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BN16: How to be an Anti Racist Ibrahim X Kendi

To buy the full book How to be an Anti Racist Ibrahim X Kendi and be a complete Anti Racist



We cannot find an enemy we do not know. Racism is an enemy against humanity, black people in particular. To stand a chance against it, we must understand what it entails.

Definitions anchor us in our principles.

Ibram X. Kendi

The concept of race was introduced by a Portuguese prince, Henry the navigator, who used it to justify the slave trade. Between then and now, that concept has blossomed into government policies, societal beliefs, and individual behavior that affect everyone regardless of their skin color.

For Kendi, it is more than just a concept. While participating in a high school oratorical contest, he berated black youths on their inability to measure up to the standard of excellence set up by Martin Luther King Jr. He won the contest, but in retrospect, he is embarrassed for using stereotypes to define and shame his peers.

To fight racism and what it represents, we must abandon stereotypes, redefine what racism means to us and adjust our viewpoint on the world.

What does it mean to be an racist?

People of color are not exempt. When you support a racist policy or choose to do nothing about it, you are endorsing racism.

Very few people will openly admit that they are racist. In fact, many good people are “not racist”. The problem with the “not racist” stance is that it implies neutrality. No one can be neutral when it comes to racism. The opposite of racism is not “not racist”; it is “antiracist”. We must move on to being “antiracist”

Like an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.”

Kendi X. Ibram

What is the difference between “not racist” and “antiracist”? To be “not racist” is to accept the status quo. It is saying you do not see any need to attack the racial hierarchy we see in our society. That implies a tacit endorsement of racism.

On other hand, being “antiracist” entails a clear stance against racism. To be antiracist is to fight for racial equity in society and government policies. It demands a conscious effort to reexamine one’s belief and one’s own tendencies to promote racism regardless of skin color.

Did you know? The concept of race was invented to justify the slave trade.

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