BUILD Initiative Blog | Dismantling Racism with Dr. Ibram X. Kend
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Dismantling racism at the personal, institutional, and structural levels is an ongoing process. Dr. Ibram X Kendi, a leading voice for equity, is our QRIS 2020 plenary speaker, to support all our efforts to dismantle racism. Dr. Kendi believes that, "Being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination.” If you haven’t found Dr. Kendi on your social media feed or morning TV yet, get up to speed with some of the compelling articles and podcasts below.

Make sure your register for QRIS 2020 to save your seat at Dr. Kendi’s plenary on how to be an anti-racist leader in early childhood systems.


About Dr. Ibram Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi is a New York Times bestselling author and the Founding Director of The Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University in Washington, DC. A professor of history and international relations, Kendi is a contributor at The Atlantic and CBS News. He is the author of The Black Campus Movement, which won the W.E.B. Du Bois Book Prize, and Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction. At 34 years old, Kendi was the youngest ever winner of the NBA for Nonfiction. He grew up dreaming about playing in the NBA (National Basketball Association), and ironically he ended up joining the other NBA.

His third book, How to be an Antiracist, was published on August 13, 2019 by One World, an imprint of Random House. It debuted at No. 2 on The New York Times Bestseller List. His next book, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, will be released on March 10, 2020. It is the much anticipated remix of Stamped From the Beginning for young people, written by New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds. On June 16, 2020, Kendi’s first board book, Antiracist Baby, is set for publication.

Suggested Reading and Audio

“All policies, even the most trivial, are either racist or anti-racist, he argues — they support equity or they don’t. A do-nothing approach to climate change is racist because climate change overwhelmingly affects people of color on the planet. Forgiving student debt and offering universal health care would be anti-racist policies because people of color are more likely to have student debt or lack health care, so those policies would lessen if not erase those inequities.”

“I think that, again, that is based on this definition that a racist has racist bones in their body, a racist has a racist heart. But I don't really define racist at all by intent. I define it based on what a person is saying. The idea - is this idea connoting hierarchy or equality? And I define a policy based on its effect, purely and simply. And so if the effect of a policy is an injustice or an inequity, it's racist. And I think journalists can do that. You know, if someone says, this is what's wrong with black people, they can say, that idea is racist. If a policy is leading to inequity, they can call that policy racist. We no longer, the way we should be defining racist and antiracist, have to worry at all about intent.”

“Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism—and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At its core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.”

“In our third stop of the Fall tour, Nikole Hannah-Jones, the architect behind The 1619 Project, and Ibram Kendi, author of “How To Be an Antiracist,” join Chris Hayes to examine the 400-year legacy of slavery in America. Together they examine the sinister discrepancy between the history of this nation as it *was* and the history of this nation as we are taught it, and discuss what that history then demands from us in this moment.”

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