Reviews for How To Raise An Antiracist

by Ibram X. Kendi

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The National Book Award–winning author uses his own life to illustrate the need for anti-racist policy and practices in American schools and homes. Kendi, professor of humanities at Boston University and one of our foremost scholars on race in America, begins with his wife’s experience as a Black doctor with a medical degree from Yale whose prenatal concerns were ignored by multiple health care workers—an unfortunately common problem that Black women often face in pregnancy and beyond. The author continues by explaining how his daughter’s preschool years motivated him to think through “childproofing” the “racial environment” of his home. He then transitions to his own childhood experiences transferring among eight different schools in order to escape various types of racism, beginning with his kindergarten in Queens, where his teacher labeled him as a behavioral problem despite the fact that he wasn’t acting any differently than his White peers. In a chapter about his brother, Kendi explains the connections between ableism and racism, and he ends with a chapter summarizing the current debates about anti-racist education in school and presenting a clear, impassioned case for why all children benefit from anti-racist instruction. “The most critical part of raising a child is not what we do with our child,” he writes. “It’s what we do with our society. We must keep our individual children safe in this racist soci-ety, while building an antiracist society that can protect all our children.” Rather than illustrating specific parenting techniques, the author uses personal stories to argue for sweeping changes to health care and education. The author’s vulnerability about his own parenting mistakes and schooling mishaps clarify racist structures with empathy, clarity, and hope for change. While Kendi’s overuse of rhetorical questions and tendency to self-flagellate sometimes feel grating, the book is an excellent introduction to how racism impacts children across the life span. A useful anti-racist memoir about how anti-racism can make the world safer for all children. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.