In light of the BLM movement, How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi is a book I have seen being recommended on many reading lists so I decided to take the time out to read it. This blog post is by no means an attempt to address every single idea discussed in the book. My main aim is to explore a few topics that I found particularly engaging.
This book provides a lot of information on the history of race and racism, and explains how racism can manifest in many forms. Kendi differentiates between the terms 'racist' and 'antiracist'. He defines a racist as “one who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea”. An antiracist is defined as “one who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea”. Initially, I thought this was a very polarising idea, however this book made it clear to me that there is no room for passivity in the fight against racism. This makes ‘antiracist’ a much better term for those that are actively rejecting racist policies and ideas because ‘not racist’ gives people an excuse to be complicit and pretend that racism does not really exist. Fundamentally, Kendi argues that every policy is either racist or antiracist and there is no spectrum.
“There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy.”