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Be sure to read the Week #8 Overview page before completing the Week #8 Discussion assignment.
For the Week #8 Discussion, you will need to pull ideas together from across Kendi’s book. You will have a few different options for this assignment:
Whatever option you choose, your write-up should include:
All of these items should be used to help illustrate Kendi’s ideas in each of the three chapters you are analyzing. Your analysis should come together to make a larger overall point in your write-up, which can be expressed at the beginning and/or in the conclusion.
(Approx. 450-500 words, total; more is fine.)
**You will also need to respond to another’s student’s post.
In this chapter, Kendi analyzes how and why efforts to combat systemic racism have failed in the past, and are still failing today. He provides a personal anecdote to help illustrate this frustration among many activists. What incident occurred that prompted Kendi to attempt to organize a protest? Why was his idea not well-received by his fellow students? What ended up happening?
What, according to Kendi, is the reason for persistent failure to enact change surrounding systemic racism? How does he explain the problem with focusing on “educational and moral and uplift suasion” (203-205) as a means of ending widespread policies that perpetuate race-based inequities? What does Kendi say we should focus on instead? What historical examples does Kendi provide to help show how key figures, such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Martin Luther King Jr., eventually felt the need to shift focus and tactics in the struggle to combat racism? How and why does Kendi differentiate between “protests” and “demonstrations”?
In this chapter, Kendi blends his experiences after getting his doctoral degree, teaching and publishing his first book, and working on his second book, Stamped From the Beginning, an overview of the dueling histories of racist and antiracist ideas, with the events surrounding the killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida in 2012, and the subsequent acquittal of George Zimmerman. He notes the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the Trayvon Martin incident, reigniting the movement which was to follow, and which persists to this day.
Kendi also differentiates in this chapter between “overt and covert” racism (221-222), and provides the historical background on the idea of “institutional racism” (219-220). What term does Kendi prefer to use in place of “institutional racism” (222-223), and why does he think it is important to be clear on what it is we mean when we use these terms? Note Kendi’s list towards the end of this chapter on the actions he describes as being integral to his own “lifelong mission to be antiracist” (226). As we read these steps, which all begin with “I” (“I stop…,” “I admit…,” “I confess…,” “I accept…,” etc.), we can see that he intends this as a formula for all of us, if we are to commit to the same journey towards becoming an antiracist in our own lives. Throughout Kendi’s book, we are encouraged to self-reflect on our own attitudes and actions in terms of racism and inequity in the world. Kendi has led us through his own journey, as a Black man who self-identifies as an individual who has struggled to shed his own racist ideas and to re-orient his own thinking around racism and racist policies, providing us with a model for how we, too, can commit to this journey and transform our own ways of thinking, being, and acting in the world.
Kendi ends his book with a description of his wife Sadiqa’s battle with cancer, and with his mother’s cancer, and his own battle with cancer. How does he draw parallels between cancer and racism in this chapter? What point does Kendi make about “denial” in regards to both cancer and racism?
What list of actions does Kendi present in this chapter, like in the previous chapter, that “we can all take to eliminate racial inequity in our spaces” (231)? What is the focus of “the Antiracist Research and Policy Center (Links to an external site.)” (231) that Kendi founded at American University in Washington D.C.? What led him to create this organization?
As we end Kendi’s book, we can reflect on our own spaces of influence in our own lives. What small steps can each of us take, in our own spheres of influence, to combat racist inequity?
In 2019, right around the time his book How to Be an Antiracist was published, Kendi transferred to Boston University, where he has created a similar institution to the one he founded at American University, the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. (Links to an external site.) You can read his founding statement here. (Links to an external site.) Kendi is also a regular contributing writer at The Atlantic. You can access his articles here. (Links to an external site.)
Congratulations! You have made it to the end of Kendi’s book! The Week #8 Discussion will ask you to analyze ideas from several chapters across the book. See the Week #8 Discussion assignment for the specific criteria for the assignment. The Week #8 Discussion will be due Sun 10/24, by 11:59pm.
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