NPR

Ibram X. Kendi: Racism Isn't An Identity, It's What You're Doing In The Moment

Writer Ibram X. Kendi's new book tackles one of today's most important topics. How to Be an Antiracist lays out his definition of what makes a racist — and what people can do to combat racism.
Ibram X. Kendi Source: Jeff Watts

Note: Audio for Part 2 of this interview will be available tomorrow.

The writer Ibram X. Kendi has made a name for himself by tackling one of the most important — and one of the most sensitive — topics in America today.

His 2017 book, Stamped From the Beginning, is a history of racist ideas in America, and his new book is called How to Be an Antiracist. It starts with a moment in Kendi's own life: He was a high school senior taking part in an oratorical contest honoring Martin Luther King Jr., delivering a speech that ultimately won him first place.

"And in this speech, in which I thought I was being so progressive and so radical, in fact I was expressing a litany of anti-black ideas, particularly about black youth," he says. "I talked about 'black youth don't value education' and I talked about 'black youth keep climbing the high tree of pregnancy,' that 'black youth are

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