How to Be an Antiracist
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a “groundbreaking” (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society and in ourselves—now updated, with a new preface.
“The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.”—The New York Times
ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR—The New York Times Book Review, Time, NPR, The Washington Post, Shelf Awareness, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews
Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism—and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At its core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.
Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Racism has always been an urgent issue. It’s easy to declare “I’m not racist!” but in this eye-opening book, historian Ibram X. Kendi argues that’s not enough. As he explains, being “not racist” can still mean being totally passive as racist laws, ideas, and acts of brutality continue to flourish. Kendi asserts that the only way to stand against racism is to be actively “antiracist” in the way we think, interact with others, and engage in activism. There’s a lot to absorb, but Kendi’s conversational style makes How to Be an Antiracist a lively and engaging read start to finish, one that’s sure to spark conversations with family and friends. Kendi gets personal, too, candidly revealing his own confrontations with internalized racist thinking and how he embarked on his own antiracist journey. By interweaving his own story with lessons about the history of racism and injustice in America, Kendi shows us that racism remains a monumental threat—but also one we have the power to change.
Kendi follows his National Book Award winning Stamped from the Beginning with a boldly articulated, historically informed explanation of what exactly racist ideas and thinking are, and what their antiracist antithesis looks like both systemically and at the level of individual action. He weaves together cultural criticism, theory (starting each chapter with epigraph-like definitions of terms), stories from his own life and philosophical development (he describes his younger self as a "racist, sexist homophobe"), and episodes from history (including the 17th-century European debate about "polygenesis," the idea that different races of people were actually separate species with distinct origins). He delves into typical racist ideas (e.g. that biology and behavior differ between racial groups) and problems (such as colorism), as well as the intersections between race and gender, race and class, and race and sexuality. Kendi puts forth some distinctive arguments: he posits that "internalized racism is the true Black-on-Black crime," critiquing powerful black people who disparage other black people and racializing behaviors they disapprove of, and argues that black people can be racist in their views of white people (when they make negative generalizations about white people as a group, thereby espousing the racist idea that ethnicity determines behavior). His prose is thoughtful, sincere, and polished. This powerful book will spark many conversations.)
This book has completely transformed how I think about race. I HIGHLY recommend for everyone, even those who say they are “not racist”
As a POC, I honestly thought I was pretty good at being “anti-racist” and didn’t need a book. However, this book really goes into internalized racism and how we can start fighting racism by changing our perceptions of it in the first place. I would totally recommend, not just for white people but all people. I’m just a teen and in these times seeing books like these is what gives me hope. Hope that we can make a better future for ourselves.
Tremendously clear analysis
The way the concepts are introduced in tandem with examples from his life convey the personal effects of racism on real people. His writing is clear, logical, and he makes undeniable points against racist thought.