How To Be An Antiracist Book Summary By Ibram X. Kendi

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How to Be an Antiracist is a thoughtful, thought-provoking book that explores the causes of racism and offers solutions for how to make our society more equitable.

Written by Kendi, who draws on his own experiences as well as political and historical insights, this book dives deep into how we can effectively antiracism in our communities.

Kendi explains how to tackle racism head on and suggests practical steps that you can take to combat discrimination in all its forms.

This book dives into some difficult topics, but guides readers with gentle empathy so they may better understand the complexities of racism and find effective ways to actively fight against it.

With How to Be an Antiracist, you'll develop a true understanding of what antiracism is and how you can be part of the solution.

How To Be An Antiracist Book

Book Name: How to Be an Antiracist (A groundbreaking approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society)

Author(s): Ibram X. Kendi

Rating: 4.2/5

Reading Time: 24 Minutes

Categories: Society & Culture

Author Bio

When it comes to experts on antiracist theories and thinking, few can compare to Ibram X.


He is a renowned American author and academic who has done extensive work in the field of racism history.

His book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction and has become an important source of knowledge in the discussion of race relations.


Kendi also established the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, which serves as a hub for research and information about antiracism efforts across the country.

It is clear that Dr.

Kendi is an invaluable asset to society and his work continues to impact people all over the world.

How To Become An Antiracist And Make The World More Just

positive change

Do you want to become an effective force for positive change in our increasingly polarized and divided society? If so, it’s important that you start looking at the world from an antiracist perspective.

In “How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X.

Kendi, readers will explore a range of antiracist ideas that will help them cast off their traditional conceptions of race and begin to truly understand racism – both in others and themselves.

Combining sociology, politics, and personal history, this book provides insightful pieces of knowledge for anyone who wishes to make the world more just and equitable.

Learn how you can make yourself anti-racist; why Black people can sometimes be racist; or what cancer has to do with racism, all discussed in these pages!

Making meaningful changes requires starting with a different viewpoint – get one through “How to Be An Antiracist”.

We Can Achieve Racial Justice By Becoming Antiracists

Racists may believe that individuals from certain racial groups are inherently better or worse than others, but the truth of the matter is that it is actually racist policies and processes which empower racism and perpetuate racial inequality.

From the US justice system to housing policies to access to healthcare, unfair distribution of resources within society gives undue power to some and disadvantages those from marginalized communities.

An antiracist recognizes that these policies – not people – are what cause inequity.

For antiracists, understanding that unequal treatment exists is key in pushing for fairness and dismantling oppressive systems.

Antiracists recognize how practices promote prejudice and power dynamics within politics, business, education, transportation and more.

A greater awareness of how unbalanced conditions can prevent certain ethnicities opportunities reveals how necessary it is to fight against injustices installed by legal or implicit means.

When people work together on systemic change by advocating for fairness in social structures they can help create an equitable environment where everyone has a chance at success regardless of their background.

This means pushing back against preconceived notions about entire groups being “inferior” due to skin tone or ethnicity and advocating for justice instead.

So if you’re an individual wanting to challenge racism today, start by seeing what kind of difference you can make with policies already in place before focusing on changing hearts and minds!

The Pernicious Effects Of Assimilationism And Segregationism On Racial Equality

Racists often make arguments that racial inequality is caused by an inferior Black culture.

This concept, of Black people as having culturally deficient behavior, has been around for a long time and is still cited today.

According to this form of racism, Black people need to change their values and behaviors in order to achieve equality with white people.

This viewpoint – known as “assimilationist racism” – is based on the faulty assumption that one race is better than another, and consequently puts forward the idea that the more “inferior” race needs to adjust its behavior and values according to those of the more “superior” one.

Assimilationists have a patronizing attitude towards people of color, treating them like children who do not know better.

At the same time, there are also those who advocate for segregationist policies which keep people of color separate rather than supporting any kind of cultural development program.

From their perspective, they believe it impossible for people of color ever reach the same level as white people and so suggest it makes more sense to keep them apart.

The third option lies with antiracists who reject both assimilationists’ views that Black culture should be changed in order to reduce inequality or segregationists’ views which seek to limit interaction between different races altogether.

Instead, antiracists accept that no race is any more deficient or superior than another but instead recognize that racial inequality can often be attributed to discriminatory policy decisions have kept some groups behind economically or physically excluded from certain areas due governments failing uphold justice for all citizens regardless of race.

Racism Has No Basis In Genetics Or Biology: We Are All The Same Underneath


The idea that there are meaningful genetic differences between the races is a form of racism.

It implies that certain groups of people are genetically superior or inferior to others.

This kind of thinking, known as biological racism, has been debunked by science for many years now.

Scientists have found that all humans share nearly the same exact amount of genetic material, with only 0.1% difference in our genetics depending on our ethnicity.

That means there are no racial genes; instead, people may be predisposed to certain physical features due to their ethnic backgrounds.

However, race itself is an illusion and it has no evolutionary basis.

In other words, it’s pointless and harmful to believe in the notion that one race is better or worse than another purely because of their genetics—it’s simply not true!

As How to Be an Antiracist author Ibram X Kendi explains: “Whenever we start judging and comparing individuals based on races’ alleged biological traits—whether allegedly large penises for Black men or broad noses for Black women—we buy into a false belief.

Races just don’t exist biologically.”

Fighting Colorism: Understanding How Skin Tone Discrimination Affects People Of Color

Racism isn’t just about race, it’s also present in the form of colorism.

Colorism is an insidious phenomenon that pits lighter and darker skin tones against each other while privileging those with lighter complexions.

This view of skin color is seen in many aspects of our lives, from who we vote for to what we consider attractive.

One example of colorism is the assumption that lighter skin colors are superior or more attractive than darker ones.

Kendi experienced this himself while he was still a college student when he wore colored contact lenses to make his eyes look lighter than their natural color – an implicit acknowledgement that light was better.

But now as an antiracist, he takes a critical look at why he subscribed to such beliefs in the first place.

Colorism perpetuates racist ideas about beauty and worthiness by asserting that white features are more desirable, hence why mainstream media bombards us with images of thin lips, pointed noses and light skin as ‘the ideal look’.

In such a climate it’s not surprising to learn that dark-skinned Black women suffer from lower self-esteem compared to their lighter-skinned counterparts because they don’t fit into these socially constructed standards of beauty.

In order to be a true advocate for change, one must recognize and fight colorist assumptions and beliefs within their own thinking and values in addition to advocating racial equality between different racial groups.

To truly eliminate racism, both types must be addressed jointly – only then will we see progress on all fronts towards equity and justice!

The Lesson Of Stacey Abrams: Racism Is Not Always Directed At African-Americans

Many people don’t realize that racist ideas about white people are still racism, even when they come from a Black point of view.

Stacey Kendi’s book “How To Be An Antiracist” explores this concept, drawing on his own experience with the teachings of the Nation of Islam in the late nineties.

According to those teachings, white people were a race created by an evil African scientist and then exiled to Europe.

In his view, this was an example of what would later be known as anti-white racism.

Kendi argues that while some may see this point of view as the legitimization of long-standing grievances against white people, it is still rooted in racist ideas about superiority and inferiority between races.

The problem, he notes, is that many still fail to recognize how deeply embedded these outdated views remain in our society today.

Antiracism means rejecting all racism towards any group – regardless of who is behind it or what its targets might be.

Racism rooted in ideas about white people’s inherent inferiority is still just that: racism, plain and simple.

The Impact Of Internalized Racism Among Black People: Power Structures And Antiracist Movements

Black People

It is simply not true to say that Black people can’t be anti-Black racist.

While incidents such as the one described above, in which an African American newspaper editor used a racial slur to describe other members of his own race, are shocking and hurtful, they are also indicative of the fact that African Americans can fall into the trap of internalized racism as well.

This internalization of racism occurs when Black people differentiate between so-called ‘respectable’ and ‘disreputable’ Black people, and can even take more subtle forms such as when third of African Americans agreed with the idea that lower-income black Americans were largely responsible for their own impoverished circumstances in a 2017 Pew Research Center survey.

In addition, some believe that because Black people don’t have sufficient power in an unequal society to be racist but this is disempowering as it denies people of color the ability to combat racism – something they may very well be capable of doing if they are in powerful positions.

It is undeniable that Black people are just as capable of expressing anti-Black racism as white people – and equally liable to do so if certain conditions remain pervasive within our society.

Racism Is Like Cancer: We Must Recognize And Defeat It To Achieve Lasting Change

In the United States, racism has been a threat ever since it was born and in many ways parallels a cancer: it is insidious, spreading through society and politics to blame victims of inequalities, elect demagogues and causing massive bloodshed.

Unfortunately, just as too many people are mistakenly in denial of their own illnesses, so too are far too many Americans when it comes to racism.

Despite evidence of ongoing racial inequality in our neighborhoods, workplaces and government policies, they simply refuse to admit that something needs to be done about it.

Yet we have cause for hope: if Kendi’s experience with stage-four colon cancer is anything to go by then we can overcome this insidious disease of racism.

Even when the odds seemed insurmountable he managed to beat his diagnosis– and so too can every antiracist keep on fighting for a better future where all people have access to justice and opportunities, no matter their race or background.

Wrap Up

In How to Be an Antiracist, the final summary is that being an antiracist means taking action to challenge inequality and racism in all its forms: explicit, implicit, and structural.

This means confronting and dismantling policies and ideas which bring out racial hierarchies, as well as recognizing harmful systems of power based on colorism and internalized racism.

Finally, it means recognizing the need for people from different backgrounds – black, white or any other race – to come together to fight against systemic oppression.

In short: no more racist attitudes or behavior allowed!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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