Words To Ponder …

Ibram-X-KendiMost every one of us would say, if asked, that we are not racist.  We don’t think of Black people as intellectually inferior as our ancestors did, we don’t see them as someone to be feared or hated simply based on skin colour.  We have spoken out for equal rights for Blacks and other minorities, defend equal voting rights, housing rights, and employment rights for all.  But, is there a difference between being ‘not racist’ and being ‘antiracist’?  Dr. Ibram X. Kendi thinks there is, and after listening to him explain last night, I’m inclined to agree.

Dr. Kendi is an author, historian, and scholar of race and discriminatory policy in the U.S.  He currently serves as director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, and previously held the same position at the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at the American University.  I have read one of his books, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, and am hoping to read his next to latest, How to be an Antiracist, for which he won the 2016 National Book Award for Non-Fiction.  He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2019, as well as numerous other awards and honours.

In the U.S. today, in light of the recent killings of innocent, unarmed black people by police, the Black Lives Matter movement is more widespread than at any other time.  Unfortunately, it has taken a back seat to such matters as the upcoming election and the coronavirus pandemic, but still, many more people are, it seems, becoming aware of the systemic racism that never went away in this country.  And now, we have a president who would re-write the history of our nation to eliminate such dark eras as slavery, making it more important than ever that we stand up, that we do not allow the darkest days of our history to be whitewashed, but that we own them and learn from them.

I’d like to direct you to the clip my friend Herb sent me last night that I found thought-provoking, and that made me take a closer look within my own self.  This is a 12-minute clip from a June interview of Dr. Kendi with Stephen Colbert, where Colbert steps outside his jokester persona and asks serious, intelligent questions of Dr. Kendi.  Please take the time to watch, listen, and think about Dr. Kendi’s words.

What did you think?  Did it make you stop and ponder a bit?  If you’re interested in Dr. Kendi and his work, please check out his website.

13 thoughts on “Words To Ponder …

  1. “How to be an Antiracist” was on the Coffee & Politics Book Club several months ago and I highly recommend the book to all. In conjunction with that book we also shared the March 2020 book “Stamped : Racism, Antiracism and You – A Remix of the National Book Award-winning Stamped From The Beginning” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. This book is geared to the younger reader, but is also good for adults…especially those who prefer the 300+ pages of this as compared to the 600+ pages of the original that you read! I enjoyed the informative video! Thank-you!

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    • I am hoping to read that one next month … after I finish the 6 books I am currently reading!!! Why, oh why do I do this to myself??? I’m glad you enjoyed the video … so did I … it made me want to hear more from him!


    • Agreed. I would like to see his books become required reading at the high school level. If every young person read his work, we might actually stand a chance at ridding our society of racism in another generation or two. Have you read any of his books? I would offer to send you one I’ve already read, but I know from past experience that the postage would be more than the price of the book!

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  2. Thanks for sharing. He is a voice of reason and insight. His point is excellent. The people who are concerned are the ones who question remarks they made. The ones, like the president, who say and do racist things, then say they aren’t racist are missing the boat. I would add, there is a percentage of Americans, it could be 5% or 10% who are blatant racists. These are the folks we seem larger in number with their expansive vitriol. We need to be vigilant to not let their numbers get larger influencing impressionable and disillusioned youth to join their groups. Keith

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