Recommended Reading: How to be an Antiracist

 Topic: Recommended Reading: How to be an Antiracist

Today we are talking about the nonfiction book How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, published 2019.

First of all, I cannot recommend this book enough; it is well-written and teaches you to examine racism with a critical eye and identify racist ideas you may find within yourself as well as out in the world. This is going to be one of those books that we discuss more than once, because there are some great ideas to be unpacked and examined in its pages, and multiple lessons to be learned from it. Today we will be discussing the intrinsically harmful and irrational nature of racism itself, to lay the groundwork for discussions to come.

There are two basic things we need to know about racism. The most important thing to know is that it is actively harmful to everyone involved. However, it is also irrational in the extreme. Although human beings come in a wide range of colors, heights, and shapes, there is no biological basis for classifying people by race. Genetically, human beings are 99.9% the same, across all racial lines. The vast and beautiful physical diversity of human beings consists of just 0.01% of our genetic make-up. Race itself is purely a man-made construct, invented by a white supremacist specifically to be used as justification for enslavement of Black people. The divisions between those of differing ethnicities or backgrounds are purely cultural, and the disparity of outcomes in this country is due to deliberately racist policies that favor white people. We will be talking about some of those policies and the impact they have had on our friends and family members of color during another sermon. For now, keep those two ideas in mind: Harm, and irrationality.

Core Tenet #4 teaches us that we are obligated to respect science and the scientific method in our pursuit of Truth. Applying basic biology to the concept of race will break it down completely; beyond superficial differences in coloration and hair texture, human beings are more or less identical. Same number of limbs, heads all in the same places, organs and such all pretty much the same. We all have the same range of tolerances for heat, cold, pressure, and pain, and have the same basic needs. We have the same weaknesses and need the same kind of medical care. The fact that everyone has their own life experiences, influenced by their cultural backgrounds, only means that everyone we meet has the potential to show us a different view of the world. It does not, and should not, make them “varelse” or “other.”

As rational, thinking beings, we must be Mindful of our own ideas, especially if those ideas are potentially irrational or harmful -or both, in the case of racism. A careful examination of ethnic racism will reveal it to be based on ignorance rather than reality. It is just another kind of tribalism, based on color instead of creed. The small percentage of people in power want us to fight amongst ourselves, but we must recognize that we are all more alike than we are different, and work together to make this world a better place for everyone, not just the elite, wealthy few.

This book encourages its readers to examine their world-view for racist or potentially racist ideas. Are you interested in discovering any potentally racist ideas you may have and Mindfully subjecting them to rational dissection so that you may evolve beyond them?


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