How to Be an Antiracist

How to Be an Antiracist Study Guide

In his 2019 memoir/treatise How to Be an Antiracist, author and activist Ibram X. Kendi asks readers to think about what an antiracist society would look like and how people could help to build one. By telling his own story while also bringing in history, sociology, psychology, and religion, Kendi asks readers to think about issues of racism and racial justice in America.

In an interview with Zenobia Jeffries Warfield, Kendi explained the impetus for writing the book: "In traveling and speaking about my last book [Stamped from the Beginning], I would urge people to be antiracist, to adopt antiracist ideas. And the more I urged people to be antiracist, the more people asked me, tell me a little bit more about being antiracist, because I’ve been taught to be not racist, and I want to know how can I be an antiracist. And the more people asked me that question, the more I realized, I should probably answer it in book form."

When it was released, How to Be an Antiracist received incredibly positive reviews. Kirkus Reviews, for example, loved the book, saying that it is "Not an easy read but an essential one." Publisher's Weekly thought similarly, writing that "[Kendi's] prose is thoughtful, sincere, and polished" and that "This powerful book will spark many conversations." NPR enthused, “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.’” The book was also named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, Library Journal, and Time.