Today I finished my fourth book of 2020 on racism. Unlike those other three and unlike the other sixty-one books I’ve read in the last seven months, I’m not going to give a full review of this one.
Why? It’s simple. Any criticism of this book can and most likely will be declared as racist. Kendi does an amazing job writing a dissertation on what is and what is not racism in a book full of absolutes. Those absolutes make it nearly impossible for any white person, especially a white man, to disagree with him on any point. In doing so the counter argument would immediately be “you think that because you’re racist.”
Liberals will love this book. Conservatives will hate it. It’s as divisive as…. well…. pretty much every other thing in the world right now. That’s a problem. A huge one. How can we solve any problem, especially one as big as racism, when we can’t even have a conversation? We can’t. That’s why this nation is so completely screwed right now. People see what they want to see or what they are told to see by the cable news networks. Debate is dead. Free thinking is dead. You are either this or that and there is no in between.
I enjoyed reading this book despite disagreeing with many of Kendi’s points simply because it was intellectually challenging. He made me question many of my beliefs. So many things I agreed with. He even confirms a couple of my disagreements with Robin Diangelo’s “White Fragility.” Many points I absolutely disagreed with, such as his all out attack on capitalism. Still, he did change my mind on a few points. I will not elaborate anymore for the reasons I explained above.
Kendi attempts to write the absolute declaration of what is and what is not racist with the counterpoint of what is anti-racist and how to be an anti-racist advocate. Whether he accomplished that mission is not up for me to decide. I will only say that I knocked this one out in 36 hours because I could not put it down.