'Racism Is Death, Anti-Racism Is Life' Says Author Ibram Kendi : Life Kit

Author and renowned scholar Ibram Kendi's new book asks readers to examine their own relationship with race. NPR's Eric Deggans spoke with him about it.

10/25/2020 6:32:00 AM

Ibram X. Kendi: 'Life is about the choices that you make in any given moment. So, when you make a racist choice, you're being racist. When you choose in a particular moment to ... challenge that racist idea or policy, you're being anti-racist.'

Author and renowned scholar Ibram Kendi's new book asks readers to examine their own relationship with race. NPR's Eric Deggans spoke with him about it.

Author Ibram X. KendiStephen Voss/Courtesy of Ibram X. Kendihide captiontoggle captionStephen Voss/Courtesy of Ibram X. KendiIgnited by the killing of Black people like Floyd and Breonna Taylor by police, the international reckoning over civil rights and systemic racism led the world to look for authoritative voices who could explain it all. Kendi plunged into a blizzard of appearances and new opportunities, from starting a new Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University to discussing anti-racism with media queen Oprah Winfrey on her Apple TV+ show

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The Oprah Conversation."I feel like I was pulled into this tornado right at that time," Kendi says."[But], I'm a big, big basketball fan. And you know, [players] can't really get tired during the NBA finals. And for those of us who are doing racial justice work, these last few months, it's like we've been in the NBA finals the whole time."

As a response, Kendi has created a new companion book,. Filled with over 150 questions, prompts and quotes fromHow to Be Antiracist– with room for readers to write down answers and thoughts — the book encourages others to take their own journey toward anti-racism.

As a journalist who writes often on the intersection of race, media and society, I was eager to speak with Kendi about why he created this new book, how he has weathered the deluge of attention, and what he has learned from standing at the center of such a massive civil rights reckoning. (The following conversation has been edited for length and clarity.)

Penguin Random HouseYou got to sit down with Oprah; that's a rare opportunity for a public intellectual. What was that like, to see your message delivered at once to so many people on such a massive platform?Sitting in that chair talking to Oprah...I think that's when it all really sort of hit me. [I realized] precisely what was happening all around me, in terms of other people who had decided to turn to my book; folks who were really looking for what they should be in this moment. [They] were aware that racism was a problem, but were really seeking to ask the question,"OK, what now? What should I be doing now? What should our country be doing now? What should I be striving to be now?"

When did race come for you? Describe in detail your earliest memory when you saw the world through a racial lens.One of many prompts for self-reflection in Ibram Kendi's new book, Be AntiracistWhich led to. But you've already written a book called

How to Be An Antiracist. What's different about this one?One of the ways [readers] were able to really relate toHow To Be An Antiracistwas how deeply vulnerable I was in terms of reflecting on how I, as an individual, was upholding the system of racism. The book really took them on a journey. That led us to think, well, maybe we should write a tool so people can do just that; so people can literally, systematically take their own journey, as I took.

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You're saying the key is sustained effort – like you might put into regular exercise or a healthy diet. But you have to put that effort towards making anti-racist choices every day. Read more: NPR »

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Blah, blah, blah. AprilWMerritt1 Read Kendi’s book Stamped from the Beginning! You’ll be stunned at how thoroughly racist everyone including our founding fathers, Honest Abe, even the anti slavery crowd was all throughout our history! thanks npr, I needed a reminder to see Good Will Hunting again, where Robin Williams deals w such drivel as 'trust is life' in an appropriate manner

For a professional racist, kendi sure gets down on himself. Indeed, UCSF halved Asian American representation for incoming medical students. That is super racist UCSFMedicine Exactly. Stop making so many racist choices Kendi. In every discussion involving Kendi, from the Atlantic on down, it’s telling that not once does anyone seem genuinely impressed with his intellect.

was this article written by Barnard intern or computer 💾 Ok NPR 🤣 Inane. Where have the intellectuals gone in news outlets? The youngsters in charge are ill-seasoned virtue signalers. Dunning-Kruger all over again. Ahhh yes, Ibram X. Kendi, a refined intellectual, who is definitely not an authoritarian nor a bigot. NPR should continue to receive funding through all ages.

So chelseahandler telling 50cent to know his place as a black man was cool with ya’ll? Kendi seems like a Captain Obvious. Truly bizarre times when this delusional racist lectures a free society on his perceptions of everyone's else's racism. At last, someone who see BLM/CRT for what it is - a racist enterprise. I will join him in taking an anti racist stance and oppose wokeism

What does this even mean? Hey NPR, why not interview Coleman Hughes? I read Ibram Kendi’s book. When I finished it, I sat there and reflected on what I just read. My conclusion is that Ibram Kendi is a racist. This is the sort of idiotic nonsense that Trump disallowed to be called 'racial sensitivity' and used for training federal employees. This 'White Fragility', '1619 Project', 'Anti-racist' crap is a wedge to decide us. Do not fall for this garbage.

Well if this cat aint the dipshit of thought! You sound like you're speaking to a 13 year old. That's it, your 'followers' are nothing but 13 year old children and you've written nothing but children's books. Why does anyone think IXK is intelligent? When all you do is to try to spread division, your a race baiter.

NPR makes a racist choice by acknowledging this author’s drivel. realDonaldTrump Please defund NPR during your second term. What choice did Kendi make here? To be a moron? Defund NPR Kendi is a racist and a charlatan. So smart. How much time was spent of bret kavanagh year book compared to biden family laptop ? If a Vice President s family and business partners get sweet heart deals from US enemies and the VP 'fails' in negotiations. Would it be considered bribery+aiding the enemy ?

This kind of wisdom is *definitely* worth $20K for a one-hour Zoom call. And when you're making assumptions about me because I'm caucasian, you're being racist. I have nothing to do with what others like me, dead or alive, are doing, have done, or did in the past. In the end we're all responsible for ourselves and our own situations.

car talk and a way with words. occasionally fresh air. that is all. I choose to challenge Kendi’s ideas because they are racist. So he chose to be racist... Kendi, that swings both ways mate. Try applying your analysis to your own actions. Forget your hypocritical belief that black pple can't be racist as they have no institutional power, racism is racism no matter who does it.

Kendi is racist and is lost. DUH!!! Glenn Loury and Jason McWhorter you. I'm colorblind and non racist. That's enough. I don't want a racial conciousness, not about myself and not about others. Kendi can go and build his lebensraum elsewhere if he wants :P No. Using this quote for Kendi and his antiracism ideology is tantamount to lying. It is the opposite from his ideological beliefs.

Everyone should read (or listen to) coldxman's excellent review of Kendi's How to Be an Antiracist, and support him to get into a conversation with Kendi: Racism is not an issue in America for black people Democratic streets and abortion is what kills the most black people look who was in charge at the time of George Floyd's death Democrats have no problem sacrificing black lives on the street n order start a political and race war

Kendi has gerrymandered the definition of ‘racism’ to give people licence to be racist bigots. One of the most racist people on the planet 🤮 What a race profiteer. Comparing the police to slave overseers - complete bullshit Who ever empowered people with these ideas? Honestly. Was it like 'oh we'll just let this guy have his thing, no one will ever buy it'? It's become a modern day Frankenstein

I chose to not brush my teeth this evening. Was my choice racist or antiracism? According to the good doctor, there is no third classification, so... Kendi is a hack. These binaries are not necessary. Funny, that's precisely why I usually disagree with Kendi, his entire grift, and with CRT in general. DefundNPR

So why are so many blacks racist? I’m happy to see the impressive ratio of valid and critical responses to the promotion of Mr. Kendhi’s racist ideology by NPR in this thread. None of which would ever be included in one of their broadcasts. This is why I don’t listen to NPR anymore I like how this tautology is being couched as wisdom. Racism is racism, and not racism is not racism. Except... it's more nefarious than that, isn't it?

babbys first intellectualism Kendo is an evil crackhead Shame on you, NPR for promoting this drivel. If you get rich from racism, can you truly call yourself an antiracist? Kendi is a racist. Plain and simple. NPR is like evangelical Christian radio at this point. Is that quote actually from the book? Pretty obvious words no?

Like a white woman telling a black man who he’s allowed to vote for in America But HIS project is racist. Irony. It seems like all of Kendi's choices have been, and continue to be, racist. Why won't he challenge his own racist ideas? So.... Great. Life is a choice. That is an axiom. I tend to not make the racist choice, and get on with my life. Unlike some people, I have one.

This RACIST Professor has tenure...God help US! That's why America will be comes HATE nation on EARTH and war, death and hunger will be follow! 'Anti-racism based on purely emotional grounds will always find its ultimate expression in the form of riots. A rational anti-racism, however, must lead to the systematic legal fight against and the elimination of the prerogatives of the racist.' - Ibram X. Kendi

The Manichaean world-view has solved nothing; and never will. 🤮🤢 Sez the racist. Criminal that you're having him on taxpayer funded radio. Have Nick Fuentes if you're going to give platforms to views on each end of the spectrum. Your obvious tacit agreement with Kendi means you're unacceptably biased.

Are we all forgetting about the child porn on Hunter Biden's computer Yes Racism still exists, the only people who don't believe that have never experienced it, and are most likely racist themselves. They sometimes are just unaware of it. CRT is racist Am I racist if I prefer Indian culture - even though I was born and raised in North America? What if I DON’T like Indian stuff - even though my folks are Indian? Is that racist? 🤔😳🙄

Kendi should look in the mirror. DefundNPR He’s a moron. So. Where's Hunter? He should know! b1e56df9ce6549f And when you have two racist choices? Two rapist choices? Two anti-democracy choices? SwingGreen2020 MakeAmericaGreen Good to see NPR showing the right priorities in what they cover. 🙄🙄🙄 A “racist choice” is defined as: anything some brainwashed totalitarian cult member decided was problematic 15 minutes ago in order to cancel anyone not on board with the Neo-Marxist revolution.

I see racism everywhere... One thing for sure anti-racism is racism. NPR is now part of a cult. Taxpayers should NOT be funding a cult. DefundNPR SenTedCruz I still remind people of this. An actual white nationalist agreeing with him. Kendi is a racist and BLM is Marxist. New to anti-racism? Here's a cheat sheet!

I choose to challenge Kendi’s ideas, because they are racist Would love some examples of what common 'racist choices' would be.. Wow. Just...poetry. I did not realize that’s how, like, choosing things worked. What a dummy My tax dollars pay for this shit. DefundNPR Imagine living in a society that holds this person up as an 'intellectual'. Oh, wait

This makes no sense I’m feeling not anti-racist right now If there's one person who knows about racist choices, it's Ibram X. Kendi. 😂 Kendi defines “racist“ as anyone or anything that disagrees with his take on the subject. He also offer some super racist ideas under the guise of “anti-racism“ - for example, discrimination is hunky-dory with him as long as it’s done the right way. 🙄🙄 Pass.

DefundNPR 'If you don't agree with everything I say or refuse to pay for the guidance I provide, you're a racist.' Ibram Kendi “Antiracism” is simply another word for racism. Cultists Kendi’s opinion is truly useless. The press giving weight to the nonsense he spews is nauseating Well that just makes anyone who challenges your racist ideas anti-racist. Can't you just smell the irony?

Social Justice is institutional racism. Anti-racists are racists. Kind of funny how this hyper racial, actually segregationist 'activist movement' sprang up at the exact moment that real equality had been achieved, eh? This is a grift, and the people pushing it are charlatans. That includes you, NPR. This sophist is a walking contradiction

Wannabe tribalist leader promoting segregation and suspicion and hue between groups? Destroy America to promote his career. Racism is sooo engrained in our culture. From pancake syrup to football teams. It’s going to take as many years to make it go away This is racist crap. And that is exactly why we all must condemn Kandi and his racism. Love it when things come full circle

NPR (National Propaganda Radio) selling white racism as usual. Probably intentional, but maybe it's just virtue signaling. Given the presence of so many Jewish editors, and etc. (a tiny 2% presence in US society), and given Jewish hatred of white 'gentiles' it may be intentional. You are hurting the actual cause you claim to care about with this crap. More people are turning to their racial camps because of this garbage

Defund racist NPR. Racism is taught and you are teaching it. This man contradicts himself 27 times just getting up to go to the bathroom. This man gets paid tens of thousands of dollars to say this. That’s absolutely ridiculous He's the same guy that wants to change the Constitution and add a 'Department of Anti-racism' that gets to decide who is racist and arrest them. For example, I'd get taken away for posting this Tweet, probably.

Critical race theory is racism in a different box. It hides the hood and uses a suit, PHd, and sharp young instead. It relies on weak minded guilty white people to police each other like North Korea. I choose every day to love white people Agree completely. It's why I absolutely reject Critical Race Theory, and and all of it's racist proponents. Including Ibram Kendi.

*unfollows NPR* Have had really quite enough of this privileged man's comments on my adoptive family. I guess in this particular moment Kendi must have chosen to be racist: This guy is a racist, he has a right to be, but the fact that he is incoherent should mean npr shouldn't cover him. DoBetter npr Perhaps Kendi should heed his own words.

🙄 NPR and all its staff are racist. Kendi is a total and complete racist. He is a snake oil salesman and he has Liberals licking his boots When you race bait, you are being a race baiter. When you fight against race baiting, you are being a sane person. If you read his book it's just this basic statement over and over and over except for every category.

This is absolute nonsense. This CNN level silliness. Get your act together NPR. Be anti-racist: challenge Ibram Kendi DrIbram The master of false dichotomy and reductive binaries. Not every choice falls into the category of racist or anti-racist. Some choices are simply not racist. What a total charlatan. It's a scathing indictment on our intellectual classes that they fall for his nonsense.

Deep. Very deep. So, you're promoting racists now. Good to know. Thankfully many people are choosing to stand up and call out Kendi’s wildly inflammatory and racist teachings. Anti-racism is just racism with extra steps. Such a one in a generation talent that Henry is. Why anyone gives this idiot any credence at all is worrying. He's got the critical thought capability of a 6yr old...

The only way to be 'anti-racist' is to be racist. defund NPR. i can't believe my tax money is going to this absolute garbage It takes one person to make a difference, be that person. Staying silent make you complicit. My favorite thing about this is the sense of profoundness.Then I think for a second and realize 'what if you do neither, then what are you?' and it instantly blows up this logically deprived structure. You can just not be racist. Don't need to die hair pink and burn WholeFoods

hes a racist! i could care less what that American hating person wants to say even though hes entitled to cause America is the best country in the world Also 'Amy Coney Barrett is a white Colonizer' I choose to scoff at any idiot who throws a gratuitous ‘X’ into his name. HefMarks Also teaching your kids early on about racism and how no one person or race or nationality is better or more important than the other. It feels like child abuse, people who poison their children with hatred.

NPR you sold your soul coldxman said it best when he described DrIbram as a true totalitarian. No one should take his nonsense seriously. Isn’t this the guy who said Amy Barrett only adopting children as a means of colonizing them? If so, no reason to take him seriously on anything, ever unless you’re being racist

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