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How to Be an Antiracist

Written by: Ibram X. Kendi
Narrated by: Ibram X. Kendi
Length: 10 hrs and 43 mins

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Publisher's Summary

From the National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a “groundbreaking” (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society - and in ourselves. 

“The only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it - and then dismantle it.”

Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism - and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At it's core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes listeners through a widening circle of antiracist ideas - from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilites - that will help listeners see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.

Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.

Advance praise for How to Be an Antiracist

“A combination of memoir and extension of [Kendi’s] towering Stamped from the Beginning.... Never wavering...Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth.... This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.... Essential.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“In this sharp blend of social commentary and memoir...Kendi is ready to spread his message, his stories serving as a springboard for potent explorations of race, gender, colorism, and more.... With Stamped from the Beginning, Kendi proved himself a first-rate historian. Here, his willingness to turn the lens on himself marks him as a courageous activist, leading the way to a more equitable society.”(Library Journal (starred review) 

©2019 Ibram X. Kendi (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“Ibram Kendi’s work, through both his books and the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, is vital in today’s sociopolitical climate. As a society, we need to start treating antiracism as action, not emotion - and Kendi is helping us do that.” (Ijeoma Oluo, author of So You Want to Talk About Race)

“A boldly articulated, historically informed explanation of what exactly racist ideas and thinking are...[Kendi’s] prose is thoughtful, sincere, and polished. This powerful book will spark many conversations.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

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  • Jennifer Van Meter
  • 2019-08-18

Marvelous and useful.

I bought a print copy of the book after hearing Kendi interviewed but quickly downloaded the audio book as well. As impactful as his writing is, I found it it important to hear his voice, his emphasis and passion throughout.

There are ideas here I’d heard before or concluded for myself, but many connections I’d never made. This is an important book for anyone who wants to imagine and help create a better future.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Shaun Grace
  • 2019-08-22


Great insight on the racism and anti racism in a song. Will share with friends

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  • MK
  • 2019-08-14

Intelligent, Eye-opening, and Inspiring

First and foremost, this book is worth a credit. There is SO MUCH great material. I’ve been searching for a deeper understanding of the race issue. I was worried that I might end up listening to 10+ hours of everything I was doing wrong or what would amount to nothing more than one long guilt trip. But that’s not this book. Kendi even starts with a confession of his own racist conduct in the past (not overtly racist). And he explains why anyone can act as a racist. I appreciated that.

I re-listened to many portions of the book and made a number of clips with notes. This book has provided me with direction on how I can make my conduct and efforts anti-racist. It has inspired me to do more and to make my efforts more meaningful and effective.

A few issues, though:

The narration is distracting at times. I think Kendi narrating his book adds a needed element of sincerity, but there are a lot of unnecessary pauses. For example: “African Americans are {pause...2...3...4} more likely to {pause...2...3} be incarcerated.” I really wish it had been narrated in a conversational tone.

Next, there is a sprinkling of the semi-ridiculous among the otherwise outstanding content (or maybe it’s that I’m just not where I need to be on the issue of race?). One example is where Kendi says do-nothing climate change policies are racist because they impact the large African American communities of the South more than White communities located in the cooler parts of America (paraphrasing).
Okay, Mr. Kendi, maybe that’s true. But don’t those same policies affect White Southern Baptists, “Latinex” (never heard that term before this book), and Evangelicals disproportionately, too, since those groups are also primarily in the South? And doesn’t that make it less racist? Also, are we labeling policies “racist” when the disproportionate affects are two or three levels removed? To me, it’s reaching—like that one find-the-Kevin-Bacon-movie-link type of reaching. And it’s too broad of a definition. We can attack racism more effectively with targeted efforts, not an all-encompassing definition that essentially includes every policy (can’t we?).
Fortunately, this type of issue/argument by Kendi doesn’t occur very often in the book.

Overall, I think Kendi does a great job tackling a very divisive issue and providing needed insight. He has proved himself a stellar teacher and advocate.

Side note: there’s more great content from Kendi on YT that’s worth checking out.

6 of 12 people found this review helpful