âThereâs nothing â from the message and the language and the vocabulary of this kind of book â that canât help me understand that better.â, Moreover, the example of a black man going first in a prospective communal racial confessional â and this black manâs conception of racism as a curable condition rather than a damnation for all time â seemed to encourage white listeners to look inward. Meet the historian whoâs asking America to rethink the very nature of bigotry â and how to fight it. Instead, Kendi went to another school, where his third-grade teacher was white, and he engaged in his first anti-racist protest: After the teacher ignored the raised hand of one of his black classmates, and called on a white student yet again, Ibram sat in the schoolâs chapel and refused to return to class. âWe know how to pretend to be not racist. Both rose from poverty to the new black middle class and had been inspired by the Black Power movement of the 1960s. Activist and writer Shaun King was seated beside Kendi at the front of the sanctuary to lead the conversation. Ibram asked with uncomfortable directness. What Do Native Americans Want From a President? âI think itâs a wonderful innovation. BU’s endowed Mellon Professorship has been held by only one other person in the University’s history: Elie Wiesel, the late Holocaust survivor and 1986 Nobel Peace Prize laureate who fought for decades for human rights around the world and who died in 2016. He co-edits the Black Power Series at NYU Press with historian Ashley Farmer. Because I know I needed this book when I was 30, when I was 25 ... and I could even still use this book today.â. ... Iâm not sure if it would work. How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi (One World, 320 pp., $27.00). ... Saturate the body politic with the chemotherapy or immunotherapy of antiracist policies that shrink the tumors of racial inequities, that kill undetectable cancer cells.â. How hard it is to grow up in a racist society, where racist ideas are constantly being rained on your head, and never get wet.â Thatâs why, he concluded, the book is âfor people who think somebody else could use it instead of them. âIbram represents a generation that I see myself as part of where we take our ideas in a number of places and we take the feedback from a number of audiences, and we really struggle and grapple with how our work isnât just confined by the traditions of academia, but is really defined by its ability to resonate in peopleâs lives and help them to move closer to the types of worlds that people have long imagined but never realized.â. âYes, they are inferior, but [itâs] because of what theyâre experiencing, the racism theyâre experiencing, so thatâs why you need to fight racism!âââ, Kendi calls this the âoppression-inferiority thesisâ â the often well-meaning but always destructive idea that mass oppression must manifest itself somehow in defective group behavior, hence the pitiable group must be championed. âWeâll never forget that Saturday morning we put the tape in and watched him,â Larry Rogers, Ibramâs father, told me recently. âWhat led me to his work was the belief that what I offered to my students had to be more than what I was giving them now,â said Tamika Golden, a high school English teacher in Brooklyn who uses âStamped From the Beginningâ in her classes. He has also resided at The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress as the American Historical Association’s 2010-2011 J. Franklin Jameson Fellow in American History. He could continue to write, lecture, run the Antiracist Center, as long as he would listen to her on the occasions she detected he was pushing himself too hard. Ibram H. Rogers has grown up to be Ibram X. Kendi, 37, a leading voice among a new generation of American scholars who are reinvestigating â and redefining â racism. At 34 years old, Kendi was the youngest ever winner of the NBA for Nonfiction. We donât need anyone making us look bad, Sadiqa replied. But once we convince ourselves that America can never heal itself from racism, then racism will persist and, I suspect, eventually destroy this country.â. His GPA was below 3.0; his SAT scores were just above 1000. They held court in one of the common areas during study breaks and sent him scurrying to bookshelves for works by Audre Lorde, Bell Hooks and KimberlÃ© Crenshaw. ― Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist. In studying the history of racist ideas, Kendi has found the same person saying racist and anti-racist things in the same speech. âBut that gets the chain of events exactly wrong,â Kendi writes. He dated a light-skinned woman, until he realized what a warped sensation this was causing among some of his friends, who wished they were dating light-skinned women, too. In 2013, he changed his middle name from Henry to Xolani (meaning "Peace" in Zulu) and surname from Rogers to Kendi when he wed Dr. Sadiqa Kendi, a pediatric emergency physician from Albany, Georgia. As for where racism comes from: A popular explanation for the genÂesis of racism assumes that peopleâs ignorance and hatred harden into racist ideas, which lead to racist policies. To be antiracist is to conquer the assimilationist consciousness and the segregationist consciousness. ... Maybe too much damage has already been done, too much ignorance that would be very difficult to eradicate through anti-racist policies.â Still, she is proud of her âbrilliantâ former student: âHis work is important. Sadiqa Kendi, his wife, a pediatric emergency medicine doctor at Childrenâs National Hospital in Washington, kept watch to see that at least he didnât work himself to death. Named to Time 100’s Most Influential People of 2020. They found out after he won one of the early rounds and they got a videotape of his performance. He dropped her and vowed to date only dark-skinned women â until he realized this was an equally twisted obsession, driven by racist colorism. (The fact that the public school he represented, Stonewall Jackson High School, was named for a Confederate general was one of those ironies that, in the moment, was too deep to dwell on.) Kendi strives to be a hardcore antiracist and softcore vegan. After six months of chemotherapy, at the end of summer 2018, surgeons removed tissue in which pathologists found no cancer cells. She listened quietly until Kendi wheeled into a riff about how there are only two explanations for a racial inequity such as black unemployment being significantly higher than white unemployment: âEither thereâs something wrong with black workers â [which is a] racist idea â or thereâs something happening to black workers as they move into the job marketâ â i.e., racist policies. As committed Christians, they were steeped in black liberation theology. Reflecting on the shame he felt at his words, he realized that the best way to communicate his newest message would be to hold out his journey as an example. Kendiâs ideas â that few, if any, are free of racism; that we should confess to our own racism as a first step toward becoming anti-racist; that racism begins not with the prejudice of individuals but with the policies of political and economic power â are bracing and challenging. âI canât necessarily call myself a survivor as much as Iâm surviving it,â Kendi told me. âBut when you look at radical thought, when you look at progressive thought, when you look at liberal thought, there are prevailing racist ideas that people are not confronting. But Iâm a nice person, so Iâll respond at least.â So I responded and we ended up going back and forth on Match and communicating there for a little while. There was one more detail to take care of, another case of life and work merging: During his painstaking hunt for the origin and effect of every racist idea he could find, Kendi had discovered that perhaps the first racist idea â grouping all Africans as a single, inferior people â is contained in the 1453 biography of arguably the first racist, Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal, who was the first European to orchestrate a slave-trade that exclusively targeted Africans. In college at Florida A&M, he wore honey-colored contact lenses for a time, until he realized this was a form of racism, privileging a look associated with another race. New Book ~ Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019. While Kendi was in high school, his family moved from Jamaica, Queens, to Manassas, Virginia. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research.Kendi is a contributor writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News Racial Justice Contributor. I think even the book got better after his diagnosis,â says Kendiâs wife, Sadiqa. âHe was upset, but he listened,â she said. I think a lot of times we think about this as the work for other people, specifically white people, and I recognize that this work is for all people.â. Kendi has been visiting professor at Brown University, a 2013 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow, and postdoctoral fellow at the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis. Prince Henry for years afterward, he doesnât acknowledge ânot racistâ as a idea... Chicago as a short-term Fellow in African American crowd respond with such enthusiasm âWell... More about Puff Daddy than they know about me his marathon tour for âHow to be an Antiracist â. 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