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How to Be an Antiracist

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4.52  ·  Rating details ·  744 ratings  ·  197 reviews
Ibram X. Kendi's concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America--but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. In How to be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 13th 2019 by One World
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Popular Answered Questions
Jack Heller You may try Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I No Longer Talk to White People about Race, for a book addressed to British citizens specifically.
BMR, LCSW Once you read this book, you will not need any prompts for discussion. It will happen organically as soon as somebody says, "What did you think?"

Or if…more
Once you read this book, you will not need any prompts for discussion. It will happen organically as soon as somebody says, "What did you think?"

Or if you need them:
Do you agree with Kendi's definition of anti-racist? Why or why not?
What part of the book did you identify with the most?
Who do you want to tell about this book but are afraid to do so?
How has your perception of racism changed since reading this?
What scenarios reminded you of something that has happened in your own life?
What can you do tomorrow to actively fight racist policies in your communities (we all have more than one)?(less)

Community Reviews

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4.52  · 
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Raymond
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is only fitting that this book is being released after the past several weeks of racists attacks by politicians and mass shootings in the name of White Supremacy. After witnessing these acts many Americans will say "I'm not like that, I'm not a racist. I don't have a racist bone in my body". Ibram Kendi’s newest book addresses that mindset. In his follow up to Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Kendi argues that the dichotomy of either being a racis ...more
Christine
Disclaimer: I received an ARC via Netgalley.

Shortly after I finished this book, I put a quote from it up on the board in my classroom. At one point, Kendi argues that white supremacy is also anti-white and a form of genocide on whites. This is in addition to the attacks on non-whites. The interesting thing is that the black students (I use black because not all of the students are American citizens) were all nodding their heads, and the while students were all WTF.

But that idea of challenge of
...more
Traci at The Stacks
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So great. What an amazing human Kendi is. His ability to reflect on his own racist actions and thoughts is profound. I love his approach and think his insights are fantastic. The use of memoir with the definitions of types of racism and antiracism are really smart. I really enjoyed this book, though if you’ve read Stamped from the Beginning (his previous book) you may find this one redundant or slightly more elementary. If you haven’t attempted Stamped because it’s intimidating this might be a b ...more
Chris Blocker
Jul 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've a longstanding interest in Malcolm X. There were many aspects of his character that fascinate me. One is the transformation he made in the final year of his life—his second awakening, the birth of el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. In these days, el-Shabazz embraced the idea that there were other factors that went into making one “a devil,” not merely one's ethnicity. His overnight change of heart opened up considerable possibilities, a movement with a more unified front. I always wondered where el- ...more
Claudia Amendola
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

Okay, I worry about the ratings this book will get and whether or not they are truly honest. North Americans have an extremely bad habit of being so far left that any criticism of commentary on sexism, racism, homophobia, etc means you’re a racist/misogynist/homophobe/etc. I notice this book has straight 5-star reviews on Goodreads, many without commentary. Why? What about this book makes it deserving of five stars? Because the topic is important? Yes, it is. But
...more
Allison
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I want all of America to do a big book club with this book. There’s so much here and I want to write a full review of this books brilliance - Kendi’s straightforward definitions, his use of memoir and history. What surprised me the most is I wasn’t sure I agreed with everything he said, especially the “powerless defense” and the chapter on racism against Whites. I loved this book & will try to write a coherent review. What I have to say now is: PREORDER THIS.

Thanks to One World Books for the
...more
Mara
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook-owned, arc
Kendi brings the same strong moral vision to his memoir as he did to his powerful history of American racism, STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING. Though I would say I personally preferred his voice channeled in the historical non-fiction genre over the memoir/personal essay genre, this is still an incredibly resonant & coherent argument about why simply being "not racist" isn't a sufficient bar for Americans to clear. To be "not racist" is to be passive against (and therefore complicit in) racist po ...more
Ryan Ebling
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How many times is Dr Kendi going to write a book that changes my life? So far, he's done it twice. This book has the potential to change the world. I am not exaggerating.
Calvinist Batman
SUMMARY

This book stirred many thoughts and convictions in me. I didn't realize Kendi's church background. When reading Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, it felt like he was an atheist (which he might be). I didn't think he understood what the church is really like. I can no longer say that. Mind you, this book wasn't an attack of the church, but it did color and nuance his arguments better. There definitely is some Christian underpinnings to this bo
...more
Chaitra
I liked most of it, identified with some assimilationist thoughts I’d been thinking after moving to the United States (in India, being one of the majority I didn’t really have to think about carrying the burden of a nation in how I presented myself), and a lot of the racist ideologies make my stomach churn, but it didn’t really surprise me. There’s some good advice about avoiding racist thought altogether, and how hard it is because most of it is supposedly well meaning and innocent. I read it m ...more
Misha
Quotes from unproofed arc:

"I do not use 'microagressions' anymore. I detest the post-racial platform that supported its sudden popularity. I detest its component parts--'micro' and 'aggression.' A persistent daily low hum of racist abuse is not minor. I use the term 'abuse' because aggression is not as exacting a term. Abuse accurately describes the action and its effects on people: distress, anger, worry, depression, anxiety, pain, fatigue, and suicide.
What other people call racial microaggress
...more
Andre
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Five luminous 🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟stars! This is a bold book of reckoning. Kudos to Ibram Kendi for having the testicular fortitude to bring new ideas to the marketplace. Although antiracism isn’t necessarily a brand new idea, Kendi has placed his indelible stamp on it and will now be forever linked to it with this very important book. One of the things that impress, and is helpful in discussion and debate are clear definitions. As he did in his previous work, Stamped From The Beginning he is laborious about ...more
Becki
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have confidence that this book, when finally born into the world, is going to grow into a movement that will do incredible things.

I'm a white woman. I'd like to think that I'm "not a racist". The problem is that I don't know what I don't know. This book was carefully crafted to include copious amounts of research and data, while also vulnerably and transparently sharing the author's own journey through racism.

Through the course of this book, I've learned that being "not a racist" is not enou
...more
Nate
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Privileged to receive an advance reader’s edition. A fantastic, challenging, yet hopeful book - nothing short of mind-altering. Please read this and tell everyone you know to do the same.
Wendy
Aug 21, 2019 rated it liked it
I have read STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING and was captivated by Ibram X. Kendi's intellect, acuity, and straight talk. I left that book seared and shaken.

This is a much weaker outing, organized haphazardly, and unclear about its focus; a memoir; textbook; history book; wake up call?

There is an old adage that Eskimos have 40 words for snow, and each word describes a distinct type of snow; important information when your survival depends on knowing and understanding snow. Kendi is working to bring s
...more
Tonstant Weader
Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How to Be an Anti-Racist rethinks some of the orthodoxies of dismantling racism. It follows Kendi’s personal journey from the “respectability politics” of assimilation to the anti-racist understanding that there is nothing wrong with Black culture and the old respectability politics are rooted in racist ideas that evolve to justify racist policies.

Kendi focuses on policy-making which he thinks is the heart of racism. Policy is crafted in self-interest by those in power. Their self-interest is of
...more
Alix
Aug 08, 2019 added it
I will be curious to hear what some of my more woke friends think about this when it comes out (I have an advance copy for review for On the Same Page). I have not read enough in this genre/on this topic to judge. What I did like was his honesty and vulnerability: he accuses his own past (and intermittently present) self for pretty much every kind of benighted -ism that he now works so hard as an antiracist to eradicate. His style of writing in this book is intentionally repetitive, as if to pou ...more
Casey
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Thanks to Random House for the free advance copy of this book.

HOW TO BE AN ANTIRACIST is part memoir and part educational text. Kendi sets out anecdotes from his own life to illustrate the variety of ways racism manifests in America and how it is closely intertwined with other prejudices we hold.

The writing in this book is simple and straightforward - you do not need a deep academic understanding of race to grasp the concepts Kendi brings to the reader. You will come away with that deep underst
...more
Cavak
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Felt like an angrier non-sports version of Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White to me. Both books target racism at their potential sources, present studies/reports that support an argument, and propose actions that may change or address an issue in a productive way for equality. They're both wise and enlightening African American perspectives that are written in the ripples of the Trump administration's publicized affronts.

Between the two, I prefer Kareem's
...more
Bethany
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thought-provoking, insightful, powerful and intimate, How to Be an Antiracist deftly weaves together personal memoir with essays on racism and anti-racism in a way that feels both public and intensely personal. Add this to your library of important works on race in America. In some ways, this is a followup to Kendi's groundbreaking book Stamped from the Beginning: A History of Racist Ideas in America and answers the question of: okay, now what? Once we understand what racism is and where it come ...more
Will Ejzak
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Essential for anyone living in the United States. Kendi presents a unified theory of tolerance (though that's probably the wrong word) that feels both obvious and revelatory.

The title is almost a misnomer. Kendi makes it clear that if you're exclusively antiracist, you're missing the point; because all forms of tolerance are deeply interrelated, you can't be antiracist without also being anticapitalist (and anti- all policies that reinforce or fail to address social inequalities centuries in th
...more
Gabby
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was one of the best books I've read. I study and write about the history of race in America, so I'm often reading books and articles on the topic. Most of those books and articles seem inaccessible to people who don't study history or race. I would recommend Kendi's book to any and everyone. This book will give you the history of race and racism while connecting to Kendi's personal experiences and present-day issues in the form of a self-help book.

For those who don't understand what k
...more
Sarah
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
For a review of this book, I want to first point you toward Sonya (@wocreader)'s review on here, which is basically perfect and says more about this book and its content and writing style than I would've articulated myself. I couldn't agree more with her review, especially these points (which I'm paraphrasing and putting my own thoughts into):

1. Kendi frames the conversation about racism brilliantly, focusing on specific and concrete language that definitely is helping me change the way I think
...more
Katie Goldey
Aug 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m still not sure how I feel about every idea expressed in this book, and I think that’s what I love about it. Kendi challenges us to question and think for ourselves, and takes us down the path of what that has looked at for him. This does provide a new take on some traditional sociological ideology about racism. I love the focus on targeting racist policy and recognizing intersectionality of oppression, and the relationship between racism and capitalism.
Joel Devore
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow! Read this and help be the change that Mr. Kendi proposes!
Debby
Aug 19, 2019 rated it liked it
3+? 4-? not sure yet

I'm glad to have been able to read this so soon after publication. More importantly, I appreciate the opportunity to learn a better framework and more accurate language/thought process.

It's too soon for me to "rate" the book. I need to process. I may never actually quantify. The subject matter is critically important. The author is thoughtful and intelligent. Let's get to the work that needs to be done—on ourselves and our society.
Faith
Aug 23, 2019 marked it as request
Shelves: audio, overdrive
I might read this book some day, but I can’t listen to the audiobook. The author, who reads his own book, makes too many pauses and puts them in weird places. He should have used a professional narrator.
Autumn
Aug 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am unsure how to rate definitively this book because I don't think I've fully processed it yet.

A smart blend of personal anecdotes, historically significant events and quotes, and definitions, Kendi presents How to Be an Antiracistat a time when such a book is needed. His genius is that he's not pointing fingers at people. He admits to having racist tendencies, identifies the ways in which American culture feeds off and perpetuates racism, and invites readers to critically examine themselves.
...more
Nadine Jones
This very long quote from the introduction is the perfect explanation of what this book is about:

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
...more
Lewis Szymanski
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Everyone should read this book, especially the people who will never consider reading it.

If you consider yourself an intersectional progressive, you should read this book to find out where your blind spots are.

The central idea of Ibram X. Kendi's book is that ignorance and hatred don't cause racism, but that racist policies cause ignorance and hatred.

The book is structured as a chronological personal narrative interspersed with a series of connected chapter themes that build on each other like
...more
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Calvinist Batman ...: No such thing as "non-racist"? 1 9 Aug 23, 2019 04:30PM  
Calvinist Batman ...: next August book 2 11 Aug 09, 2019 07:10PM  
“The opposite of racist isn't 'not racist.' It is 'anti-racist.' What's the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an anti-racist. 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 anti-racist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an anti-racist. There is no in-between safe space of 'not racist.” 5 likes
“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.” 2 likes
More quotes…