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305 pages, Hardcover
First published August 13, 2019
What I particularly loved:- Kendi's personal story. awesome to read about him growing up, and all about his parents' lives
What I didn't love so much/food for thought:- Kendi's pushing back on "microagression". Is it simply racist abuse and should be called out as such? I dunno. I don't love the idea but I don't hate it? food for thought.
Great quotes:"Black people are apparently responsible for calming down the fears of violent cops in the way women are supposedly responsible for calming the sexual desires of male rapists. If we don't, then we are blamed for our own assaults, our own deaths."
It happens for me in successive steps, these steps to be an antiracist.
I stop using the “I’m not a racist” or “I can’t be 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 accept their source (my upbringing inside a nation making us racist).
I acknowledge the definition of antiracist (someone who is supporting antiracist policies or expressing antiracist ideas).
I struggle for antiracist power and policy in my spaces. (Seizing a policymaking position. Joining an antiracist organization or protest. Publicly donating my time or privately donating my funds to antiracist policymakers, organizations, and protests fixated on changing power and policy.)
I struggle to remain at the antiracist intersections where racism is mixed with other bigotries. (Eliminating racial distinctions in biology and behavior. Equalizing racial distinctions in ethnicities, bodies, cultures, colors, classes, spaces, genders, and sexualities.)
I struggle to think with antiracist ideas. (Seeing racist policy in racial inequity. Leveling group differences. Not being fooled into generalizing individual negativity. Not being fooled by misleading statistics or theories that blame people for racial inequity.)
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.
I am a cisgendered Black heterosexual male—“cisgender” meaning my gender identity corresponds to my birth sex, in contrast to transgender people, whose gender identity does not correspond to their birth sex. 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, to homosexuals, to their intersections, meaning listening, learning, and being led by their equalizing ideas, by their equalizing policy campaigns, by their power struggle for equal opportunity.