Ibram X. Kendi – How To Be An Antiracist Book Review
This is our book review of How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. A spectacular and perspective changing book on standing up to systemic racism.
Author of How To Be An Antiracist: Ibram X. Kendi
Ibram Xolani Kendi or Ibram X. Kendi (born Ibram Henry Rogers) is a best-selling American author, an award-winning writer, historian, and scholar of discriminatory racial policy in America. He was born August 13, 1982; attended private Christian middle schools, and graduated from Stonewall Jackson High School in Virginia in 2000. After studying in several universities, Kendi finally gained his Ph.D. in African American studies in 2010.
Ibram Kendi worked as an assistant professor at the University of Florida’s department of African American studies in 2016. That was when he published his first book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. In 2017, his career took a new turn, and he began teaching as a professor of history and international relations at the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). Near the end of 2017, Kendi became a center of the spotlight after founding the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University and serving as an Executive Director.
In June 2020, Kendi announced that he would be joining Boston University as a history professor in July, where he will be serving as a Founding Director of the Boston University for Antiracist Research and join as a faculty professor.
As an author and writer, Ibram Kendi wrote and published several essays in well-reputed social journals and books. Ibram Kendi is also a contributing writer at the well-renowned magazine named The Atlantic. He has published five books in total, and one of them is How To Be An Antiracist.
How To Be An Antiracist claimed many positive reviews from political and social personalities. It was considered one of the most courageous books on the topic of race. And some people called it relatable in the context of current politics. For this book, Kendi was named the most convincing in getting readers to be involved more in politics. The book also faced some negative reviews, but as the book says, we are either racist or antiracist, there is no neutral.
The book How To Be An Antiracist was published in 2019. The theme of the book covers the concept of systemic racism and Kendi’s suggestions on how to eliminate racial discrimination from the society. The book was a successful seller and received a positive reception and has 4.7 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon. Kendi depicts a very brilliant memoir approach with this book. He not only pointed out the ethnic and social injustice but also related them to his own experiences, personalizing his argument. With this convincing yet technical approach, the effect turned out to be mind-expanding and a great source of learning for readers.
How To Be An Antiracist
How To Be An Antiracist is a non-fiction book about the social issue of racism – and how to eliminate it. This book was Ibram Kendi’s follow-up book after his previous book won the National Book Award. The book is among the highest-rated ones on Amazon. And was Best Book on Amazon in August 2019.
In How To Be An Antiracist, Kendi confesses about being racist. Instead of pointing the gun to the others, he pointed it at himself and did what none of us could: plead guilty. According to this book, a state and policy that it runs by is either a racist one – a deeply hateful, unequal, and implementing the horrible laws of history – or it can be antiracist, a demolisher of that history. There is no in-between. A state cannot be neutral; it will allow the racists to act insensibly without laws to put them to stop.
Kendi’s idea of being “not racist.”
A hypothesis that a socially active reader can relate to is the attack on the term “not racist.” This hypothesis puts the book in the line of successful contemporary writers about racism and equality. Kendi says that President Trump’s so-called antiracism does not take a genius to realize that Trump’s self-identification does not qualify him as “not racist.”
The continuous racist slurs and offensive remarks of Trump and British Media taking offense when being called “racist” while, at the same time, promoting cliché tropes about minorities reveals the unhinged meaningless of the term “not racist.” According to Kendi, the only way to be “not racist” is to be antiracist. Many people call themselves “not racist,” while few of them stand up to be “antiracist.”
Racism is Made out of Capitalism
Kendi made it pretty clear in his book that ignorance has nothing to do with racism. It is not a built-in feeling; it is taught. It is a product of patriarchy and capitalism. History tells us that rooted source of racism is utility and profitability. Politics is what conceives racism. He called racism a “metastatic cancer,” as it spreads on the whole body and every part of politics. Kendi creates a similarity between cancer and racism, while being a husband of a cancer survivor, and does not differentiate it because he does not feel the need to do it.
Self-Deprecating and Incriminating Society
In the book, Kendi sarcastically thanked his parents for raising him as a homophobic, sexist, and racist. He incriminates everyone, all of us, for being racist, homophobic, and sexist. Because in Kendi’s view, we all are those things if we do not bring ourselves up to the level where we can solve them or take a single step towards solving them. Kendi charges himself guilty of glamorizing blackness because, in an equal world, blackness should not even be a factor. But at the same time, he rejects the thinking of white superiority.
Style of the book
How To Be An Antiracist isn’t mean to be fancy or full of rhetoric. Kendi did not play with our emotions. He left almost all of his stories unfinished; it is assumed, to make a point that it is not an autobiography. This book seems like a textbook more than we would like it to be. But again, there is so much schooling that we need as a society.