“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
Ibram X. Kendi’s book released in August 2019, “How to Be an Antiracist” was a profound and eye-opening book about ongoing racism in America of all forms. Some of the forms of racism he addresses both from his own experiences of discrimination and racism against him as well as his own racism include power, biology, ethnicity, behavior, color, white racism, black racism, class, space, gender, sexuality and more.
This book both addresses and exposes racism in all forms and how it has been institutionalized in America and Capitalism in a way to hold down black Americans and other Americans of color so that the wealthiest white Americans can thrive and take in profits from America’s inception, a carryover from Europe and persistent throughout all of Western Civilization.
The book’s premise is that the problem does not lie with racist people, but the racist policies that have enabled the racists and have abusively denigrated all non-whites as inferior to their white counterparts. The problem is not fixed by being “color blind” because that is ignorance of the differences between white and non-white in the world. The answer is not to scold an African-American who doesn’t live up to some standard as a representative of the entire race.
Activism that forces the powerful to make antiracist policies that benefit all and to undo racist policy that puts the interests of one people group above all others. Antiracist policies undo racist thoughts that people have as a result of racist policy.
“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
This was an excellent read. It was very enlightening about the current fight against racism. In order to end racism, we must make decisions that support antiracist policies, including voting for antiracist candidates and antiracist policies in our government.