Ibram X. Kendi on “not racist”
Thinking about Race (May 2021)
What’s the problem with being “not racist”? It is a claim that signifies neutrality. “I am not a racist, but neither am I aggressively against racism.” But there is no neutrality in the racism struggle. The opposite of “racist” isn’t “not racist.” It is “antiracist.” What’s the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an antiracist. One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an antiracist. One either allows racial inequalities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of “not racist.” The claim of “not racist” neutrality is a mask for racism.…[The] only way to undo racism is to consistently identify and describe it—and then dismantle it.
From How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi, p. 9
This column is prepared by the BYM Working Group on Racism (WGR) and sent to the designated liaisons at each Monthly and Preparative Meeting for publication in their newsletter or other means of dissemination. The WGR meets most months on the first Saturday from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, at various Meetings. If you would like to attend, on a regular or a drop-in basis, contact clerk David Etheridge.