Ibram X. Kendi

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Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram Xolani Kendi (born August 13, 1982) is an American author and historian.


  • I don't hate white folk because I'm a Christian. How can you hate a group of people for being who they are?... Europeans are simply a different breed of human. They are socialized to be aggressive people. They are taught to live by the credo, "survival of the fittest." They are raised to be racist. Caucasians make up only 10 percent of the world's population and that small percentage of people have recessive genes. Therefore they're facing extinction. Whites have tried to level the playing field with the AIDS virus and cloning, but they know these deterrents will only get them so far.
  • I define an antiracist as someone who is expressing an antiracist idea or supporting or an antiracist policy, policies that yield racial equity, while antiracist ideas talk about the equality of racial groups...
  • I think most Americans, without recognizing it, say and believe both racist and antiracist ideas. What I'm seeking to do is get them to recognize those racist ideas, get them to essentially get rid of them and essentially strive to be antiracist, strive to see the racial groups as equals.
  • The working class in the United States has never been united; it’s always been divided along the lines of race. … Racism and capitalism emerged at the same time, in 15th-century western Europe, and they’ve reinforced each other from the beginning.
  • I woke up in the middle of the night to the news that Chadwick had passed. And at first I thought it was a nightmare. Like many people, I was shocked. And then of course I came to see that it was real. And then I saw that he died of colon cancer. And my first thought was, why him? Why not me? It was really—it was crushing. It was crushing because of how much he had given the world, how much I adored him. It was crushing because I know how beloved he was and still is. And it still is crushing...
    I don’t even know if I can even—as you know, Amy, I don’t even know if it can even be described in words what Black Panther meant, what T’Challa meant, what many of those incredible characters meant, what Wakanda meant, what Wakanda still means to black people. And particularly those of us who are really striving to be antiracist... And like other black people who went to see the film and just as nonblack people, it gave me the ability to really step outside of myself, step outside of my world and imagine what’s possible. And there is nothing more radical and critical to transforming the world than a radical imagination. Of thinking about what is possible. I think Black Panther gave that to so many people.
  • As a father, as a girl dad, the portrayal of women in Black Panther is almost certainly what I admired the most, from the chief technology officer to even the baddest person on the film, who to me was the general, who was my favorite character and certainly my wife’s favorite character. But then also, I just want to again emphasize that this is possible. We currently have a tech industry where women and particularly women of color are far and away underrepresented or imagine that it’s not their place or imagine that they don’t have the intellectual capacity. And these are all sexist and racist lies. And women, particularly women of color, can be the chief technology officer of the baddest place, I should say the most technologically advanced sort of companies or places on earth. That’s possible, if we can create that type of sort of society.

The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965–1972 (2012)[edit]

  • Notions of objectivity, removed scientific inquiry, unbiased scholarly assessments, empiricism, standardized tests, universalism, evolutionism, and Eurocentric thinking are a few of the many constructs that academics, politicians, and benefactors used to mask the preponderance of whiteness—white ideas, people, and scholarship—as normal. Thus, white racists and capitalists and black accommodationists actively created and maintained this white normality by masking it, by removing the adjectives, by denigrating and downgrading everything non-European, everything outside of the Eurocentric or capitalist homily. European history and literature were not presented as such. Academics labeled it the history and literature. By conceiving of European (and Euro-American) scholarship as superior to all others, they racialized it, they gave it whiteness—an officious social construct of racial superiority.
  • Academics ... taught the many altruistic African American college students to believe that their personal advancement up the American ladder of success advanced African America as a whole through the societal doors that graduates opened and through their function as role models. Meanwhile, academics, politicians, and capital allowed colleges and universities to serve as ladders, removing African Americans politically, economically, and culturally from the black masses.

Quotes about[edit]

  • Reverend Barber, at one point during the debate, a fly landed on Pence's head for nearly two-and-a-half minutes, prompting widespread commentary online. Professor Ibram X. Kendi, author of the best-selling book How to Be an Antiracist, tweeted, "As soon as Pence started denying the existence of systemic racism, the fly got him!" Amy Goodman
    You know, I couldn’t help but go to the Book of Exodus, where it talked about where God said, "If you don't let my people go, I'm going to cause flies to come as a sign of what’s wrong. But I won’t let the flies be on the people, but the fly will be a symbol that you're just wrong. You're lying. Let my people go." And Trump and Pence need to let the people go. They’ve been holding poor and low-wealth people hostage, essential workers hostage. It's time for a change in this country.
  • If you have read one Kendi book, you have read them all. And whether one agrees or disagrees with his arguments, they are the very opposite of complex. He thinks in binaries. For Kendi, there are no ambiguities when it comes to understanding racism, no shades of grey... This definition is excellent, but Kendi has never demonstrated any aptitude for the qualities he lists. He is not interested in complicating, but in simplifying. He is not reflective or inquisitive, but dogmatic... We are often told that we need to discuss racism more openly, but the popularity of a thinker such as Kendi illustrates how hollow this pronouncement is. It also reflects poorly on the broader state of our intellectual culture. We need to treat racism with greater sophistication, but in his books there is little room for insightful discussion or debate. Kendi doesn’t offer true illumination, only thought-terminating bromides.
  • I take umbrage at the lionization of lightweight empty-suited empty-headed motherfuckers like Ibram X. Kendi, who couldn't carry my book bag, who hasn't read a fucking thing. If you ask him what Nietzsche said he would have no idea. I'm sorry, he's an unserious, superficial, empty-suited lightweight. He's not our equal, not even close.
    • Glenn Loury interviewed by John McWhorter, 2023
  • Kendi is so unbelievably stupid, mindbogglingly dogmatic, boring and limited in range that I would much rather read MLK [Martin Luther King] than have to endure sitting down with Kendi. I teach Kendi because he is useful. Where he is useful is there are no nuances in him. None whatsoever. No ambiguities. Everything is racism, all the time. I did learn something very interesting from Kendi. There's one line that appears in his two major books. This is what my life has come to, that I have read the two major books, "Stamped from the Beginning" and "How to be an antiracist". It reappears each time, and the line is "There is nothing wrong with black people." I think that line explains why Kendi is writing, and why white people buy Kendi's books. It's to be reassured that racism explains everything, and that there isn't one drop, one percent, one element, of black responsibility in black life outcomes today.

External links[edit]

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