Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
National Book Award-winning historian and author of How to Be an Antiracist
'racist' isn’t 'not racist.'
It is 'antiracist.'”
Photo credit: Stephen Voss
About Ibram X. Kendi
When Dr. Ibram X. Kendi won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2016 for a book about the history of racist ideas in America, some people felt a disconnect. Emerging from eight years of leadership under an African-American president, a narrative was building in America about the emergence of a post-racial society, colorblind to race and valuing merit over skin color. Kendi challenges this notion in his New York Times-bestselling book Stamped from the Beginning, taking an expansive view on race and racist ideas that spans from 15th century Europe until modern day America. Kendi’s insight on racist structures are the focus of How to Be an Antiracist, which empowers readers and audiences to not only recognize the pervasive influence of racism and racist ideas, but to actively participate in dismantling it.
Kendi embarked on the research for his book under the assumption that the major producers of racist ideas were hateful and ignorant. And that borne from racist ideas were racist policies like slavery, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration. But as Kendi dug deeper and contextualized motives, he began to gain a new understanding of the cause and effect actually at play. He soon discovered that political, economic, and cultural self-interest are behind the creation of racist policies and these policies in turn create the racist ideas that rationalize the deep inequities in everything from wealth to health.
Ibram X. Kendi is the Professor of History and the founder of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University. He has also been the Professor of History and International Relations and the Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He is a frequent public speaker who speaks with great expertise and compassion about the findings of his book and how they can fit into the national conversation on racial and social justice.
Kendi has received research fellowships, grants, and visiting appointments from a variety of universities, foundations, professional associations, and libraries, including the American Historical Association, Library of Congress, National Academy of Education, Spencer Foundation, Lyndon B. Johnson Library & Museum, Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, Brown University, Princeton University, Duke University, University of Chicago, and UCLA. Most recently, he was named a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow for his work.
In addition to winning the National Book Award, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas was also named a finalist for the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and nominated for the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Nonfiction. The book was featured on many Best Books of 2016 lists, including in the Boston Globe, Kirkus, The Washington Post, The Root, Chicago Review of Books, and Buzzfeed. In a remarkable follow-up to Stamped from the Beginning, Stamped, co-written with Jason Reynolds, is a timely, crucial, and empowering exploration that shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas and how to stamp out these thoughts.
Kendi has published numerous academic essays as well as op-eds in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Time, The Guardian, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He is also the author of the award-winning book, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965-1972. In 2018, he was named a columnist for a new vertical of The Atlantic focusing on ideas, opinion, and political and cultural commentary.
Racist Ideas in America: From Slavery To Black Lives Matter
Ibram X. Kendi is one of the nation’s most prolific and accomplished young professors of race, writing for and speaking to both scholarly and general audiences. This lecture builds on Kendi’s firm belief that in order to understand racism in America today, we must confront the history of anti-Black ideas. Kendi traces this history of racist ideas; beginning in 15th century Europe when racist ideas were used to legitimize slave trade, up until modern day America when unarmed human beings were being killed at the hands of law enforcement officials and #BlackLivesMatter was born. In shedding light on the history of racist ideas, he gives his audience the tools to expose them and reason to hope for the future.
How To Be An Antiracist
When the first Black president headed into the White House, Americans were imagining their nation as colorblind and went so far as to call it post-racial. With the arrival of Donald Trump many people are awakening and seeing racial reality for the first time. With opened minds, people are actively trying to understand racism. In this deeply personal and empowering lecture, Kendi shifts the discussion from how not to be racist, to how to be an antiracist. He shares his own racist ideas and how he overcame them. He provides direction to people and institutions who want more than just band-aid programs, but actual antiracist action that builds an antiracist America.
Praise for Ibram X. Kendi
Praise for Stamped
"Sheer brilliance....An empowering, transformative read. Bravo."— Jewell Parker Rhodes, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Boys
An amazingly timely and stunningly accessible manifesto for young people....At times funny, at times somber but always packed with relevant information that is at once thoughtful and spot-on, Stamped is the book I wish I had as a young person and am so grateful my own children have now.— Jacqueline Woodson, bestselling and National Book Award-winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming
Praise for How to Be an Antiracist
Kendi dissects why in a society where so few people consider themselves to be racist the divisions and inequalities of racism remain so prevalent. How to Be an Antiracist punctures the myths of a post-racial America, examining what racism really is—and what we should do about it.— Time
Ibram X. Kendi’s new book, How to Be an Antiracist, couldn’t come at a better time. . . . Kendi has gifted us with a book that is not only an essential instruction manual but also a memoir of the author’s own path from anti-black racism to anti-white racism and, finally, to antiracism. . . . How to Be an Antiracist gives us a clear and compelling way to approach, as Kendi puts it in his introduction, ‘the basic struggle we’re all in, the struggle to be fully human and to see that others are fully human.’— NPR
Ibram Kendi is today’s visionary in the enduring struggle for racial justice. In this personal and revelatory new work, he yet again holds up a transformative lens, challenging both mainstream and antiracist orthodoxy. He illuminates the foundations of racism in revolutionary new ways, and I am consistently challenged and inspired by his analysis. How to Be an Antiracist offers us a necessary and critical way forward.
— Robin DiAngelo, New York Times bestselling author of White Fragility
Ibram Kendi’s work, through both his books and the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, is vital in today’s sociopolitical climate. As a society, we need to start treating antiracism as action, not emotion—and Kendi is helping us do that.— Ijeoma Oluo, author of So You Want to Talk About Race
Ibrahim Kendi uses his own life journey to show us why becoming an antiracist is as essential as it is difficult. Equal parts memoir, history, and social commentary, this book is honest, brave, and most of all liberating.— James Forman, Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Locking Up Our Own
A boldly articulated, historically informed explanation of what exactly racist ideas and thinking are . . . [Kendi’s] prose is thoughtful, sincere, and polished. This powerful book will spark many conversations.— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A combination of memoir and extension of [Kendi’s] towering Stamped from the Beginning . . . Never wavering . . . Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth. . . . This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory. . . . Essential.— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In this sharp blend of social commentary and memoir . . . Kendi is ready to spread his message, his stories serving as a springboard for potent explorations of race, gender, colorism, and more. . . . With Stamped From the Beginning, Kendi proved himself a first-rate historian. Here, his willingness to turn the lens on himself marks him as a courageous activist, leading the way to a more equitable society.— Library Journal (starred review)
Praise for Stamped from the Beginning
This heavily researched yet easily readable volume explores the roots and the effects of racism in America. The narrative smoothly weaves throughout history, culminating in the declaration that as much as we’d like it to be, America today is nowhere near the “postracial” country that the media declared following the election of Barack Obama in 2008. The hope here is that by studying and remembering the lessons of history, we may be able to move forward to an equitable society.— Booklist
An intricate look at the history of race in the U.S., arguing that many well-meaning American progressives inadvertently operate on belief systems tinged with a racist heritage.— Time
A deep (and often disturbing) chronicling of how anti-black thinking has entrenched itself in the fabric of American society.— The Atlantic
In this tour de force, Kendi explores the history of racist ideas—and their connection with racist practices—across American history. Racism is the enduring scar on the American consciousness. In this ambitious, magisterial book, Kendi reveals just how deep that scar cuts and why it endures, its barely subcutaneous pain still able to flare.— Kirkus (starred review)
Books by Ibram X. Kendi
Media About Ibram X. Kendi
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- Ibram X. Kendi travels from Washington, DC
How to Be an Antiracist
“What do you do after you have written Stamped From the Beginning, an award-winning history of racist ideas? . . . If you’re Ibram X. Kendi, you craft another stunner of a book. . . . What emerges from these insights is the most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind, a confessional of self-examination that may, in fact, be our best chance to free ourselves from our national nightmare.”—The New York Times