Quotes from Ibram X. Kendi's new book, How to Be an Anti Racist
"What's the problem with being "not racist"? It is a claim that signifies neutrality...The opposite of "racist" isn't "not racist." It is "anti-racist." What's the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an antiracist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an anti-racist...It is descriptive, and the only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it- and then dismantle it. The attempt to turn this usefully descriptive term into an almost unusable slur is, of course, designed to do the oppsoite: to free us into inaction." (Keni, 2019, 9)
"To be antiracist is to set lucid definitions of racism/antiracism, racist/antiracist policies, racist/antiracist ideas, racist/antiracist people. To be a racist is to constantly redefine racist in a way that exonerates one's changing policies, ideas, and personhood." (Keni, 2019, 17)
"Racial inequality is when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximately equal footing. Here's an example of racial inequality: 71 percent of White families lived in owner-occupied homes in 2014, compared to 45 percent of Latinx families and 41 percent of Black families. Racial equty is when two or more racial groups are standing on a relatively equal footing. An example of racial equity would be if there were relatively equitable percentages of all three racial groups living in owner-occupied homes in the forites, seventies, or, better, nineties." (Keni, 2019, 18)
"A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups. An antiracist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups...Racist policies have been described by other terms: "institutional racism," "structural racism," and "systemic racism," for instance. But those are vaguer terms than "racist policy." When I use them I find myself having to immediately explain what they mean. "Racist policy" is more tangible and exacting, and more likely to be immediately understood by people, including its victims, who may not hae hte benefit of extensive fluency in racial terms...Racism itself is institutional, structural, and systemic." (Keni, 2019, 18)
We must begin to speak, communicate clearly in order to move dialogue out of the weeds and into the air.
How can communities, teams, organizations, leaders begin to be straight forward about racist policies that effect the marginalized in our communities day in and day out?
To speak openly is a beginning step to change.
Where do we want change to go? What are we afraid of?
Video of Ibram X. Kendi introducing the main theme of his book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OXMgA0Fwsk
To purchase Ibram X. Kendi's book and read it on your own! https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/564299/how-to-be-an-antiracist-by-ibram-x-kendi/