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Acknowledging Racism Is A Good Start. But It's Only The First Step.

President Donald Trump has called himself “the least racist person” in the world, while a 2018 poll found a majority of Americans consider him to be a racist.

Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, wants to have a different conversation. In his new book, “How to Be an Antiracist,” he proposes a new way of thinking about countering racism:

What’s the problem with being “not racist”? It is a claim that signifies neutrality: “I am not a racist, but neither am I against it.” But there is no neutrality in the racism struggle. The opposite of “racist” isn’t “not racist.” It is “antiracist.” What’s the difference? One either endorses 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 antiracist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist.

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We talk with Kendi about the importance of antiracism and the steps he suggests toward becoming an antiracist.


Ibram X. Kendi, Author, “How to Be an Antiracist” and “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America”; professor of history and founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University; @DrIbram

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