“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
What is an anti-racist? That was the question I hoped this book would answer and not only did it do that but it also changed my thinking by redefining and expanding the idea of racism.
For a long time I held the definition that I, as a Black woman, cannot be a racist but after reading this book my perspective has been changed. Kendi goes into detail about the danger of us as a Black collective community thinking that we hold no power, because is fact we do. There are Black judges, Black officers, Black leaders and we even had the first Black president of the USA, so we do have power. While there are systems that exist to destroy our community we still have the power and can make change whether small or large.
But what I love most about this book is that Kendi’s views on America and himself grew over time. We see him at the beginning go from boy that upholds the racist ideas that plague the Black community to a man that educates and empowers others and himself.
Kendi revealed many of his biases, which are some of the same biases we hold onto, but he does a great job of dismantling them.
I think this is an important read no matter your background because it lays a great foundation of racism, race relations, sexism and homophobia.
Here are a few quotes I loved…
“The black child is illtreated like an adult and the black adult is illtreated like a child”
“Internalized racism is the real black on black crime”
“Like fighting an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.”
Have you read this? What are your thoughts?