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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a “groundbreaking” (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves.

“The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.”—The New York Times

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY 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.

Praise for How to Be an Antiracist

“Ibram X. Kendi’s new book,  How to Be an Antiracist, couldn’t come at a better time. . . . Kendi has gifted us with a book that is not only an essential instruction manual but also a memoir of the author’s own path from anti-black racism to anti-white racism and, finally, to antiracism. . . .   How to Be an Antiracist gives us a clear and compelling way to approach, as Kendi puts it in his introduction, ‘the basic struggle we’re all in, the struggle to be fully human and to see that others are fully human.’ ” —NPR

“Kendi dissects why in a society where so few people consider themselves to be racist the divisions and inequalities of racism remain so prevalent.  How to Be an Antiracist punctures the myths of a post-racial America, examining what racism really is—and what we should do about it.” Time

Amazon.com Review

Most people will tell you that racism is all about hatred and ignorance. In How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi''s follow-up to his National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning, he explains that racism is ultimately structural. Racism directs attention away from harmful, inequitable policies and turns that attention on the people harmed by those policies. Kendi employs history, science, and ethics to describe different forms of racism; at the same time, he follows the events and experiences of his own life, adapting a memoir approach that personalizes his arguments. This is a very effective combination, fusing the external forces of racism with Kendi''s own reception and responses to that racism—the result will be mind-expanding for many readers. Kendi''s title encompasses his main thesis: simply not being racist isn''t enough. We must actively choose to be "antiracist," working to undo racism and its component polices in order to build an equitable society. To read this book is to relate to the author as an individual and realize just how much we all have in common. As Kendi writes: race is a mirage, assigning an identity according to skin color, ignoring the individual. --Chris Schluep, Amazon Book Review

Review

“What do you do after you have written  Stamped From the Beginning, an award-winning history of racist ideas? . . . If you’re Ibram X. Kendi, you craft another stunner of a book. . . . What emerges from these insights is the most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind, a confessional of self-examination that may, in fact, be our best chance to free ourselves from our national nightmare.” The New York Times

“Ibram Kendi is today’s visionary in the enduring struggle for racial justice. In this personal and revelatory new work, he yet again holds up a transformative lens, challenging both mainstream and antiracist orthodoxy. He illuminates the foundations of racism in revolutionary new ways, and I am consistently challenged and inspired by his analysis. How to Be an Antiracist offers us a necessary and critical way forward.” —Robin DiAngelo, New York Times bestselling author of White Fragility
 
“Ibram Kendi’s work, through both his books and the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, is vital in today’s sociopolitical climate. As a society, we need to start treating antiracism as action, not emotion—and Kendi is helping us do that.” —Ijeoma Oluo, author of So You Want to Talk About Race
 
“Ibrahim Kendi uses his own life journey to show us why becoming an antiracist is as essential as it is difficult. Equal parts memoir, history, and social commentary, this book is honest, brave, and most of all liberating.” —James Forman, Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Locking Up Our Own
 
“A boldly articulated, historically informed explanation of what exactly racist ideas and thinking are . . . [Kendi’s] prose is thoughtful, sincere, and polished. This powerful book will spark many conversations.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A combination of memoir and extension of [Kendi’s] towering  Stamped from the Beginning . . . Never wavering . . . Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth. . . . This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory. . . . Essential.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“In this sharp blend of social commentary and memoir . . . Kendi is ready to spread his message, his stories serving as a springboard for potent explorations of race, gender, colorism, and more. . . . With  Stamped From the Beginning, Kendi proved himself a first-rate historian. Here, his willingness to turn the lens on himself marks him as a courageous activist, leading the way to a more equitable society.” Library Journal (starred review)

About the Author

Ibram X. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributing writer at  The Atlantic and a CBS News correspondent. He is the author of many books including  Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and three #1  New York Times bestsellers,  How to Be an Antiracist; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored with Jason Reynolds; and  Antiracist Baby, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky. In 2020,  Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

MY RACIST INTRODUCTION
 
I despised suits and ties. For seventeen years I had been surrounded by suit-wearing, tie-choking, hat-flying church folk. My teenage wardrobe hollered the defiance of a preacher’s kid.
 
It was January 17, 2000. More than three thousand Black people—with a smattering of White folks—arrived that Monday morning in their Sunday best at the Hylton Memorial Chapel in Northern Virginia. My parents arrived in a state of shock. Their floundering son had somehow made it to the final round of the Prince William County Martin Luther King Jr. oratorical contest.
 
I didn’t show up with a white collar under a dark suit and matching dark tie like most of my competitors. I sported a racy golden-brown blazer with a slick black shirt and bright color-streaked tie underneath. The hem of my baggy black slacks crested over my creamy boots. I’d already failed the test of respectability before I opened my mouth, but my parents, Carol and Larry, were all smiles nonetheless. They couldn’t remember the last time they saw me wearing a tie and blazer, however loud and crazy.
 
But it wasn’t just my clothes that didn’t fit the scene. My competitors were academic prodigies. I wasn’t. I carried a GPA lower than 3.0; my SAT score barely cracked 1000. Colleges were recruiting my competitors. I was riding the high of having received surprise admission letters from the two colleges I’d halfheartedly applied to.
 
A few weeks before, I was on the basketball court with my high school team, warming up for a home game, cycling through layup lines. My father, all six foot three and two hundred pounds of him, emerged from my high school gym’s entrance. He slowly walked onto the basketball court, flailing his long arms to get my attention—and embarrassing me before what we could call the “White judge.”
 
Classic Dad. He couldn’t care less what judgmental White people thought about him. He rarely if ever put on a happy mask, faked a calmer voice, hid his opinion, or avoided making a scene. I loved and hated my father for living on his own terms in a world that usually denies Black people their own terms. It was the sort of defiance that could have gotten him lynched by a mob in a different time and place—or lynched by men in badges today.
 
I jogged over to him before he could flail his way right into our layup lines. Weirdly giddy, he handed me a brown manila envelope.
 
“This came for you today.”
 
He motioned me to open the envelope, right there at half-court as the White students and teachers looked on.
 
I pulled out the letter and read it: I had been admitted to Hampton University in southern Virginia. My immediate shock exploded into unspeakable happiness. I embraced Dad and exhaled. Tears mixed with warm-up sweat on my face. The judging White eyes around us faded.
 
I thought I was stupid, too dumb for college. Of course, intelligence is as subjective as beauty. But I kept using “objective” standards, like test scores and report cards, to judge myself. No wonder I sent out only two college applications: one to Hampton and the other to the institution I ended up attending, Florida A&M University. Fewer applications meant less rejection—and I fully expected those two historically Black universities to reject me. Why would any university want an idiot on their campus who can’t understand Shakespeare? It never occurred to me that maybe I wasn’t really trying to understand Shakespeare and that’s why I dropped out of my English II International Baccalaureate class during my senior year. Then again, I did not read much of anything in those years.
 
Maybe if I’d read history then, I’d have learned about the historical significance of the new town my family had moved to from New York City in 1997. I would have learned about all those Confederate memorials surrounding me in Manassas, Virginia, like Robert E. Lee’s dead army. I would have learned why so many tourists trek to Manassas National Battlefield Park to relive the glory of the Confederate victories at the Battles of Bull Run during the Civil War. It was there that General Thomas J. Jackson acquired his nickname, “Stonewall,” for his stubborn defense of the Confederacy. Northern Virginians kept the stonewall intact after all these years. Did anyone notice the irony that at this Martin Luther King Jr. oratorical contest, my free Black life represented Stonewall Jackson High School?
 
The delightful event organizers from Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the proud dignitaries, and the competitors were all seated on the pulpit. (The group was too large to say we were seated in the pulpit.) The audience sat in rows that curved around the long, arched pulpit, giving room for speakers to pace to the far sides of the chapel while delivering their talks; five stairs also allowed us to descend into the crowd if we wanted.
 
The middle schoolers had given their surprisingly mature speeches. The exhilarating children’s choir had sung behind us. The audience sat back down and went silent in anticipation of the three high school orators.
 
I went first, finally approaching the climax of an experience that had already changed my life. From winning my high school competition months before to winning “best before the judges” at a countywide competition weeks before—I felt a special rainstorm of academic confidence. If I came out of the experience dripping with confidence for college, then I’d entered from a high school drought. Even now I wonder if it was my poor sense of self that first generated my poor sense of my people. Or was it my poor sense of my people that inflamed a poor sense of myself? Like the famous question about the chicken and the egg, the answer is less important than the cycle it describes. Racist ideas make people of color think less of themselves, which makes them more vulnerable to racist ideas. Racist ideas make White people think more of themselves, which further attracts them to racist ideas.
 
I thought I was a subpar student and was bombarded by messages—from Black people, White people, the media—that told me that the reason was rooted in my race . . . which made me more discouraged and less motivated as a student . . . which only further reinforced for me the racist idea that Black people just weren’t very studious . . . which made me feel even more despair or indifference . . . and on it went. At no point was this cycle interrupted by a deeper analysis of my own specific circumstances and shortcomings or a critical look at the ideas of the society that judged me—instead, the cycle hardened the racist ideas inside me until I was ready to preach them to others.
 
I remember the MLK competition so fondly. But when I recall the racist speech I gave, I flush with shame.
 
“What would be Dr. King’s message for the millennium? Let’s visualize an angry seventy-one-year-old Dr. King . . .” And I began my remix of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
 
It was joyous, I started, our emancipation from enslavement. But “now, one hundred thirty-five years later, the Negro is still not free.”
 
I was already thundering, my tone angry, more Malcolm than Martin.
 
“Our youth’s minds are still in captivity!”
 
I did not say our youth’s minds are in captivity of racist ideas, as I would say now.
 
“They think it’s okay to be those who are most feared in our society!” I said, as if it was their fault they were so feared.
 
“They think it’s okay not to think!” I charged, raising the classic racist idea that Black youth don’t value education as much as their non-Black counterparts. No one seemed to care that this well-traveled idea had flown on anecdotes but had never been grounded in proof.
 
Still, the crowd encouraged me with their applause. I kept shooting out unproven and disproven racist ideas about all the things wrong with Black youth—ironically, on the day when all the things right about Black youth were on display.

I started pacing wildly back and forth on the runway for the pulpit, gaining momentum.
 
“They think it’s okay to climb the high tree of pregnancy!” Applause.
 
“They think it’s okay to confine their dreams to sports and music!” Applause.
 
Had I forgotten that I—not “Black youth”—was the one who had confined his dreams to sports? And I was calling Black youth “they”? Who on earth did I think I was? Apparently, my placement on that illustrious stage had lifted me out of the realm of ordinary—and thus inferior—Black youngsters and into the realm of the rare and extraordinary.
 
In my applause-stoked flights of oratory, I didn’t realize that to say something is wrong about a racial group is to say something is inferior about that racial group. I did not realize that to say something is inferior about a racial group is to say a racist idea. I thought I was serving my people, when in fact I was serving up racist ideas about my people to my people. The Black judge seemed to be eating it up and clapping me on my back for more. I kept giving more.
 
“Their minds are being held captive, and our adults’ minds are right there beside them,” I said, motioning to the floor. “Because they somehow think that the cultural revolution that began on the day of my dream’s birth is over.
 
“How can it be over when many times we are unsuccessful because we lack intestinal fortitude?” Applause.
 
“How can it be over when our kids leave their houses not knowing how to make themselves, only knowing how to not make themselves?” Applause.
 
“How can it be over if all of this is happening in our community?” I asked, lowering my voice. “So I say to you, my friends, that even though this cultural revolution may never be over, I still have a dream . . .”
 
I still have a nightmare—the memory of this speech whenever I muster the courage to recall it anew. It is hard for me to believe I finished high school in the year 2000 touting so many racist ideas. A racist culture had handed me the ammunition to shoot Black people, to shoot myself, and I took and used it. Internalized racism is the real Black on Black crime.
 
I was a dupe, a chump who saw the ongoing struggles of Black people on MLK Day 2000 and decided that Black people themselves were the problem. This is the consistent function of racist ideas—and of any kind of bigotry more broadly: to manipulate us into seeing people as the problem, instead of the policies that ensnare them.
 
The language used by the forty-fifth president of the United States offers a clear example of how this sort of racist language and thinking works. Long before he became president, Donald Trump liked to say, “Laziness is a trait in Blacks.” When he decided to run for president, his plan for making America great again: defaming Latinx immigrants as mostly criminals and rapists and demanding billions for a border wall to block them. He promised “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Once he became president, he routinely called his Black critics “stupid.” He claimed immigrants from Haiti “all have AIDS,” while praising White supremacists as “very fine people” in the summer of 2017.
 
Through it all, whenever someone pointed out the obvious, Trump responded with variations on a familiar refrain: “No, no. I’m not a racist. I’m the least racist person that you have ever interviewed,” that “you’ve ever met,” that “you’ve ever encountered.” Trump’s behavior may be exceptional, but his denials are normal. When racist ideas resound, denials that those ideas are racist typically follow.
 
When racist policies resound, denials that those policies are racist also follow.

Denial is the heartbeat of racism, beating across ideologies, races, and nations. It is beating within us. Many of us who strongly call out Trump’s racist ideas will strongly deny our own. How often do we become reflexively defensive when someone calls something we’ve done or said racist? How many of us would agree with this statement: “‘Racist’ isn’t a descriptive word. It’s a pejorative word. It is the equivalent of saying, ‘I don’t like you.’” These are actually the words of White supremacist Richard Spencer, who, like Trump, identifies as “not racist.” How many of us who despise the Trumps and White supremacists of the world share their self-definition of “not racist”?
 
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. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an antiracist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, 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. This may seem harsh, but it’s important at the outset that we apply one of the core principles of antiracism, which is to return the word “racist” itself back to its proper usage. “Racist” is not—as Richard Spencer argues—a pejorative. It is not the worst word in the English language; it is not the equivalent of a slur. It is descriptive, and the only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it—and then dismantle it. The attempt to turn this usefully descriptive term into an almost unusable slur is, of course, designed to do the opposite: to freeze us into inaction.
 
The common idea of claiming “color blindness” is akin to the notion of being “not racist”—as with the “not racist,” the color-blind individual, by ostensibly failing to see race, fails to see racism and falls into racist passivity. The language of color blindness—like the language of “not racist”—is a mask to hide racism. “Our Constitution is color-blind,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Harlan proclaimed in his dissent to Plessy v. Ferguson, the case that legalized Jim Crow segregation in 1896. “The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country,” Justice Harlan went on. “I doubt not, it will continue to be for all time, if it remains true to its great heritage.” A color-blind Constitution for a White-supremacist America.
 
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—not who—we are.
 
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 racial 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 am no longer policing my every action around an imagined White or Black judge, trying to convince White people of my equal humanity, trying to convince Black people I am representing the race well. I no longer care about how the actions of other Black individuals reflect on me, since none of us are race representatives, nor is any individual responsible for someone else’s racist ideas. And I’ve come to see that the movement from racist to antiracist is always ongoing—it requires understanding and snubbing racism based on biology, ethnicity, body, culture, behavior, color, space, and class. And beyond that, 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. I share my own journey of being raised in the dueling racial consciousness of the Reagan-era Black middle class, then right-turning onto the ten-lane highway of anti-Black racism—a highway mysteriously free of police and free on gas—and veering off onto the two-lane highway of anti-White racism, where gas is rare and police are everywhere, before finding and turning down the unlit dirt road of antiracism.
 
After taking this grueling journey to the dirt road of antiracism, humanity can come upon the clearing of a potential future: an antiracist world in all its imperfect beauty. It 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.
 
We know how to be racist. We know how to pretend to be not racist. Now let’s know how to be antiracist.

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
23,324 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

DB
1.0 out of 5 stars
Full of half-baked ideas that are almost entirely unsupported by meaningful evidence.
Reviewed in the United States on October 14, 2019
How To Be An Antiracist is a confusing, frustrating book that fails to make a convincing case that "antiracism" is the best, or even a good way to fight back against racism. It''s as if Kendi was given free reign to write whatever he wanted, and no editor ever pushed back to... See more
How To Be An Antiracist is a confusing, frustrating book that fails to make a convincing case that "antiracism" is the best, or even a good way to fight back against racism. It''s as if Kendi was given free reign to write whatever he wanted, and no editor ever pushed back to ask questions like "does the definition you''re proposing make sense" or "do you have any evidence to support your claim?"

For example, Kendi starts out each chapter by defining a word like "racist" or "success," supposedly in an effort to clarify things. But these definitions end up being more confusing than clarifying. Kendi''s definition of racist is, "One who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea." He uses the word "racist" twice to define the word "racist."

Similarly, the central idea of antiracism seems to be that all racial groups are equal, and therefore, any inequality is proof of racism, and any policy that arguably contributed to that inequality is also racist. This too, does not make sense. If inequality is due to racism, how can we explain inequality within racial groups? Why do white people in one state make more money than in another state? Why do chlidren from two parent households generally do better academically than children from single parent households of the same race? Racism can''t be the answer. And Kendi rarely offers any proof that racism is the primary source of inequality between groups, let alone the only source. The book also feels overly long and highly repetitive, with Kendi driving home the same handful of points/ideas over and over again.

Racism is a real problem that requires legitimate, evidence-based solutions. How To Be An Antiracist is not that. It is a half-baked philosophy that many other black academics like John McWhorter have effectively picked apart. This book will undoubtedly earn plenty of praise from other self-described "antiracists" and white people who wouldn''t dare say a critical word about a book about racism written by a black man, but the book is not convincing, nor intellectually rigorous. If you''re looking for a guide to fighting against racism, look elsewhere.
3,609 people found this helpful
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Gaiseric
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointing
Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2019
Not sure who this was written for. Definitely not intended for an audience that knows much about history or how to construct an argument. Feels like it was intended to be a sermon. Unfortunately the argumentation and style dilutes the message, which is something a great... See more
Not sure who this was written for. Definitely not intended for an audience that knows much about history or how to construct an argument. Feels like it was intended to be a sermon. Unfortunately the argumentation and style dilutes the message, which is something a great deal of the U.S. needs to hear. Kendi has the right goal, but not a very compelling way to get there.
1,197 people found this helpful
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Lucy Scholand
1.0 out of 5 stars
Left in the dark
Reviewed in the United States on October 16, 2019
I am surprised at the positive reviews of this book. I did not find it well written. For example, the author uses the word "racist" in defining "racist" and the word "antiracist" in defining "antiracist" (see p. 13 and throughout). I learned in fifth-grade... See more
I am surprised at the positive reviews of this book.

I did not find it well written. For example, the author uses the word "racist" in defining "racist" and the word "antiracist" in defining "antiracist" (see p. 13 and throughout). I learned in fifth-grade English class that I could not use the word "equal" in a definition of "equality." The author also uses a lot of words to describe something--often in incomplete sentences--to the point of tedium. He tells us that the doctor who did his colonoscopy was a Black woman. Should he describe her that way? Isn''t that racist and sexist?

The book did not answer the question of how to be an antiracist, for me anyway. I will stick with trying to treat each person as a unique and beloved child of God.
1,091 people found this helpful
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DisneyDenizenTop Contributor: Harry Potter
5.0 out of 5 stars
EYE-OPENING EXPLORATION OF RACISM
Reviewed in the United States on August 13, 2019
Enlightening even for the supposedly enlightened... I am White. I am an immigrant. My family came to this country when I was 6 years old, by far the youngest. I learned English fluently; while you would hear the accent of my older relatives to this day, you would... See more
Enlightening even for the supposedly enlightened...

I am White. I am an immigrant. My family came to this country when I was 6 years old, by far the youngest. I learned English fluently; while you would hear the accent of my older relatives to this day, you would not know that I was not born here, that English was not my first language.

I grew up on the idea of the Great American Melting Pot. Throughout my childhood and teen years, I was always seen as the person from the country of my origin. It wasn''t until my college years that I was relieved to finally be seen as simply American, from California rather than from my country of origin.

The Great American Melting Pot with its goal of assimilation made a lot of sense to me. We kept our family traditions, brought with us from the Old Country, at home. But outwardly, I wanted to fit in, to be simply American. It also made sense from an historical perspective. There was a time when Italians, Irish, Germans, and others fresh off the (literal) boat were seen as unwelcome newcomers, much as many from south of our border are sadly seen today. These European groups needed to assimilate. Imagine if Italian-Americans and German-Americans in this country had been seen as the enemy come World War II. Americans never could have come together to fight Hitler''s armies or Japanese forces in the Pacific.

But you may note that I''ve only mentioned the assimilation of white people from Western Europe. People from China and Japan also faced persecution when they first arrived here (as no doubt did many others). The internment camps created during World War II for those of Japanese descent living in this country were a disgrace. (Please read They Called Us Enemy by George Takei.) To mention nothing of the Black or Hispanic experience of being American in this country.

What hit me hardest about this incredible book is largely summed by by the following paragraph:

“Assimilationist ideas and segregationist ideas are the two types of racist ideas, the duel within racist thought. White assimilationist ideas challenge segregationist ideas that claim people of color are incapable of development, incapable of reaching the superior standard, incapable of becoming White and therefore fully human. Assimilationists believe that people of color can, in fact, be developed, become fully human, just like White people. Assimilationist ideas reduce people of color to the level of children needing instruction on how to act. Segregationist ideas cast people of color as “animals,” to use Trump''s descriptor for Latinx immigrants—unteachable after a point. The history of the racialized world is a three-way fight between assimilationists, segregationists, and antiracists. Antiracist ideas are based in the truth that racial groups are equals in all the ways they are different, assimilationist ideas are rooted in the notion that certain racial groups are culturally or behaviorally inferior, and segregationist ideas spring from a belief in genetic racial distinction and fixed hierarchy.”

I have always fancied myself to be not racist. But I can see that I have a long way to go: from assimilationist to antiracist. Even my assimilationist ideas were clearly not well thought out.

Read this book. It''s eyeopening, even for those of us who consider ourselves to be enlightened.

Well written. Extensively researched, with a good deal of history, including personal and family history. Extensively footnoted. Highly readable.
1,092 people found this helpful
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Jack HTop Contributor: Cooking
1.0 out of 5 stars
There should be a subtitle: "How to make everything about race for fun and profit"
Reviewed in the United States on July 16, 2020
For someone who claims to be an anti-racist, the author spends an amazing amount of words making everything in the world about race. He can''t even talk about getting his college acceptance letter without making a big deal about the race of the people standing around him... See more
For someone who claims to be an anti-racist, the author spends an amazing amount of words making everything in the world about race. He can''t even talk about getting his college acceptance letter without making a big deal about the race of the people standing around him when it happened.

Every chapter begins with definitions of words related to race and racism. But Dr. Kendi not only picks the words, but makes up his own definitions for them so that he can then explain to all of us uneducated racists why they''re such bad, bad things. His definition of the word race is blathering nonsense.
"Race: A power construct of collected or merged difference that lives socially."
A power construct lives socially? I didn''t know power constructs lived at all, Dr. Kendi!

Kendi sets up a straw man in the form of a blatantly false dichotomy between "assimilationists" (who, according to him, think everyone not white is inferior, but can be taught to "be white" and, thus, fully human) and "segregationists" (who he says also think everyone not white is inferior, but are sure they can never learn to be white, i.e. human). This is, of course, nonsense. 99.999% of Americans do not believe either of these ideas, yet Kendi treats them as if everyone who is white MUST belong to one of these groups.

Even the American "melting pot" is racist to Dr. Kendi. To him, it''s forcing people to "be white" or not be accepted. I can''t imagine the size of the blinders he''s wearing to not see the influences of cultures from all over the world have had and are having on American society.
Rap music is one of the biggest-selling genres.
African-American athletes have multi-million dollar contracts with MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, etc., etc.
It''s hard to find even a small town in America that doesn''t have restaurants that specialize in Italian, Chinese, Mexican/Tex-Mex food. A town of less than 3000 people not far from me has all 3.

Then there''s the bald-faced lie about President Trump calling Latinx immigrants animals. I know the media repeated this lie so many times that many people believe it''s true (probably even more than think Sarah Palin actually said she could see Russia from her house), but the fact is he was talking very specifically about gang members (MS-13, to be very specific) that abuse our lax immigration/sanctuary laws to gain entrance to the country then engage in crimes ranging from drug dealing to cold-blooded murder. (You can look it up...Amazon doesn''t seem to like me trying to include external links to news stories in my reviews.)

Dr. Kendi has made a career of writing books about how horrible race relations are in the United States. The common thread through all of his books is, "White is bad...always." It''s almost as if he is actively looking for racism and somehow, miraculously always finding it!

This book will not show anyone how to be an antiracist. All it will do is try to get people to accept Dr. Kendi''s "white people are bad...all the time...in every way" mentality...and make him a lot of money.

I''d really like to know why my first review of this book was deleted. If someone reported it because this isn''t a "Verified purchase" that''s because I read the Kindle preview then got the book from the library. If it''s for any other reason, I defy anyone to try and disprove one word of my review based on the content of the book.
652 people found this helpful
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pn23
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Unparalleled guide for those troubled by racial inequality but aren’t sure what to do about it
Reviewed in the United States on August 15, 2019
I am a white man from an affluent family. This is quite honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read. Kendi’s writing is piercingly clear, thought provoking, and illuminating. Every white American should read this book, especially those who are troubled by racial... See more
I am a white man from an affluent family. This is quite honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read. Kendi’s writing is piercingly clear, thought provoking, and illuminating. Every white American should read this book, especially those who are troubled by racial inequality but aren’t sure what to do about it. Those with an interest in politics, philanthropy, social justice, and other topics related to building a better and more just world will benefit immensely from this book.
585 people found this helpful
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David Gaare
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Poor title for this book
Reviewed in the United States on April 3, 2020
I bought this book thinking I would learn a lot about racism and how racism should be dealt with in America. What this book teaches you is how screwed up America is when it comes to race relations. The author blames the problem on just what you would expect a leftist to... See more
I bought this book thinking I would learn a lot about racism and how racism should be dealt with in America. What this book teaches you is how screwed up America is when it comes to race relations. The author blames the problem on just what you would expect a leftist to blame it on. It seems like the author has no clue on why our big cities have many racial problems. The elected political parties that run these big cities have been in power for a long time, and yet little or no progress has been made. I will admit the author helps the reader examine himself, and this would help an individual improve his own racial biases and knowledge on the subject of race relations. However, as long as politicians and political parties promote racism to supposedly benefit election results, not much progress will be made.. Martin Luther King probably would have made great progress for America, had he lived. If we keep reelecting those who have made little or no progress with race relations in their cities, then we can expect to stay in the current situation.
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Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars
boring
Reviewed in the United States on August 14, 2019
It''s a one-sided account....opinions really, and it''s not well written at that. People turn a blind eye to blatant racism like affirmative action for example. There are too many examples to list. I''m just glad I didn''t purchase this, but rather got it from the library. Save... See more
It''s a one-sided account....opinions really, and it''s not well written at that. People turn a blind eye to blatant racism like affirmative action for example. There are too many examples to list. I''m just glad I didn''t purchase this, but rather got it from the library. Save your money and get it from the library...read it at bedtime.
742 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

Charlotte Louise
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A powerful eye opener
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 9, 2020
I encourage everyone, but particularly White people to read this. Lap up the education provided by the author, who has tackled this world wide issue with such honesty and sincerity. I learnt so much reading this, and it provided perspectives on racism that previously I...See more
I encourage everyone, but particularly White people to read this. Lap up the education provided by the author, who has tackled this world wide issue with such honesty and sincerity. I learnt so much reading this, and it provided perspectives on racism that previously I hadn’t considered, because of my own white privilege, because no matter how much I try to educate myself, I will never walk in the shoes of a different race. In particular, holding the idea in my head that the author himself has previously held racist beliefs, which really resonated with me and made me realise it is not too late to accept that ‘not being racist’ in the past is not enough, and it’s not too late to accept you could have done more. It is future education and most importantly actual actions that lead to growth. I urge readers to check their own privilege while reading this - I found it impossible not to. Undoubtedly 5 stars from me!
53 people found this helpful
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Cavedweller
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Expect the unexpected
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 2, 2019
Made me review everything I ever thought about racism/antiracism. Cogent argument paired with excoriating personal experiences. Expect the unexpected. Transformative. Made me rethink my own personal experience and beliefs in relation to class, gender, sexuality and...See more
Made me review everything I ever thought about racism/antiracism. Cogent argument paired with excoriating personal experiences. Expect the unexpected. Transformative. Made me rethink my own personal experience and beliefs in relation to class, gender, sexuality and disability. Can''t recommend it highly enough.
58 people found this helpful
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Beth
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Informative, interesting, challenging, encouraging, honest—a GREAT book!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 29, 2020
This is one of the best books I have EVER read👏👏🏿👏🏾👏🏽👏🏼👏🏻👏! It is a GREAT book! Having bought it, soon after the murder of George Floyd, I was afraid to start it! I was scared of what I would learn about myself 😬, and feared I would end up feeling guilty,...See more
This is one of the best books I have EVER read👏👏🏿👏🏾👏🏽👏🏼👏🏻👏! It is a GREAT book! Having bought it, soon after the murder of George Floyd, I was afraid to start it! I was scared of what I would learn about myself 😬, and feared I would end up feeling guilty, ashamed, and helpless 😣. Professor Kendi’s honesty and vulnerability, from the first page, drew me right in. It is so inclusively written, as if he is speaking to each reader specifically. I have read things that have surprised me, things that have challenged me, and some that have made me wince. I have had many “Eureka” moments. Most unexpectedly, I have also felt comforted and encouraged! In “How to Be an Antiracist”, Ibram X Kendi has written a book which manages to be not only challenging and informative, but also accessible, personal, and inspirational. I LOVE THIS BOOK! You need to read this book, EVERYONE needs to read this book 📖!
31 people found this helpful
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mela
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A thinking book that invites introspection.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 1, 2019
Is living up to the reviews I read before buying..... I am taking time to slowly digest and study this book - realising and better understanding the concepts of equity and inequity as they affect people who are often marginalised.
32 people found this helpful
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Jay
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Bad for the world.
Reviewed in Canada on August 29, 2020
Terrible. Superficial. Uncritical.
56 people found this helpful
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Books by Ibram X. Kendi

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How to Be an Antiracist Be Antiracist Antiracist Baby Picture Book Antiracist Baby Board Book

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