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How to Be an Antiracist
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MODERN CLASSICS/POPULAR READS > How to Be an Antiracist - *SPOILERS*

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Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 1108 comments Welcome everyone to our August 2020 Modern Classic/Popular Group Read; this month we'll be reading through How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.

Friendly reminder that this is the spoilers thread - if you're not yet ready for spoilers then head on over to the pre-read thread.

What did you think of this book? What are some of the themes that stood out you? Are there ways they relate to modern times? Did it meet your expectations?


Grace Hogan | 1 comments I actually just finished this book before noticing it was on the list. 😂 I have read Stamped From the Beginning by Kendi already, so I already had high expectations and honestly believe that they were met. This book describes Ibram X. Kendi going from a patriarchal and homophobic racist to being a feminist, pro-LGBT anti racist. The fact he can admit he himself had bad views of his own race and try to help people see maybe in themselves are the same ideas he had, and what he strives for now is what we can aspire to do as well, is phenomenal. This book definitely makes me want to read more on this and intersectional subjects.


Brittany Murray | 23 comments This was a hard read for me because obviously the topics discussed are of the upmost importance. I think there must be something about Kendi's writing that I can't get into. I DNFed Stamped from the Beginning for this reason and while this book was easier for me, it was still difficult. It is part memoir, part history, and many other things just kind of mashed together. I get how this really works for a lot of people but for me it felt t disjointed and there didn't seem to be much cohesion. I really hope to read more on similar topics in the future but I don't think it will be with this author.


message 4: by KP (new) - added it

KP | 42 comments This isn't what I expected it to be. I expected more on the "how to" part. It's more about his education, his own racism, his life.


Lana | 129 comments I have just spent about an hour watching FAMU marching band YouTube videos. They’re soo good! Are they famous in America? As a Brit I’d never heard of them before.
(Sorry this is slightly off topic but Kendi talks about them in chapter 10 and I was curious)


Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 1108 comments Lana wrote: "I have just spent about an hour watching FAMU marching band YouTube videos. They’re soo good! Are they famous in America? As a Brit I’d never heard of them before.
(Sorry this is slightly off topic..."


Marching bands are popular here. Just about every high school and college has one, and they are a feature at many of the sporting events. Most parades will have a local marching band or multiple. Big parades have marching bands come from all over the country. Participating in them are good way to get scholarships for university also.


Joanna Loves Reading (joannalovesreading) | 1108 comments This book seemed to have suffered some from library wait times for participants. You are welcome to continue to discuss even though August is over.


aPriL does feral sometimes  (cheshirescratch) | 559 comments I think this was one of the best books on racism I’ve ever read. Honest and thoughtful, it demonstrates his maturation of ideas as he read more about the history of racism and experienced the reality of different viewpoints.


Lianne (The Towering Pile) Lavoie (liannelavoie) | 6 comments I just joined this group but as it happens I read this book in September! I listened to the audiobook, which is read by the author.

What I liked:
I found this to be a really good and useful analysis of racism. Even as someone who had a decent grasp on the concept of systemic racism going in, I feel like I understand it better than before I read this book. I think this is a book that everyone should read.

What I didn't care for:
The writing can be a bit disjointed and repetitive at times. In addition, as a reader, Kendi speaks very slowly and with at times strange emphasis, which combined with the repetitive writing to affect the flow sometimes. While I appreciated the way his passion came through in his reading, sometimes I had trouble following, and I had to listen to it at 1.2x speed.


Shelley | 102 comments I just finished this book. The combination of history and personal experience made an interesting read. I really appreciated the author's willingness to share his journey on such an important topic. And his conclusion that, "The source of racist ideas was not ignorance and hate, but self-interest." really hit home for me.

This book is quite comprehensive, and I'll barely retain a fraction of it. Still it opened my eyes to a lot of different aspects of racism that I had not considered.

Like Lianne, I listened to the audiobook. It may have been a better idea to read this one the first time through. (It is worth a reread.) The author seemed to use a fair amount of irony and use quotes to document specific views held in the past that did not come across as obviously on audio.


Laura H (laurah30) | 544 comments I just finished this book and highly recommend it. I have read a number of books on anti-racism during the past few months and i think the combination of personal narrative and reflection as well as the academic arguments and historical references made it compelling as well as invitational.
As a Canadian white woman of privilege, I appreciated the author's personal journey of reflecting on his own bias and his own journey of shifting to racist policy is the problem rather than blaming the people. I reflect that this is absolutely a shift we all need to make as a just and fair society. Stop blaming the people who are treated unfairly and trapped by policies that disadvantage them. Glad I read it!


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