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 49
“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
“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
“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
“Racist ideas love believers, not thinkers.”
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
“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
“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
“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
“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
“We were unarmed, but we knew that blackness armed us, even though we had no guns.”
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
“Our world is suffering from metastatic cancer. Stage 4. Racism has spread to nearly every part of the body politic, intersecting with bigotry of all kinds, justifying all kinds of inequities by victim blaming; heightening exploitation and misplaced hate; spurring mass shootings, arms races, and demagogues who polarize nations, shutting essential organs of democracy; and threatening the life of human society with nuclear war and climate change. In the United States, the metastatic cancer has been spreading, contracting, and threatening to kill the American body as it nearly did before its birth, as it nearly did during its Civil War. But how many people stare inside the body of their nations' racial inequities, their neighborhoods' racial inequities, their occupations' racial inequities, their institutions' racial inequities, and flatly deny that their policies are racist? They flatly deny that racial inequity is a signpost of racist policy. They flatly deny the racist policy as they use racist ideas to justify the racial inequity. They flatly deny the cancer of racism as the cancer cells spread and literally threaten their own lives and the lives of the people and spaces and places they hold dear. The popular conception of denial-like the popular strategy of suasion-is suicidal.”
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
“Racial-group behavior is a figment of the racist’s imagination. Individual behaviors can shape the success of individuals.”
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
“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
“Some of us are restrained by fear of what could happen to us if we resist. In our naïveté, we are less fearful of what could happen to us, or is already happening to us, if we don’t resist.”
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
“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
“But crime bills have never correlated to crime any more than fear has correlated to actual violence. We are not meant to fear suits with policies that kill. We are not meant to fear good White males with AR-15s. No, we are to fear the weary, unarmed Latinx body from Latin America. The Arab body kneeling to Allah is to be feared. The Black body from hell is to be feared. Adept politicians and crime entrepreneurs manufacture the fear and stand before voters to deliver them—messiahs who will liberate them from fear of these other bodies.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Communities with a higher share of long-term unemployed workers also tend to have higher rates of crime and violence.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Antiracism means separating the idea of a culture from the idea of behavior. Culture defines a group tradition that a particular racial group might share but that is not shared among all individuals in that racial group or among all racial groups.”
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
“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
“But asking every nonathletic Black person to become an Olympic hurdler, and blaming them when they can’t keep up, is racist.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy. Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity between racial groups.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“I had already forked over $1,000 for a preparatory course, feeding the U.S. test-prep and private tutoring industry that would grow to $12 billion in 2014 and is projected to reach $17.5 billion in 2020.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Americans today see the Black body as larger, more threatening, more potentially harmful, and more likely to require force to control than a similar sized White body, according to researchers. No wonder the Black body had to be lynched by the thousands, deported by the tens of thousands, incarcerated by the millions, segregated by the tens of millions.”
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
“Incorrect conceptions of race as a social construct (as opposed to a power construct) of racial history as a single march of racial progress (as opposed to a duel of antiracist and racist progress), of the race problem as rooted in ignorance and hate (as opposed to powerful self-interest) -- all come together to produce solutions bound to fail. Terms and sayings like 'I'm not racist' and 'race-neutral' and 'post-racial' and 'color-blind' and 'only one race, the human race' and 'only racists speak about race' and 'Black people can't be racist' and 'White people are evil' are bound to fail in identifying and eliminating racist power and policy.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist

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