Blanche’s Book Club: ‘How to be an Antiracist’.

I’m on a roll with the reading! As I’ve said before, it’s one of the only things getting me through this year.

I am still working my way through my list of antiracist reading, so the latest read from Blanche’s Book Club is “How to be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi. Here’s the scoop:

Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. 

In his memoir, Kendi weaves together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science–including the story of his own awakening to antiracism–bringing it all together in a cogent, accessible form. He begins by helping us rethink our most deeply held, if implicit, beliefs and our most intimate personal relationships (including beliefs about race and IQ and interracial social relations) and reexamines the policies and larger social arrangements we support. How to Be an Antiracist promises to become an essential book for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step of contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.

I was excited to read this one because I loved “Stamped From the Beginning” so much. I took extensive notes while reading this one, just as I did with “Stamped”. Here’s just a few things I noted:

  • This is the consistent function of racist ideas — and of any kind of bigotry more broadly: to manipulate us into seeing people as the problem, instead of the policies that ensnare them.
  • 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.
  • This cause and effect — a racist power creates racist policies out of raw self-interest; the racist policies necessitate racist ideas to justify them — lingers over the life of racism.
  • As long as the mind thinks there is something behaviorally wrong with a racial group, the mind can never be antiracist.

This is definitely one I would recommend, especially if you’re just beginning on your antiracist reading. Kendi has such a great way of breaking down research and making it digestible.

The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay” by Phoebe Robinson.

I hope you all have a great Sunday — see you tomorrow 🙂

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