How to Be an Antiracist Quotes

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How to Be an Antiracist How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
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How to Be an Antiracist Quotes Showing 1-30 of 808
“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.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Black people are apparently responsible for calming the fears of violent cops in the way women are supposedly responsible for calming the sexual desires of male rapists.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“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.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Americans have long been trained to see the deficiencies of people rather than policy. It's a pretty easy mistake to make: People are in our faces. Policies are distant. We are particularly poor at seeing the policies lurking behind the struggles of people.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“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.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be 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.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Like fighting an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Racist ideas love believers, not thinkers.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“White supremacists love what America used to be, even though America used to be - and still is - teeming with millions of struggling White people. White supremacists blame non-White people for the struggles of White people when any objective analysis of their plight primarily implicates the rich White Trumps they support.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“To be antiracist is to think nothing is behaviorally wrong or right- inferior or superior- with any of the racial groups. Whenever the antiracist sees individuals behaving positively or negatively, the antiracist sees exactly that: individuals behaving positively or , not representatives of whole races. To be antiracist is to deracialize behavior, to remove the tattooed stereotype from every racialized body. Behavior is something humans do, not races do.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“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.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Denial is the heartbeat of racism, beating across ideologies, races, and nations. It is beating within us.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“The most threatening racist movement is not the alt right's unlikely drive for a White ethnostate but the regular American's drive for a 'race-neutral' one. The construct of race neutrality actually feeds White nationalist victimhood by positing the notion that any policy protecting or advancing non-White Americans toward equity is 'reverse discrimination.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Generally speaking, individual Black and Latinx and Asian and Middle Eastern and European immigrants are uniquely resilient and resourceful—not because they are Nigerian or Cuban or Japanese or Saudi Arabian or German but because they are immigrants. In fact, immigrants and migrants of all races tend to be more resilient and resourceful when compared with the natives of their own countries and the natives of their new countries.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Assimilationist ideas are racist ideas. Assimilationists can position any racial group as the superior standard that another racial group should be measuring themselves against, the benchmark they should be trying to reach. Assimilations typically position White people as the superior standard.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Instead, they define policies not rigged for White people as racist. Ideas not centering White lives are racist. Beleaguered White racists who can’t imagine their lives not being the focus of any movement respond to “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter.” Embattled police officers who can’t imagine losing their right to racially profile and brutalize respond with “Blue Lives Matter.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“I do not use “microaggression” 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.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Racist policy” says exactly what the problem is and where the problem is. “Institutional racism” and “structural racism” and “systemic racism” are redundant. Racism itself is institutional, structural, and systemic.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“What if we realized the best way to ensure an effective educational system is not by standardizing our curricula and tests but by standardizing the opportunities available to all students?”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“We were unarmed, but we knew that blackness armed us, even though we had no guns.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“One of racism’s harms is the way it falls on the unexceptional Black person who is asked to be extraordinary just to survive—and, even worse, the Black screwup who faces the abyss after one error, while the White screwup is handed second chances and empathy.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Critiquing racism is not activism. Changing minds is not activism. An activist produces power and policy change, not mental change. If a person has no record of power or policy change, then that person is not an activist.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Race is a mirage but one that humanity has organized itself around in very real ways. Imagining away the existence of races in a racist world is as conserving and harmful as imagining away classes in a capitalistic world—it allows the ruling races and classes to keep on ruling. Assimilationists believe in the post-racial myth that talking about race constitutes racism, or that if we stop identifying by race, then racism will miraculously go away. They fail to realize that if 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.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Americans have long been trained to see the deficiencies of people rather than policy”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Any gospel that does not…speak to the issue of enslavement” and “injustice” and “inequality—any gospel that does not want to go where people are hungry and poverty-stricken and set them free in the name of Jesus Christ—is not the gospel.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“The idea that Black languages outside Africa are broken is as culturally racist as the idea that languages inside Europe are fixed.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“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”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“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.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination. As President Lyndon B. Johnson said in 1965, “You do not take a person who, for years, has been hobbled by chains and liberate him, bring him up to the starting line of a race and then say, ‘You are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe that you have been completely fair.” As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun wrote in 1978, “In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist

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