‘How To Be An Antiracist’ author Ibram X. Kendi admits anti-woke efforts have ‘crushed’ his momentum
- Ibram X. Kendi has slammed anti-wake efforts for “crushing” its momentum.
- The author rose to prominence as BLM protests swept the nation
- His book How To Be An Antiracist is one of the most banned texts in the United States
Controversial author Ibram X. Kendi has acknowledged efforts by anti-Wake conservatives have “smashed” the momentum he built during the BLM protests.
Kendi, whose book How To Be An Antiracist became a New York Times bestseller as the response to the murder of George Floyd swept the nation, has condemned its diminishing relevance three years later.
“The momentum has just been crushed by a fairly well organized force and movement of people trying to preserve racism,” he told CNN.
In the years following his BLM-inspired success, Kendi’s work has been criticized by conservative lawmakers seeking to remove “Critical Race Theory” from school curricula, and was included in last year’s 50 most banned texts.
Kendi rose to national fame following the BLM protests of 2020 and was seen by many as one of the movement’s poster boys.
One of the common themes of his activism is the term “anti-racism,” a term for actively confronting racism rather than just claiming to be non-racist.
But he has now slammed how the conversation has evolved somewhat, blaming those he believes intended to “change the issue from racism to anti-racism”.
“And who have tried to shift the issue from police violence to the people speaking out against police violence,” he added.
In his work, the 40-year-old lecturer often talks about doubting one’s own intellect, a topic that he blames on standardized exams in schools.
“I didn’t fully overcome these doubts until I started thinking about what it means to be intelligent.
“We were taught that the smarter you are, the better your test scores. But the more I understood intelligence, the more I realized that intelligence should be defined as a great ability to know.’
According to a report by PEN America, Kendi’s 2019 book was among the most banned texts in school districts across the country in the 2021-2022 school year.
The controversial tome explores diverse cultural issues through the lens of how to be “anti-racist,” including gender, whiteness, and class.
Speaking of the text’s place among the 1,648 books then banned by school districts, Kendi said he wasn’t “surprised” by the move.
“For most of American history, books about people of color or racism have been widely challenged or banned.
“What has happened (recently) is more consistent with American history. But just as we fought against these book bans in the past, or as my enslaved ancestors found ways to read abolitionist literature, we can still fight and read today.”
Other notable books to have been removed from classrooms and libraries in recent years include the LGBT penguin love story And Tango Makes Three and Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.
While enjoying his newfound success in 2020, Kendi released a follow-up book aimed at parenting children titled Antiracist Baby.
Designed as a guide for parents to talk to their children about racism, the text suggests nine steps to address the issue and help children become “anti-racist.”
The book was set to be brought to life in an animated series on Netflix before the streaming service pulled the plug last year.