How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

“What 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. One either believes problems are rotted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an antiracist.”

p. 8, How To Be An Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi

Hello everyone! I just finished reading this amazing book about antiracism called “How To Be An Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi. This book is incredibly important for everyone to read in light of what is going on in our country regarding Black lives, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and support for POC. If you want to be a white ally for black people, this is a must-read. This book is a must read for EVERYONE! I’ve pulled some quotes that really spoke to me while reading this book. I hope you all find the strength to support Black people and the Black Lives Matter movement through self-education, donation, and other means of support; especially during this difficult time with this and the pandemic ongoing. I hope you find it in your hearts on your own happy and healthy adventure to support POC and continue to have faith that we will fight for antiracism and solutions to the pandemic.

“‘Racist’ isn’t a descriptive word. It’s a pejorative word. It is the equivalent of saying, “I don’t like you.’ […] It is descriptive, and the only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it–and then dismantle it.” (p. 9)

“THE GOOD NEWS is that racist and antiracist are not fixed identities. We can be a racist one minute and an antiracist the next. What we say about race, what we do about race, in each moment determines what–no who–we are.” (p. 10)

“To be an antiracist is to set lucid definitions of racism/antiracism, racist/antiracist policies, racist/antiracist ideas, racist/antiracist people. To be a racist is to constantly redefine racist in a way that exonerates one’s changing policies, ideas, and personhood.” (p. 17)

“We are surrounded by racial inequity, as visible as the law, as hidden as our private thoughts. The question for each of us is: What side of history will be stand on? […] …being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.” (p. 22)

“To be an antiracist is a radical choice in the face of this history, requiring a radical reorientation of our consciousness.” (p. 23)

“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.” (p. 38)

“[The] root problem of racism is ignorance and hate.” (p. 42)

“The fail to realize that is we stop using racial categories, then we will not be able to identify racial inequity. 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. If we cannot challenge racist policies, then racist power’s final solution will be achieved: a world of inequity none of us can see, let alone resist. Terminating racial categories is potentially the last, not he first, step in the antiracist struggle.” (p. 54)

“To be antiracist is to view national and transnational ethnic groups as equal in all their difference.s 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.” (p. 64)

“To be antiracist is to see all cultures in all their differences as on the same level, as equals. When we see cultural difference, we are seeing cultural difference–nothing more, nothing less.” (p. 91)

“To be an antiracist is to recognize there is no such thing as racial behavior. To be an antiracist is to recognize there is no such thing as Black behavior, let alone irresponsible Black behavior […] Antiracism means separating the idea of a culture from the idea of a behavior” (p. 95)

“As long as the mind thinks there is something behaviorally wrong with a racial group, the mind can never be antiracist […] As long as the mind is racist, the mind can never be free.” (p. 104)

“To be antiracist is to think nothing is behaviorally wrong or right–inferior or superior–with any of the racial groups.” (p. 105)

“To be an antiracist is to diversify our standards of beauty like our standards of culture or intelligence, to see beauty equally in all.” (p. 113)

“Every single person actually has the power to protest racist and antiracist policies, to advance them, or, in some small way, to stall them.” (p. 140)

“To be antiracist is to equalize the race-classes. To be antiracist is to root the economic disparities between the equal race-classes in policies, not people.” (p. 152)

“To be antiracist is to recognize that there is no such thing as the “real world,” only real worlds, multiple worldviews.” (p. 171)

“Antiracist strategy fuses desegregation with a form of integration and racial solidarity […] To be antiracist is to equate and nurture difference among racial groups.” (p. 180)

“To be antiracist is to reject not only the hierarchy of races but of race-genders.” (p. 189)

“Queer antiracism is equating all the race-sexualities, striving to eliminate the inequities between the race-sexualities. We cannot be antiracist if we are homophobic or transphobic.” (p. 197)

“To be queer antiracist is to see homophobia, racism, and queer racism–not the queer person, not the queer space–as the problem, as abnormal, as unnatural.” (p. 197)

“We have to be courageous to be antiracist. Courage is the strength to do what is right in the face of fear, as the anonymous philosopher tells us. [Ibram gains] insight into what’s right from antiracist ideas. [He gains] strength from fear.” (p. 212)

“The antiracist power within is the ability to view [your] own racism in the mirror of [your] past and present, view [your] own antiracism in the mirror of [your] future, view [your] own racial groups as equal to other racial groups, view the world of racial inequity as abnormal, view [your] own power to resist and overtake racist power and policy.” (p. 215)

“The story of our generation will be based on what we are willing to do. Are we willing to endure the grueling fight against racist power and policy? Are we willing to transform the antiracist power we gather within us to antiracist power in our society?” (p. 218)

“When it comes to healing America of racism, we want to heal America without pain, but without pain, there is no progress.” (p. 236)

“But if we ignore the odds and 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.” (p. 238)

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