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 31-60 of 1,048
“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
“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
“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.”
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
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the strength to do what is right in the face of it,” as the anonymous philosopher tells us. 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
“To love capitalism is to end up loving racism. To love racism is to end up loving capitalism. The conjoined twins are two sides of the same destructive body. The idea that capitalism is merely free markets, competition, free trade, supplying and demanding, and private ownership of the means of production operating for a profit is as whimsical and ahistorical as the White-supremacist idea that calling something racist is the primary form of racism. Popular definitions of capitalism, like popular racist ideas, do not live in historical or material reality. Capitalism is essentially racist; racism is essentially capitalist. They were birthed together from the same unnatural causes, and they shall one day die together from unnatural causes. Or racial capitalism will live into another epoch of theft and rapacious inequity, especially if activists naïvely fight the conjoined twins independently, as if they are not the same.”
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.” That is how racist power can call affirmative action policies that succeed in reducing racial inequities “race conscious” and standardized tests that produce racial inequities “race neutral.” That is how they can blame the behavior of entire racial groups for the inequities between different racial groups and still say their ideas are “not racist.” But there is no such thing as a not-racist idea, only racist ideas and antiracist ideas.”
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 saying “Black people can’t be racist” reproduces the false duality of racist and not-racist promoted by White racists to deny their racism. It merges Black people with White Trump voters who are angry about being called racist but who want to express racist views and support their racist policies while being identified as not-racist, no matter what they say or do.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“No one becomes racist or antiracist. We can only strive to be one or the other.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Queer antiracism is equating all the race-sexualities, striving to eliminate the inequities between the race-sexualities. We cannot be antiracist if we are homophobic or transphobic. We must continue to “affirm that all Black lives matter,” as the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Opal Tometi, once said. All Black lives include those of poor transgender Black women, perhaps the most violated and oppressed of all the Black intersectional groups. The average U.S. life expectancy of a transgender woman of color is thirty-five years. The racial violence they face, the transphobia they face as they seek to live freely, is unfathomable.”
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
“That is the central double standard in ethnic racism: loving one’s position on the ladder above other ethnic groups and hating one’s position below that of other ethnic groups. It is angrily trashing the racist ideas about one’s own group but happily consuming the racist ideas about other ethnic groups. It is failing to recognize that racist ideas we consume about others came from the same restaurant and the same cook who used the same ingredients to make different degrading dishes for us all.”
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
“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. If we don’t, then we are blamed for our own assaults, our own deaths.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“What is racism? Racism is a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“The history of racist ideas is the history of powerful policymakers erecting racist policies out of self-interest, then producing racist ideas to defend and rationalize the inequitable effects of their policies, while everyday people consume those racist ideas, which in turn sparks ignorance and hate.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“No one becomes a racist or antiracist. We can only strive to be one or the other. We can unknowingly strive to be a racist. We can knowingly strive 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
“White people are more likely than Black and Latinx people to sell drugs, and the races consume drugs at similar rates. Yet African Americans are far more likely than Whites to be jailed for drug offenses. Nonviolent Black drug offenders remain in prisons for about the same length of time (58.7 months) as violent White criminals (61.7 months). In 2016, Black and Latinx people were still grossly overrepresented in the prison population at 56 percent, double their percentage of the U.S. adult population. White people were still grossly underrepresented in the prison population at 30 percent, about half their percentage of the U.S. adult population.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“Antiracist ideas are based in the truth that racial groups are equals in all the ways they are different, assimilationist ideas are rooted in the notion that certain racial groups are culturally or behaviorally inferior, and segregationist ideas spring from a belief in genetic racial distinction and fixed hierarchy.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“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.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“White supremacist is code for anti-White, and White supremacy is nothing short of an ongoing program of genocide against the White race. In fact, it’s more than that: White supremacist is code for anti-human, a nuclear ideology that poses an existential threat to human existence.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“I use “anticapitalist” because conservative defenders of capitalism regularly say their liberal and socialist opponents are against capitalism. They say efforts to provide a safety net for all people are “anticapitalist.” They say attempts to prevent monopolies are “anticapitalist.” They say efforts that strengthen weak unions and weaken exploitative owners are “anticapitalist.” They say plans to normalize worker ownership and regulations protecting consumers, workers, and environments from big business are “anticapitalist.” They say laws taxing the richest more than the middle class, redistributing pilfered wealth, and guaranteeing basic incomes are “anticapitalist.” They say wars to end poverty are “anticapitalist.” They say campaigns to remove the profit motive from essential life sectors like education, healthcare, utilities, mass media, and incarceration are “anticapitalist.” In doing so, these conservative defenders are defining capitalism. They define capitalism as the freedom to exploit people into economic ruin; the freedom to assassinate unions; the freedom to prey on unprotected consumers, workers, and environments; the freedom to value quarterly profits over climate change; the freedom to undermine small businesses and cushion corporations; the freedom from competition; the freedom not to pay taxes; the freedom to heave the tax burden onto the middle and lower classes; the freedom to commodify everything and everyone; the freedom to keep poor people poor and middle-income people struggling to stay middle income, and make rich people richer. The history of capitalism—of world warring, classing, slave trading, enslaving, colonizing, depressing wages, and dispossessing land and labor and resources and rights—bears out the conservative definition of capitalism.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“To truly be antiracist is to be feminist. To truly be feminist is to be antiracist. [...] We cannot be antiracist if we are homophobic or transphobic. [...] All Black lives include those of poor transgender Black women, perhaps the most violated and oppressed of all the Black intersectional groups.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“As Audre Lorde said in 1980, “We have all been programmed to respond to the human differences between us with fear and loathing and to handle that difference in one of three ways: ignore it, and if that is not possible, copy it if we think it is dominant, or destroy it if we think it is subordinate. But we have no patterns for relating across our human differences as equals.” To be an antiracist is a radical choice in the face of this history, requiring a radical reorientation of our consciousness.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“THE COMMON IDEA of claiming “color blindness” is akin to the notion of being “not racist”—as with the “not racist,” the color-blind individual, by ostensibly failing to see race, fails to see racism and falls into racist passivity. The language of color blindness—like the language of “not racist”—is a mask to hide racism. “Our Constitution is color-blind,” U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Harlan proclaimed in his dissent to Plessy v. Ferguson, the case that legalized Jim Crow segregation in 1896. “The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country,” Justice Harlan went on. “I doubt not, it will continue to be for all time, if it remains true to its great heritage.” A color-blind Constitution for a White-supremacist America.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“that the power of the spoken word is in the power of the word spoken.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“I still identify as Black. Not because I believe Blackness, or race, is a meaningful scientific category but because our societies, our policies, our ideas, our histories, and our cultures have rendered race and made it matter. I am among those who have been degraded by racist ideas, suffered under racist policies, and who have nevertheless endured and built movements and cultures to resist or at least persist through this madness. I see myself culturally and historically and politically in Blackness, in being an African American, an African, a member of the forced and unforced African diaspora. I see myself historically and politically as a person of color, as a member of the global south, as a close ally of Latinx, East Asian, Middle Eastern, and Native peoples and all the world’s degraded peoples, from the Roma and Jews of Europe to the aboriginals of Australia to the White people battered for their religion, class, gender, transgender identity, ethnicity, sexuality, body size, age, and disability. The gift of seeing myself as Black instead of being color-blind is that it allows me to clearly see myself historically and politically as being an antiracist, as a member of the interracial body striving to accept and equate and empower racial difference of all kinds.”
Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“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
“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