No one said life is easy. But it should be fair—at least most of the time. Being born any color other than white makes life so much more difficult and less fair from Day 1.
In his book “How to be an Antiracist” (Random House, 2019) Ibram X. Kendi takes readers on a journey from his childhood to the time the book was published. His path included the realization that he was being prejudice against other Black people. But we all know the real racism is whites toward others; in his case Blacks.
“The United States is a racist nation because its policymakers and polices have been racist from the beginning,” Kendi writes. He further states, “Americans have long been trained to see the deficiencies of people rather than policy.”
Instances where this statement are proven true are strewn throughout the book. While there is plenty of personal aspects to the book, Kendi weaves in a multitude of scenarios and facts to prove his beliefs.
Kendi is the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, as well as professor of history and international relations, author, and columnist for The Atlantic.
All but one of the 18 chapters is one word. They are: Definitions, Dueling Consciousness, Power, Biology, Ethnicity, Body, Culture, Behavior, Color, White, Black, Class, Space, Gender, Sexuality, Failure, Success, and Survival. I mention them because Kendi dissects each topic in a captivating, probing manner that got me to think. I appreciated his perspective on the entire topic and each chapter.
This book was read by my Wine, Women and Wisdom book club. Our discussions are often thought-provoking, bringing out the larger subject matter as opposed to worrying about whether the book has literary merit or you would recommend the book. (Those were criteria in my last book club.)
Some of our comments:
- We are either a multicultural nation or not; it needs to be reflected in school curriculum.
- Black and brown people are not able to socially distance because of their jobs.
- Boston declared racism a public health crisis.
- When talking about racism ask a person to define racism.
- So many people don’t know their ideas are racist.
- Advocating for change isn’t supposed to be easy.
- Are you really an ally if it’s only convenient for you?
Not profound per se, but a simple statement that led to further discussion by the group that helped us probe deeper, and understand ourselves and the world a little more.