My rating: 5 of 5 stars
As the Trump era comes to a close and race relations, among many other things in this country, have reached a new low, especially after the summer of Black Lives Matter protests last year, people of goodwill have been looking for ways to break the country and themselves free from America’s white supremacist past and present. One of the newest paradigms shifts in thinking about achieving racial equality in America is antiracism, yet few know what exactly this means. In this wonderful book, Dr. Kendi not only illuminates the deeper meanings and workings of antiracism, but also charts his own personal development into antiracist work.
Like the book So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo, Dr. Kendi talks about racism and antiracism both from experience and from deep academic research. His previous work, Stamped from the Beginning, would be an excellent book to read before this one, along with Ms. Oluo’s. However, what distinguishes this book from other recent works of antiracism is both the deeper insight’s and definitions Dr. Kendi explores, but this is a book anchored in his own humanity, humility, and self-reflection. Almost every chapter has some personal anecdote that leads into his antiracist point and many of them are critical of his own faults and failings earlier in his life. Thus, by reflecting on his own past failings, Dr. Kendi invites his readers to explore their own past failings where they have failed to treat others, particularly BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people, with equal dignity and respect. As Dr. Kendi explored his own development towards antiracism, I even found myself reflecting on my own failings and resolving to do better in the future.
It can be too easy for people to point out racist ideas, acts, or policies, but it is much more difficult to point to our own racist thoughts and actions and work to improve ourselves. Dr. Kendi’s excellent, well-though out and deeply reflective work, can help all of us to do so. There is a reason why this book has been on a lot of antiracism reading lists and I have no criticisms to give this book. For anyone who has read So You Want To Talk About Race, Stamped from the Beginning, or other antiracism works, you must read this book next.
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