 percent genetically alike, then they must be 0.1 percent distinct. And this distinction must be racial. And that 0.1 percent of racial distinction has grown exponentially over the millennia. And it is their job to search heaven and earth for these exponentially distinct races. This argument is not just fallacious and makes no sense; it is increasingly so. Segregationists and non-racists will find it increasingly impossible to cling to.Anyway, they are not the real problem. The real problem are the millions of racists who believe their racist ideas, including “Race”, are just common sense. It is their implicit positions that have become untenable.Even Christian fundamentalist Ken Ham, the co-author of One Race One Blood, asked in an op-ed in 2017. “For one, point out the common ground of both evolutionists and creationists: the mapping of the human genome concluded that there is only one race, the human race.”Given all these sensible positions that Kendi emphasises and describes it came as a total shock to me that he next justified continuing to uphold and promulgate the word “Race”.He begins by asserting that: “Race is a mirage but one that humanity has organized itself around in very real ways.”This makes no sense to me as a justification, because humanity has also organized itself in very real ways around racist ideas, especially in America; and in no way does this justify us to hold on to them.He next challenges an economic interpretation of race by asserting that “imagining away the existence of races in a racist world is as conserving and harmful as imagining away classes in a capitalistic world—it allows the ruling races and classes to keep on ruling.”This seems self contradictory too. Doing away with classes is a very legitimate goal of modern politcal movements, with the expre3ss goal of taking power away from ruling classes, just as taking away the idea of races is an essential part of taking power away from ruling ethnic groups.His next justification is a bit more powerful. He says: “They fail to realize that if we stop using racial categories, then we will not be able to identify racial inequity.”This makes no sense to me. Surely we can identify racist ideas if we destroy the concept of race. If we rail against the concept of race, we begin to destroy racist ideas embedded within the concept of race, such as a hierarchy of inferiority and superiority.And too, we can still identify economic and social inequities. Especially if races don’t exist, the fictions that racisst create become even clearer fictions , and all our energies can be devoted to tearing them down.Kendi is just plain wrong when he says that if “we cannot identify racial inequity, then we will not be able to identify racist policies. If we cannot identify racist policies, then we cannot challenge racist policies.”That’s just silly. Racist policies, like legal insistence on money for bail and voting can still easily be seen. After all, there are still ethnic groups of blacks and Hispanix to analyze, and arguments become even more powerful when all colored groups are united with other lower economic groups. And there are still huge inequities, especially internationally when we compare the developed northern against the undevelop southern world.“Terminating racial categories is potentially the last, not the first, step in the antiracist struggle.”Terminating racial categories may be difficult but may be easier than terminating implicit racist ideas in common sense views, and in many institutions like the police.Replacing racist “racial” categories with anti-racist ethnic categories does not need to be the first step, and in fact it may be much too difficult in this world where “race” is embedded in all legal canons to be a first step; but for an antiracist it is an essential step in struggling against the racist ideas that dominate our world,

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  89. TinyDancer

    I just finished listening to the audiobook. I rarely read nonfiction. I was attracted by the title because I struggle to find ways to somehow impact the world in a positive way, and specifically how can I help fight racism. It’s a conundrum because I have been 100% convinced from like the age of 8 that race is a bogus idea with no scientific basis. And yet it is the water we swim in so to speak. You cannot avoid the impact of this lie. Dr. Kendi calls race a mirage which tricks us and I liked that metaphor. He also shares so much of himself and his own journey along with a whole bunch of history most of us probably don’t know. I will be revisiting this book in audible or kindle format for sure. It is rich with information and wisdom. I highly recommend this book to everyone. You will learn something important and his own story is told with such openness.

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  90. bigbearsfan

    This helped start a conversation about race in our household. My wife really liked most of the book and disagreed on some minor points. I think it’s a good effort to help get people engaged on the topic. Realistically, the people who most need to read books like this don’t. So, I take this book as a reminder that we can’t take our eye off this subject. We have to be vigilant in protecting the rights of our fellow Americans, even those we believe we may have disagreement with.

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  91. g.l.myers

    The first step to appreciating this book is to open your mind to the idea some of your beliefs about racism and what to do about it might be wrong. Having done the first step it is time to read and reflect on the ideas presented with an attitude of honest self evaluation. Kendi is not out to convince people to agree with every word he presents, rather he is out to convince people to work to change racist policies. Racism can be defeated by eliminating racist policies is an idea Kendi convinced me is worth promoting. The odds of success are long, but not trying is unthinkable. The best parts of this book are not found in the words on the pages, but in the personal reflection and action it can provoke. Read it all and decide if you are going to be antiracist or racist.

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  92. LauraLee Foley

    Deep and very detailed. I am in the middle of reading this. I bought it to understand more about being antiracist. I believe that I am, and I want to continue to unlearn the racial lessons we all have grown up to believe. I am hoping this book will help me grow as a woman who grew up as a Caucasian woman. I am also a mother of several multi cultural children.

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  93. Alexander Halpin

    On a whim, I encountered this book on Amazon while looking through other topical pieces during these dangerous times that we live in. The title stuck with me, with its graffiti looking cover and the fact that it made me desire to read more. My usual book purchases are not topical pieces, instead diving more into the historical biographies and events that surround and form our current present day, but African-American studies have interested me in recent years, especially after the recent death of George Floyd, which affected Minneapolis, somewhere pretty close to me. I normally reside on the sidelines, but, driven by the pursuit of knowledge, I clicked ‘Buy.’ Two days later, the book arrived on my doorstep.After finishing the previous read, I took it up on Thursday of last week. I finished it Sunday morning.Simply put, this book is one of the most effective, thought provoking reads that I have dug into. It made me frustrated, leaving me with grasping straws on how these sort of things could still be happening in the 21st century, AKA the most progressive America has been on social issues in a very long time.The book is framed in a way that both straddles biography and topical studies. Each chapter begins with a personal story from the author, about how even as a black individual he still absorbed racist thoughts when he was a child, teen, and young adult. This is countered by the reasoning on why people think this way, from historical context to sociology to psychology. It covers a wide swath of topics, from the initial slave trade (and the birth of racism in the Portuguese Empire) to the Civil Rights movement, and, some might even say controversially, statements from the current president in 2019. But, I feel, it straddles the line of being politically neutral while also being pointed in its criticisms of voter suppression, racial inequality, but does so in a convincing way that renders the argument even more powerful than before. And to counter those reviews on here that states that it is a leftist complaining about this and that, I would like to encourage you to dig through the eighty pages of references and sources that he has in the book. If you disagree with the author after this book, do some digging yourself!Once I finished the book, I knew I had to order it for friends and family. As of typing this out right now, this book has either been shipped or will be arriving to my brothers, parents and friends. I may order more, who knows. What I do know is that this book should be deeply encouraged to be read by as many people as possible.Only together can we bring true equality and make the words, ‘All men are created equal,’ a reality.

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  94. Mark Oresic

    A bold voice to help articulate the black perspective of ‘systemic racism’ in America. A rare and valuable read on American Social Reform; while equally so, presenting itself as anything but an easy read. Its thorough topical narrative will cause the sincere and honest reader to venture down paths of personal introspection, as well as past American history, together with modern American social culture. Now then; despite the above sincerely objective review; as a lifelong trained Christian in scriptural doctrine, a more complete reading assignment in finding solutions to help mitigate the American scourge of ‘systemic racism’, might prove to be a focused and disciplined goal of reading and studying the 4 canonized scriptural volumes of: ‘The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ – known as: 1) Holy Bible, 2) Book of Mormon, 3) Doctrine and Covenants, and 4) Pearl of Great Price. My suggestion for all sincerely interested parties to read further according to the book list above, is based on the distinction of two things; natural human knowledge based on human experience and learning, can only go so far, and can not compete with the divinely inspired knowledge that humanity’s Creator offers to His Creation (humanity) within the 4 aforementioned volumes of Holy Writ; which four volumes not only collectively offer a more comprehensive overview of the problem of ‘systemic racism’, but also offers more effective and enduring solutions as well.

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  95. Kiara

    Great quality looks like I bought it brand new

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  96. Shahna Jenkins

    At the beginning of 2020, I wrote down the names of 12 books I was challenging myself to read this year. Little did I know that this, one of those 12 books, would be so crucially needed to challenge my mind and help me navigate the tense world I would find myself in.Like many Americans, I was horrified when George Floyd was brutally murdered by a police officer for the crime of using an allegedly forged $20 dollar bill. As a former crimonolgy major, I was discouraged and enraged though dissapointingly not surprised that only the video seemed to compel law enforcemnt into taking action against this heinous murder. What came next, the loud cry for justice and the screams to end racism, was shocking but also something I had been waiting for years to happen. Finally, a cause I’ve been advocating for my whole life was taking center stage.This book challenged me. It made me ask myself, why did I wait for this cause to take center stage before I did more than talk about it? Why did it take such attention for me to realize that I was not doing nearly enough, although my heart was in the right place?This is not an easy book. It challenges you to look at capitalism and racism dead on. It pushes you to think differently, amd introduces you to the lifelong fight that you are joining. This book is just the start. And I hope others begin with me, following the lead of the anti-racists before us to strive for an equitable society.

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  97. Maurice Miles Martinez

    This book was written at a very important moment in history. Antiracist movements became very prevalent globally, and Dr. Kendi’s book could not have been written at a more important moment. In many ways it gives visibility into the experiences of people who are confronted by institutional racism. The author explains racism in the context of a set of beliefs rather than some inborn genetic quality. Often, when discussions of racism occur, people shy away from them. As Dr. Kendi explained in interviews, this definition of racism is often flawed. Quite frequently, people will say things like, “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.” Thus, by linking racism to biology instead of to a set of beliefs and actions, no progress is made when it comes to discussing racism or making the necessary institutional changes to end it. Similar to this work, I also explore racism in my book The Real Wakandas of Africa. To add to this I include the rich history of African people before modern racism infected the world. In this era, Africans created beautiful civilizations. For example, Africans constructed the tallest building in the world. This building contains as much stone as 30 Empire State buildings. It was the tallest building in the world for more than 4000 years. To add to this, surgical procedures of African people were quite complex. African doctors conducted surgery on the eye to remove cataracts 700 years ago, and performed cesarean sections in Central Africa with antiseptics hundreds of years before they were successfully completed with antiseptics in Europe or America. When it came to metalworking, they were equally as advanced. For example, they smelted carbon steel 2000 years before Americans or Europeans were aware of this process. Likewise, in the field of astronomy, they charted star systems for hundreds of years before they were known by scientists in America. West Africans constructed the longest wall in the world for which I also wrote a book called: The Great Wall of Africa: The Empire of Benin’s 10,000 Mile Long Wall. Dr. Kendi is one of the few scholars who has a comprehensive knowledge about Africa’s precolonial contribution to history. Too frequently, this history has been ignored by books that discuss racism, and the exclusion of this leads to a misunderstanding of Black history. While Dr. Kendi’s book is not centered around these ideas, it is a genuinely important book on racism and antiracism. Pick up a copy today!

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  98. ShaSeli

    If I could sit with the author and converse I would ask: Mr. Kendi, in your book in Chapter 16 aptly entitled ” Failure” you discuss the use of the terms demonstration and protest. You posit that”A protest is organizing people for a prolonged campaign that forces racist power to change a policy. A demonstration is mobilizing people momentarily to publicize a problem.” You go on to state that “power typically ignores demonstrations. The most effective demonstrations (like the most effective educational efforts) help people find the antiracist power within.” and that “The most effective protests create an environment whereby changing the racist policy becomes in power’s self-interest…” How would you classify the majority of the actions being taken by today; are they protest or demonstrations? Why do you describe them in this way?While much of this book is a nice lesson in history and personal growth development, it gave me the reader many things to think about in my own journey in the area of racism and antiracism.

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  99. Adama Coulibaly

    With the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, no one can remain indifferent to issues of racism. I was looking for a book that analyzed racism in an objective and unemotional way. This book by Ibram X. Kendi is the answer.The author analyses 7 ways in which racism manifests itself, their causes and consequences; how they are reinforced or discouraged by public policies. But most importantly, how we can be anti-racists when we face the situations described in the book.It is not enough not to be racist; we must be anti-racist.I will rush to read the author’s other book: Stamped from the Beginning.

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  100. Jeanne Arp

    I know there has been a lot of discussion about this book – much of it positive and much of it negative. I must side with the positive.I think there are some very important ideas in this book that should be read by everyone who cares about and thinks about equality, equity, and racism. Those who think answers lie in leaving things alone or in cancelling everything and everyone who you disagree with doesn’t understand that these issues are centuries old and terribly complex and will require and lot of work and time to turn around.

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