How to be an Antiracist (HTBA) is truly groundbreaking work done by today’s visionary himself to expose the ongoing struggle for racial justice. Racist and Antiracist ideas is brought to center stage by Kendi’s engagement of class, body, behavior, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, culture, color, biology and space. We learned in the very beginning that before understanding the detailed foundations and to see it in the author’s transformative lens ; we must first know the basic definitions. “Definitions anchor us in principles,” which challenges us,as the reader, to define the kind of people we want to be in a stable and consistent way. Before I continue with my review I would like to share with you Kendi’s fundamental definitions of “racism as a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas and Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” I come to realize that what the author was stating is that you are either an racist or antiracist with really no in between.
Within each chapter I was most grateful for his personal insights and how he maneuvered intimately in the text helped him engaged in many pertinent issues amongst race in society.
Some key take aways to appreciate and understand are that White racists will continue to denounce BLM because the idea of it does not center on White lives deeming that policies not rigged for White people are racist. Kendi made it clear not to persecute a particular culture group, ethnic group, race or class for the racist behavior of one individual. Which I can say I am guilty of doing this without thought of what in terms I was actually saying. The book hit on voter suppression then and now expressing not so much of an dramatic difference because new ways has been formed to continue to suppress the Black vote. The controversy continues when Kendi defines race-gender and states how it is possible for White women to get away with murder and Black men spend years in prisons for wrongful convictions, how white women clutch their purses in the sight of Black men, how if a Black family moves into an suburban town they don’t belong, how more educational funding is released to white districts than those of black districts. This is what WE know already, but is what some White folk are just finding out due to books like this.
This book shows the burden of Black lives trying to live perfect for White people and Black people. The unfortunate burden for some to represent the race well and not fail “us.” Why can’t we just be our imperfect selves and strive to perfect those things in us without being judged? “We believed good Black behavior made White people “less racist,” even when our experiences told us it usually did not.” What more of a burden is the thought of failure. Not to drag someone else for theirs but to look in the mirror and see our own flaws. Personally I think more politicians, policy makers, judges, governors, senators, mayors and racist White people need find the power within to view themselves in the mirror of the past and future.
“What if we treated racism in the way we treat cancer?” Think on that.
I was disappointed in the overall audience that Kendi portrayed to and that seemed majority towards White people. I say this because the method in which he states the issue in each chapter is more of surface material without the depth to spare feelings of what black people truly experience. In my tiny disappointment I still will rate this book with 5 stars. He gives all of himself in his personal insights, research, praise to authors with similar content, and his ability to offer real solutions to the war against racism. He does so with great humility, honesty and enthusiasm that appeals to the more optimistic and open minded readers. I am sort of going backwards with his literary works, but next I will be embarking on “Stamped from the Beginning,” even out of Nonfiction November because it’s more books by us with us in mind. ✊🏾