The Antiracism Center: Ibram X. Kendi’s Vision

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "How to Be an Antiracist" by Ibram X. Kendi. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is the Antiracism Center? Why did Ibram X. Kendi start it?

The Antiracism Center, formally known as the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, was created by Ibram X. Kendi to focus on changing policies. The Center shares individual strategies for moving towards racial justice and equity.

Keep reading to learn more about the Antiracism Center.

Founding the Antiracism Center

Ibram had become a college professor and writer because he believed in educational suasion, but the more he learned about racism as he researched his books, the more he realized ignorance wasn’t the cause of racism—the cause was self-interest. Hate and ignorance were byproducts that individuals picked up later. He realized that to truly be antiracist, he needed to start focusing on policy, and he founded the Antiracist Research and Policy Center in 2017.

The same night that Ibram spoke about the Antiracism Center’s vision, an unknown White male hung paper Confederate flags and cotton balls in some of the university’s buildings. Ibram didn’t let this scare him and kept working at his organization.

The Center’s Advice

The Antiracism Center uses the following steps to work towards ending racial inequity. You can take these steps, too:

  • Acknowledge that the problem is caused by policy, not people.
  • Acknowledge that racial inequity is intersectional—it’s related to class, gender, and sexuality.
  • Find out which specific policies are causing inequity.
  • Come up with new antiracist policies to replace them.
  • Determine which individuals or groups have the power to put antiracist policies into place.
  • Educate the public about specific racist policies and antiracist replacements.
  • Connect with antiracist policymakers to get the new antiracist policies implemented.
  • Get rid of racist policymakers by asking antiracist policymakers to force them out of office.
  • Make sure the new antiracist policy is having an equalizing effect.
  • Assess whether or not the new policies are working. If they aren’t, look for new policies, not new people.
  • Keep an eye on policymakers to make sure no new racist policies come into effect.
The Antiracism Center: Ibram X. Kendi’s Vision

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Here's what you'll find in our full How to Be an Antiracist summary:

  • What racism is and how it evolved
  • How you might have subtle racist thoughts and not even be aware of them
  • Why being "not racist" isn't good enough

Rina Shah

An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Rina’s love for books began with The Boxcar Children. Her penchant for always having a book nearby has never faded, though her reading tastes have since evolved. Rina reads around 100 books every year, with a fairly even split between fiction and non-fiction. Her favorite genres are memoirs, public health, and locked room mysteries. As an attorney, Rina can’t help analyzing and deconstructing arguments in any book she reads.

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