Author: Ibram X. Kendi
How to be anti-racist. Kendi 2019 In How to Be an Anti-Racist, Ibram Candy takes a detailed look at racism in all its manifestations. A professor at Boston University draws on the history of racial oppression and his personal experience to help readers decide for themselves whether they are racists or anti-racists; There is no third.
Using the example of the United States, an African-American professor clearly shows that racism is created by politicians in power, and not supposedly ignorant people. If we discard the racist ideas imposed above, then inequality will disappear and strangers will become friends.
However, Candy realizes the scale of the problem. He criticizes not only the authorities but also himself since he himself is in a constant struggle with his racist beliefs. That is why the author carefully selects definitions and examples, and examines racism as a phenomenon in detail, in order to give balanced advice at the end on how everyone can contribute to the victory over racism. Candy pins her hopes on the joint efforts of people. This is the only way to achieve a change in racist politics and achieve a beautiful future.
bicolor rainbow(how to be anti-racist)
Where did racism start?
The history of racism began around the 15th century with the idea that one group of people is somehow worse than another group. After the arrival of the white man in Africa, the fact of the existence of different races – “good” and “bad” – became a persistent myth that survived more than one generation.
Before Spain and Portugal divided the world in half 1 , Arab traders plied the seas. They traded in the slave trade, but they never had the thought to distinguish between who deserves captivity and who does not. Everyone was imprisoned in shackles: Africans, Europeans, Arabs …
However, the Portuguese prince Henry the Navigator from an early age set the goal of enslaving the Black Continent. Thanks to his voyages, the Kingdom of Portugal, bypassing the Arabs, found a new way to supply forced labor. In the process, Henry created a different kind of slavery – the subjugation of exclusively black people.
Chronicler Heinrich Zurara described his campaigns in racial terms, the various peoples of Africa mixing into a single mass of blacks. He sidestepped the mercenary motives of the Navigator and described the Portuguese voyages as a noble enterprise to captivate “savages worthy of slavery”, which set the “fashion” for the entire era of the Great Geographical Discoveries.how to be anti-racist
When two or more groups find themselves in unequal conditions, this is not a historical given, but the result of a long racial policy. It is often hidden behind misleading phrases such as institutional, systemic, or structural racism, which remove responsibility from the authorities.
Racism is a combination of racist politics 2 and racist ideas that leads to and normalizes racial inequality.how to be anti-racist
The victory over racism is not a matter of one day, so you need to stock up on precise definitions that describe the phenomenon in all its diversity. This is the only way to confront racists who tend to constantly deny their racism. Due to inaccurate definitions, it is constantly changing and difficult to fix.
US President Donald Trump is known for his racist statements, such as characterizing African states as shithole countries. Nevertheless, the president regularly repeats that he is not a racist.how to be anti-racist
When someone claims that they are not racist or that the term offends them, they are trying to avoid taking sides. However, if a person passively observes the oppression of some groups by others, he becomes an accomplice in the process, and therefore a racist.
An anti-racist supports an anti-racist policy of (no) action or expresses an anti-racist idea.how to be anti-racist
Racist ideas lead to discrimination. Nevertheless, discrimination can also be positive if it is aimed at temporary assistance to disadvantaged citizens in order to restore equality between them.
In 2014, 71% of white families owned a home, according to Stanford University. At the same time, only 45% of Hispanic families and 41% of African Americans could boast the same.how to be anti-racist
Racism is not a sentence. Everyone is free to choose whether to be a racist or an anti-racist. To do this, you need, first of all, to know the history of racism and be able to notice and describe it in all its manifestations.
The task of any anti-racist is to liberate oppressed groups. This is often hindered by the “split personality” inherent in many people, which determines modern racist politics. On the one hand, the racist wants to help the Negroes, these “noble savages,” 3 grow up to the ideal criteria he (the racist) has set. On the other hand, racial minorities frighten him, so racist logic suggests that he needs to isolate himself from them.
Two types of racists
There are two most common types of racists:
1. Assimilationists express the idea that one racial group is lagging behind another and support cultural-behavioral enrichment programs designed to help these groups develop. In fiction, the assimilationist approach has been characterized as “the burden of the white man” 4 , when the noble colonizer is “forced” to seize new territories in order to continue to carry the beacon of civilization to the dark, unenlightened corners of the globe.
Prior to the American Civil War (1861–1865), which marked, among other things, the official abolition of slavery in America, the effects of oppression on slaves were debated by representatives of two strands of assimilationism. The first group, the progressive assimilationists, advocated the preservation of slavery, since it introduced blacks to certain benefits of civilization. The second, the abolitionists, spoke from progressive positions, arguing that slavery awakens the worst traits in blacks, and therefore it should be banned.how to be anti-racist
The debate between the two currents of assimilationism continues today, but the basic message remains the same: minorities are like children. Only a few of them can show certain talents, and the rest will not be able to grow up to the racist ideal on their own, so they need help.
The author’s parents have always emphasized the good education of their son. Without realizing it, they were guided by racist ideas that blacks are by nature lazy, so little Ibram should make every effort to achieve the same as his white peers.how to be anti-racist
2. Segregationists express the idea that some racial groups will always lag behind others and no social advancement programs will help them. Segregationists support a policy of forced segregation of groups along racial lines.
US President Ronald Reagan’s (1981–1989) aggressive anti-drug policy was at the intersection of segregationism and assimilationism. Reagan continued the course of his predecessors, causing the number of American prisoners to quadruple (from 1980 to 2000). However, if blacks and whites serve approximately the same terms in prisons on average (58.7 months and 61.7 months, respectively), then the number of blacks and Hispanics sent to an American prison for 2016 is 56%, while the number of white prisoners is thirty %. When you consider that Hispanics and African Americans are no more than 23% of the US population, and the percentage of white Americans is about 60, there is a clear disparity when prisons are used to forcefully separate groups.how to be anti-racist
Although America is known as the melting pot of nations, institutional and individual racism hinders the development of the nation. As a result, most Americans silently tolerate assimilationist programs that humiliate certain groups of people or turn a blind eye to the division of urban areas into rich “white areas” and less prosperous “black neighborhoods”, Chinatowns. Racism in America today lurks around every corner, and eradicating it requires intense introspection, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.
The many faces of racism
Types of racism
After getting acquainted with the important definitions and descriptions of the two types of racists, it is necessary to dwell on the types of racism in more detail. The transformation from racist to anti-racist implies, among other things, an understanding of racism at the biological, behavioral, ethnocultural, spatial, class and gender levels.
- ethnocultural racism. Spreaders of ideas and policies of racism set a certain cultural standard, imposing a cultural hierarchy between racial groups.
In Aesop’s fable 5 , the wandering Man and the Lion argue over who is stronger. Along the way, they come across a statue depicting a man strangling a lion. The man rejoices: in his opinion, the argument is over. However, Leo objects: if he knew how to erect statues, a person would be depicted under the paw of a lion.how to be anti-racist
Even racial minorities are often subject to racist perceptions of each other, as ethnic racists promote inequality between racially defined ethnic groups.
In 1996, an article in The Economist highlighted an interesting fact: statistically, black immigrants to the United States fared much better than American-born African Americans. Assimilationists have found a clue: Black immigrants are much more motivated than their African-American counterparts.how to be anti-racist
This phenomenon is called “migrant advantage”, when the most stubborn and large representatives of their states come to work from another country. If a racist asks why a visiting black earns more than an African American, then an anti-racist should point out that, on average, black immigrants are inferior to other groups of migrants in terms of income.how to be anti-racist
The black population should not be mistaken: if they have less power than whites, this does not mean that they do not have it at all. Where there is power, there is oppression. Therefore, no African American can claim to be non-racist.
From 1870 to 2018, there were more than 156 black members of the US Congress, and in 2008, the first black US president, Barack Obama, was elected. Nevertheless, African Americans continue to play the “powerless defense” card, as if they do not control the events taking place in the country. However, they will only truly lose all power when everyone believes that it is exclusively in the hands of whites, as it was before the abolition of slavery in the United States in 1865.how to be anti-racist
- visual biological racism. Racists often spread pseudo-scientific ideas about the biological differences between races, which allows them to build a hierarchy of the value of some groups over others. In American society, to justify such ideas, the image of an animal-like Negro has been entrenched. According to this logic, the lighter his skin, the more human he is.
To confirm the thesis about the savagery of the Negro, one does not need to spend years on field research or sit for months at the microscope, it is enough just to look at the Bible through the eyes of a racist. The Holy Scriptures say that one of Noah’s sons, Ham, “saw the nakedness” of his drunken father and thereby sinned. For this, Noah cursed Ham’s son, Canaan, to be “a slave of servants to his brothers.” Then, in the 16th century, this plot was used as a “historical” argument confirming the predestination of the enslavement of the Black Continent by Europeans. Since then, everyone from Christopher Columbus to Charles Darwin held similar views on the biological differences between races. In the end, the ideas of polygenism 6 and natural selection resulted in eugenics 7 , the provisions of which the Nazis used to justify the Holocaust.how to be anti-racist
According to the author, people are born with heredity, but their race is “assigned” to them by society. The anti-racist is aware that the biological differences of races are negligible, but he does not forget how they are used to perpetuate social inequality.
Large slaveholders more often preferred that lighter blacks work in the house, and blacks worked in the fields. Today, a similar artificial hierarchy among the black population is maintained by racists of all stripes.how to be anti-racist
- behavioral racism. The cradle of racism is a combination of biology and behavior, but just as race does not exist biologically, so it is not determined by someone’s mode of action. Nevertheless, racists hold the individual responsible for the intended behavior of racial groups, and vice versa.
When Ibram could not cope with his studies, mom and dad reproached him that “Martin Luther King 8 is turning over in his grave because his legacy is being trampled on.” They were afraid that their son would follow the “trodden path of lazy blacks.” It never occurred to the boy’s parents that he might not have a penchant for a particular subject. Moreover, the problem may not be in the traits of individuals that are attributed to the entire race at once, but in the results of racist policies that continue to limit the black population.how to be anti-racist
On the other hand, racism is supported by certain behaviors. Such actions are usually called macro or microaggression. However, it is better to avoid newfangled concepts that distract from the main problem – racism in society.
A white woman instinctively grabs her bag if she rides next to a Mexican. On a crowded bus, no one takes a seat next to a black man. Black kids running down the street are reason enough to call the police… According to psychologist Derald Win Sue, these are manifestations of microaggressions – short daily remarks or actions that send humiliating signals to certain people because of their membership in a group.how to be anti-racist
- Spatial racism. This is a powerful racist policy leading to inequality of resources between racial spaces9 or to the elimination of these spaces. In its most extreme form, such segregationist policies can lead to dire consequences, such as the destruction of Jewish ghetto residents by the Nazis. Ibram never perceived his area as a black dangerous space. He just knew which side streets to avoid. But the boy was very surprised that his friends from Long Island, an average richer and “whiter” area, were afraid to go to visit Ibram. But the dependence of danger on racial geography is ambiguous: in predominantly African American Harlem 10 you may one day get robbed, and in some white-collar neighborhoods you can lose much more money due to the actions of experienced scammers.
However, in the anti-racist understanding of space, some separation is possible and even necessary, if only as a temporary measure to eliminate inequality.
Martin Luther King is worried that despite the positive effects of integration, whites continued to perceive blacks as unworthy. Therefore, he insisted that as long as the majority of the white population remained in the captivity of racial prejudice, African American children should not be allowed to be taught exclusively by whites. According to King, such people will raise a new racist generation.how to be anti-racist
- class racism. Usually, racists perceive the classes of society in racial categories, support the policy of racial capitalism in relation to these classes, and justify it based on racist ideas. If poor people are a class, then poor blacks are already a race.
In college, the author encountered the result of class and spatial racism. To get into exam preparation courses, Ibram had to travel from his traditionally “black” campus to a historically “white” college. In class, he was the only black student.
Since such courses are in demand primarily among whites and Asians, the training centers are located far from places where blacks usually live. In addition, classes are quite expensive, and the exam is difficult, so it is much more likely that ambitious children from wealthy fair-skinned families will become clients.how to be anti-racist
Racism has been so entrenched in American society (and, perhaps, throughout the world) that today the black elite look at disadvantaged blacks in much the same way that light-skinned racists look at all blacks.
Despite the fact that the world’s “colored” middle class has grown significantly since the 1960s, the global gap between the richest “white” and the poorest “black” regions has tripled.how to be anti-racist
- Gender racism is a powerful racist policy that leads to inequality between races-genders 11. This is not only about inequality between women and men, but also about the imbalance of power between gender identities (cisgender, transgender 12, etc.). The interpretation of gender through the concept of race replenishes the treasury of the successes of racism.
Gender racism hinders women’s struggle for rights. The image of an unchaste dark-skinned nymphomaniac created by a patriarchal society mutually determines the opposite female role – a frigid white nun.
For a long time, a black woman was portrayed in culture as unworthy of rape, so a light-skinned woman, on the contrary, was considered an ideal victim (however, the absence of significant references to the sexual abuse of black women does not reduce the number of incidents; the culture silences them, which is exploited by both white and black rapists).
As a result, racism hiders gender equality everywhere. For example, one possible reason why Hillary Clinton lost the US presidential race is her inadequacy of the idea of a weak white woman.how to be anti-racist
With the development of history, racism has ceased to be the domain of the white man and is now reproduced by all who have power: from white teachers to black judges.
Racists interpret the world in such a way that inequality is perpetuated in society at all levels: from gender to class. But then the question arises: if the traditions of racism are so ingrained, is it even possible to defeat racial inequality?
Racist politics give rise to racist ideas, which are reinforced not so much by ignorance as by the vested interests of individuals. When you know what racism is and where it can be found, all that remains is to enter into a vigorous struggle with it.
The must activist have a track record with examples of changing policy or power.how to be anti-racist
There are two most effective methods of anti-racist activism:
- Demonstration – instant mobilization of people to give the public problem. However, if the authorities are not afraid of bad PR, they will simply dismiss the demonstration.
- A protest is an organization of people for a sustained campaign that will force a racist government to change policy. This method is somewhat more complex and aims for a long-term result.
At first, you can be quite successful as an anti-racist without joining a group. This requires several sequential steps to be taken:
1. Refuse defensive denials of “I’m not a racist”, “I can’t be a racist” and .2. Recognize the definition of a racist as a person who supports (does not reject) racist policies and expresses racist ideas.
3. Confess about racist policies supported and racist ideas expressed.
4. Accept the source of racism – being born into a nation that educates racists.
5. Recognize the definition of anti-racist.
6. Attempt to become part of an anti-racist authority or strive for an anti-racist policy (publicly donate time, or non-publicly spend money to promote anti-racist authorities and policies or become part of anti-racist organizations, protests, etc.).
7. Try to overcome racism where it is combined with other prejudices: ethnic, bodily, cultural, color, class, spatial, and gender.
8. Strive to think in anti-racist terms.
However, large-scale success requires significant effort, so it may be necessary to study the strategy for anti-racism teams:
- Recognize that racial inequality is not due to bad people but too bad policies.
- Find racial inequality in all its manifestations and in related areas.
- Investigate and denounce racist policies that lead to racial inequality.
- Create or find anti-racist policies that eliminate racial disparities.
- Recognize who or what group can set an anti-racist policy.
- Speak publicly about discovered racist policies and anti-racist policy changes.
- Collaborate with sympathetic anti-racist government officials to establish appropriate policies.
- Use anti-racist power to win over non-sympathetic racist politicians to the anti-racist side or to disempower them.
- Keep a close eye on how anti-racism policies reduce inequality.
- When policies don’t work, don’t blame people, but try again to find other effective anti-racism measures that will work.
- Keep a close eye on society to prevent new racist political measures.
If you accept your racism and strive for anti-racism, you can achieve incredible results. Although the US example is unique in its own way, the above tips can be implemented in any country. There will be no inequality in the distant anti-racist world, so any problem, whether it be climate change or mass starvation, will be solved together without the inhibiting racist authorities and ideas.
Top 10 Thoughts
1. If groups find themselves in unequal conditions – this is not a historical fact, but the result of a long racial policy.
2. Racism is a combination of racist policies and racist ideas that leads to and normalizes racial inequality. Today, racism is characteristic not only of a white person but also of everyone who has power: from white teachers to black judges.
3. Racists are often in denial about their racism, so it’s hard to pin down.
4. Racists make individuals responsible for the intended behavior of racial groups and vice versa.
5. There are two types of racists: the assimilationist wants to help racial minorities “grow up” to the ideal he created, and the segregationist seeks to isolate himself from the “incorrigible savages.”
6. The anti-racist understands racism at the biological, behavioral, ethnocultural, spatial, class and gender levels.
7. Despite the insignificance of the biological differences of races, the anti-racist does not forget how they are used to reinforce social inequality.
8. The anti-racist sees the poor as a class, the racist sees the poor as a race.
9. The task of any anti-racist is to liberate oppressed groups.
10. The most powerful form of anti-racist activism is a prolonged protest, but a momentary demonstration can also have the effect of changing racist policies.
1. Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) – an agreement between Spain and Portugal on the division of spheres of influence in the world.
2. Politics – (un)written laws, rules, procedures, prescriptions, instructions that govern the people.
3. An artistic character, especially popular in the literature of the Enlightenment (XVII century). Demonstrates the natural goodness of the savage before his contact with civilization.
4. The title of a poem by the English poet Rudyard Kipling, which has become a household name for the noble mission of the imperialists in the colonies.
5. The legendary ancient Greek poet-fabulist.
6. Polygenism is a doctrine that affirms the independent origin of human races from different species or considers such races as separate species. “Survival of the fittest” is an aphorism popularized by the English naturalist and traveler Charles Darwin.
7. The doctrine of human selection, as well as ways to improve its hereditary properties.
8 Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1961) – a famous fighter for the civil rights of blacks, a Baptist preacher.
9. Spaces (districts, streets, houses) are perceived through racist ideas about these spaces.
10. Harlem is an area in the northern part of the New York borough of Manhattan, known as the area where African Americans live.
11. Gender – a spectrum of characteristics related to masculinity and femininity.
12. Cisgender, transgender – people whose gender identity does not match the biological sex.