Another antiracist book to read

Oy! I barely started reading Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, to the detriment of my digestive system, when I learn that there’s another equally well known antiracist book out there, one that’s just been reviewed by John McWhorter at Education Next. To be sure, he says it is “the better of the two big antiracism bestsellers,” but hardly gives it a ringing endorsement. But I suppose that all of us who are liberals, committed to equal opportunity for all, and eager to understand the antiracist currents of society that have gone ballistic since the murder of George Floyd, should read both of them.

Click on the screenshot to read McWhorter’s review, and you can find Kendi’s book on Amazon here. (For some reason the paperback, which comes in large print only, costs ten bucks more than the hardcover.) You can read more about Ibram X. Kendi here.

Unlike DiAngelo, who asserts that all whites, even if they don’t realize it, are racists and complicit in structural racism, Kendi’s book admits that whites can be antiracist. But it’s still a Manichaean book in another way:

Kendi, like Hume, would seem to have it all figured out: We are divided simply between racists and antiracists. Racists are bigots and allow a status quo under which black people are not doing as well as whites. Antiracists are committed to working against that imbalance. For reasons Kendi seems to think obvious but are not, there is nothing in between these two categories—not to be actively working, or at least speaking, against the imbalance leaves one in the racist class. There is no such thing as someone simply “not racist.”

One trait that marks you as a racist, says Kendi, is to deny the claim that all disparities between races are due to racism. This is equivalent to saying that someone’s a misogynist or misandrist if they deny that disparities in representation of the sexes in jobs or achievements is due to sexism. In the cases of sexes, an alternative hypothesis is sex differences in preferences, be they cultural, genetic, or both. In the case of racism, says McWhorter, the alternative hypothesis for blacks and whites is that the culture of races differs, and for blacks it differs in a way that leads to underachievement.  Here McWhorter, as an African-American, can get away with saying stuff like the following:

In 1987, a rich donor in Philadelphia “adopted” 112 black 6th graders, few of whom had grown up with fathers in their home. He guaranteed them a fully funded education through college as long as they did not do drugs, have children before getting married, or commit crimes. He also gave them tutors, workshops, after-school programs, kept them busy in summer programs, and provided them with counselors for when they had any kind of problem. Yes, this really happened.

The result? 45 never made it through high school. Of the 67 boys, 19 became felons. Twelve years later, the 45 girls had had 63 children, and more than half had become mothers before the age of 18. Part of what makes How to Be an Antiracist a simple book is its neglect of cases like this, or the assumption that they easily trace to “racism.” What held those poor kids back was that they had been raised amidst a different sense of what is normal than white kids in the ‘burbs. That is, yes, another way of saying “culture,” and it means that through no fault of their own, it was not resources, but those unconsciously internalized norms, that kept them from being able to take advantage of what they were being offered.

Kendi’s taxonomy would classify what I just wrote as “racist,” but to qualify as coherent, this charge would have to come with a more careful defense than Kendi seems accustomed to engaging. For example, if that Philly story a generation past the Great Society is just a fluke, what about what was happening in Kansas City around the same time? Twelve new schools were built to replace crummy ones black students had been mired in for decades. The effort cost 1.4 billion dollars. The new schools included broadcast studios, planetariums, big swimming pools, and fencing lessons. Per-pupil spending was doubled, while class size was halved to about 25 students a class. Elementary school students all got their own computers, and there were now 53 counselors for them when before there had been none.

Fade out, fade in: dropout rates doubled, the achievement gap between white and black students sat frozen, and the schools ended up needing security guards to combat theft and violence. The reason for this was nothing pathological about the kids: the story of how black inner cities got to the state they were in by the 1980s is complex and has nothing to do with blame. However, to say that the revolution in schooling offered to these kids was not a major antiracist effort, in Kendi’s terms, would be willfully resistant to empiricism.

To wit: antiracism, under Kendi’s definition, only explains so much. Racism quite often leaves cultural legacies that render black people unable to take advantage of antiracist policies. Concerned people devote careers trying to figure out what to do about this, and they should. But consulting Kendi, they will encounter a proton/neutron contrast between “racist” and “antiracist” that blinds them to nature of problems in the real world.

Why McWhorter’s statement is anathema in current discourse is the “progressive” assumption that, on average, different groups are basically identical not just in talents and preferences, but in those cultural features that lead to success in society.  But, at least for the latter, this can’t be true, at least for those who favor ethnic diversity in colleges and institutions as a way to increase “viewpoint diversity”—and not just about racism. (My own favoring of diversity and affirmative action derives not from seeing diversity as an inherent good that improves education—the Bakke rationale—but as a form of reparations to try to make good on generations of racial discrimination. I simply don’t know if different groups have, on average, different ways of thinking that can improve university education.)

And indeed, what really rankles McWhorter about Kendi’s book is the suggestion not that there are cultural differences between races, but cultural differences that lead to different but equal skill sets:

[Kendi’s] philosophy founders especially on education in this way. Kendi subscribes to the notion getting around these days, from the contingent fascinated with white privilege, that things like close reasoning, the written word, and objectivity are “white” practices, the imposition upon black people of which is “racist.” Hence another passage that many readers will find stirring, but that others will find disturbing and even, in Kendi’s terms, “racist”:

What if different environments lead to different kinds of achievement rather than different levels of achievement? What if the intellect of a low-testing Black child in a poor Black school is different from – and not inferior to – the intellect of a high-testing White child in a rich White school? What if we measured intelligence by how knowledgeable individuals are about their own environments? What if measured intellect by an individual’s desire to know?

But what does this mean, as counsel from Kendi, who is the head of Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research? Just how would we measure “desire to know”? What student would deny “wanting to know”? And just what would “wanting to know” yield in terms of skills or reasoning power?

More to the point, if it’s “racist” that there are so few black professors pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and math—a common opinion it is reasonable to assume Kendi espouses—then how does suggesting we assess black people’s intelligence via their street smarts, capacity for emotional empathy, and “spunk”—which is essentially what Kendi and others mean with suggestions like these—help solve that problem? None of those traits will be of much use in laboratory work or higher mathematics. George Washington Carver’s miracles with the peanut were not driven by some kind of “authentic” alternate science—he worked within the conventional scientific method he learned at Iowa State. The snazzy-looking little View-Master of our memories was designed by a black man, Charles Harrison. He used the same skills as white designers of his time; savory black spontaneity and in-touch-ness would have done nothing to help him.

This comes close to the claim that white and black cultures are different in ways that don’t reward black people in American society, presumably because our society has privileged “white” traits over black ones as prerequisites for success (see the famous Smithsonian poster controversy).

In the end, though, McWhorter gives Kendi’s book a stronger endorsement than DiAngelos’s, though the endorsement is one of faint praise.

Kendi’s is, in the end, a simple book. One senses little interest in engaging questions. The text works in basic colors, not shades; splashes, not brushstrokes — perhaps because he thinks the roots of all black problems in white perfidy are too clear to require complexity. But his directness, pragmatism, and societal focus is certainly preferable to White Fragility’s psychological torture sessions in the guise of sociopolitical commitment.

. . . it is worth finding the value in it that we can. In truth, if How to Be an Antiracist increases the number of Americans committed to activism that makes life better for black people who need help, its substance becomes a background matter. Out doing the real work, people will, as have generations of concerned people before them, immediately encounter and seek their way through the complexities that Kendi cannot perceive.

But I shall have to read it. Given the currents in American society, it behooves us all to essay at least the most widely-read antiracist books.

36 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    I seem to recall “Ibram” from John Oliver’s latest – I’d have to rewatch it – and – (am I allowed?) – oy vey! One way that videos and podcasts fail is if you want to look something up – where’s the index?!

  2. Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Your review of “White Fragility” made me laugh because it was almost verbatim of what my own review of the book was. What an awful load of drivel and waste of paper. sadly, there are a lot of people who are buying into this crap though. And not only are they buying into it, but they are harassing and bullying those of us who do NOT buy into this belief. All I can say is God help us. We are in for a rocky, dangerous ride coming in the very near future.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    … he [McWhorter] says it is “the better of the two big antiracism bestsellers” …

    Damning with faint praise, if ever a case there was.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Whether one agrees with him or not, it’s a pleasure to read John McWhorter’s prose. There’s a sense that every word clicks into place. One might expect no less of a linguist (and, as a group, they tend to be careful writers), but such a background gives no assurance that their writing will ring — anymore than a knowledge of music theory assures that a cat can play.

  5. Roo
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    At least the author of this book is black. I kinda couldn’t get over the fact that White Fragility was a book about how bossy white people control the narrative, written by a bossy white person hellbent on controlling the narrative. Alrighty then.

    And I agree that a societal focus is also a big improvement. Whether or not one agrees with Kendi’s prescriptions, I think you can at least make a solid case for focusing on different aspects of a problem periodically. There is clearly racial inequality in the country, and the vast majority of people would like to remedy that situation. We tend to cycle through different approaches to solving this problem over time, and, as they are probably all interrelated, I think that’s probably a good thing (for example, a focus on personal responsibility might actually be enhanced in an environment where individuals have more resources so that undertaking ambitious efforts seems worthwhile and likely to produce a decent outcome; providing more resources might be enhanced by focusing on individuals’ ambitions to make use of those resources, etc. Or, focusing on environmental factors such as environmental toxins in impoverished neighborhoods, better nutrition, etc., probably interacts with everything else a person does.)

    I am at my most sympathetic to the “Woke” movement when I see it as a broad scale societal course correction that mostly makes sense when you look at the big picture, not the various ideologies people espouse in an attempt to justify it. Essentially, society’s way of saying: We need to spend more resources on racial equality, rationalize that however you want to rationalize it (often in insufferable Woke-speak,) but we do. Also, we need a remedy to the wildly permissive nihilism that characterized the “Jackass” era (apologies to any fans of the show, it just seems archetypally symbolic). I am at my least sympathetic when parsing the details that, when parsed, are completely logically incoherent. I tend to feel the same way about religion. I feel it is often helpful at a broad scale even as the individual doctrines often do not line up with empiricism.

  6. Herbert Gintis
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I have done lots of research in past years concerning the labor market and the role of IQ skills and cultural values in promoting economic success. My experiences and findings agree with McEhoryrt and you 100%.

  7. darrelle
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    “(. . . I simply don’t know if different groups have, on average, different ways of thinking that can improve university education.)”

    This may not be the type of improvement you mean, but I do think that attending university with people of diverse cultures can definitely be of benefit in many ways. Such as broadening a person’s “circle of inclusion” and all the various things that go along with that, and enhancing all of those things that a good “liberal education” used to be prized for, even “to make one’s mind a pleasant place in which to spend one’s leisure.”

    Not everybody benefits from interaction with a variety of cultures though, in my experience. Some people just don’t engage.

  8. Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Kendi’s assertion that “capitalism is racist” is troubling. Communism doesn’t have a good record with minorities, and Che Guevara et al made very racist statements. I don’t understand why black people endorse white thinkers like Marx and the Frankfurt School.

    • Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      I think that Kendi’s assertion here is blending in his political philosophy (or ideology, as one wishes to describe it.) I don’t know that the capitalist system is necessarily more racist than others. Capitalism is driven by profit, so capitalists will be racist when it is profitable for them to be racist. Often, racism comes at a cost to the capitalist. For example, if a capitalist refuses to hire an employee because of her race when in fact it is profitable to do so, the capitalist will pay for his prejudice in lost profit. Some capitalists may be willing to pay, but not necessarily all.

      It is for this reason that Jim Crow laws existed in part to enforce racism regardless of profit. To make sure capitalists did not let profit get in the way of segregation. The Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro was segregated by law, not because the Woolworth’s manager was racist, although he might have been.

      Systemic racism (in contrast to individual racism) is supported by laws, customs and economic inequality. Hopefully, the legal support for racism has been mostly dismantled, although Republicans are still doing their best to suppress minority voting. I believe customs have changed too. It is not socially acceptable to be racist, or at least to advertise it. The biggest cause of racism today is extreme income inequality that continues from generation to generation because, in part, of failures in the education system. I suppose American capitalism is responsible for some of that, although I do not think income inequality per se is solely a capitalist problem.

      • Tim Harris
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 6:02 am | Permalink

        I am rather surprised that anyone would be surprised at the results of that attempt by that rich Philadelphian donor (who probably took as great pride in his philanthropic endeavours as did the slave-trader Edward Colton of Bristol did in his). Gifts are difficult things: they put one person in a superior position, and the recipients in an inferior one, which breeds resentment. There is in this case in particular, a great imbalance of power: condescension masked as generosity on the one side, and an expected obedience and gratitude on the other. And the conclusion that seems to be drawn by those who simply suppose that the philanthropist was doing something out of pure generosity of heart is that the recipients were ungrateful and, worse, incorrigible. There’s an extraordinarily perceptive story by the great Japanese writer Shiga Naoya on the ambiguity and dangers of gifts, 小僧の神さま, or ‘The Shop Boy’s God’. I recommend it (though, knowing the original, I don’t like the only translation of it I know, Lane Dunlop’s, very much).

        ’19 of the boys became felons’ – but what was that mean in a country where it is common for black people to be incarcerated for trivial or trumped-up reasons?

        A bit of reading I recommend in connexion with ‘felony’ and police murders of black people(it has just become available on the internet) is the summary judgement on ‘Jamison v McClendon’ by Judge Carlton Reeves – Case 3:16-cv-00595-CWR-LRA Document 72 Filed 08/04/20. It concerns the ‘qualified immunity’ granted to police officers that allows them to get away, literally, with murder and torture. Reeves is calling on the Supreme Court to take up this matter of ‘qualified immunity’ seriously (it has so far refused). And in his summary judgement he describes what black people have continually to face in their lives in the USA.

        • Tim Harris
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 6:05 am | Permalink

          ‘but what DOES that mean in a country where it is common…’

  9. Jonathan Gallant
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    In 1603, Federico Cesi founded the Accademia dei Lincei, in order to promulgate what we would now call the scientific method.
    [A chap named Galileo was its best known member.] The Kendi/DiAngelo school no doubt dismisses this episode as a case of Italian privilege. They would also tag as pure racism the fact that the methods of the Accademia led to modern technology; whereas the Islamic learning of Timbuktu and the later Sokoto Caliphate, and the commercial brilliance of Dahomey (which specialized in slave trade) led in different directions.

    John McWhorter is impressive not only for the precision of his language, but also for
    his humane and thoughtful approach.

  10. DrBrydon
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    The problem with asserting the monocausal explanation that all black underachievement is the result of racism is that it fails to account black success or white underachievement. In the end monocausal explanations explain nothing.

  11. Keith
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I just read an interesting article in Rollingstone about a fast-rising young rapper who transitioned from a drug dealer and ex-convict to his new music career. Much of the success of the rapper (Lil Baby) is attributed to the music mogul (Kevin Lee) who saw something in the kid and gave encouragement and mentoring. But it’s a success story where transcending cultures played no part. The journalist who wrote the story also commented on a disagreement he (Charles Holmes) and Lil Baby had about racism, with Holmes asserting that Blacks can’t be racist. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/atlanta-rapper-lil-baby-bigger-picture-song-1027815/

  12. darrelle
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    “One trait that marks you as a racist, says Kendi, is to deny the claim that all disparities between races are due to racism. This is equivalent to saying that someone’s a misogynist or misandrist if they deny that disparities in representation of the sexes in jobs or achievements is due to sexism.

    I agree with you and McWhorter that this stance is simply wrong, denying reality. But I do think there is a bit of truth to it that inspire people like Kendi to the extreme view. It does seem to me that racism, both current and the past history of it, have some impact on most disparities between whites and blacks. How much in any given case I couldn’t guess but given that racism has been a significant factor in molding US black cultures for their entire history then in any case in which cultural norms are a factor it seems that racism must have a finger on the scale too. But McWhorter already said it better, and you already quoted it, the bit starting with this . . .

    “What held those poor kids back was that they had been raised amidst a different sense of what is normal than white kids in the ‘burbs. . . .”

    I think a very big confounding factor is chronic low economic status (poverty), regardless of race. In my experience people from poor families in the US, white / black / other, share many of the same “unconsciously internalized norms,” and self hampering behaviors. Which would seem to indicate that a significant causal factor is something other than racism. Obvious culprits are the poverty itself and the classism baked into our society. Though blacks have the added ballast of a long history of racism working to impede them too.

    • Kelly M. Houle
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      It’s not obvious to me that this stance is wrong. If there is some racial disparity in a statistic, and we agree that race is a mirage, what else could possibly be at the heart of that difference, if not a racist idea or policy?

      • davelenny
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        Cultural difference.

        For 40 years Thomas Sowell has documented with international evidence the importance of cultural differences in producing different outcomes, even in the absence of racism.

        Of course, racism and cultural difference are not mutually exclusive, independent variables.

        • Kelly M. Houle
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

          Thank you for the reference. I have more to read.

    • Tim Harris
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      So are you suggesting, darrelle, that racism is not a significant causal factor? I am sorry but I find curious the tendency, which I seem to come across quite often, to play down present racism – for it is assuredly not something that is merely historical, in the sense of being in the past – usually in favour of class and chronic poverty, which I agree are important factors. It is as if race were somehow too difficult, or somehow too impolite a topic, to deal with, whereas class is a nice comfortable category about which we can all agree. I may be misunderstanding the thrust of your argument, and if I am I apologise, but…

      • darrelle
        Posted August 5, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        No Tim, really I’m not.

        Just trying to say that there are other significant factors rather than racism being the only significant factor, and that ignoring them is not a good thing to do when trying to understand how things got the way they are, how things happen the way they did / do, so that we can change them for the better.

        In a nutshell, what McWhorter said, and much better than I. When even black people like McWhorter are excoriated for saying so, that’s the stance I was talking about in my 1st sentence above.

        Going a bit further afield, I think some people may have interpreted Jerry / McWhorter a bit incorrectly, or perhaps I have. When they say that a certain incident wasn’t the result of racism I don’t think they mean that unequivocally. I think they mean that in that particular instance the outcome was not a result of overt racism being acted out in those moments by any of the people immediately involved. I don’t think either one would deny though that racism has significantly molded our cultures and institutions and in that sense is indeed a significant factor. I know McWhorter agrees with that because he clearly said so.

        I think people readily interpret someone saying something like this as blaming the victims. With some reason since I know that some people do blame the victims in exactly this way. I’m pretty sure McWhorter isn’t doing that though and I sure as hell am not.

        • Tim Harris
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

          Thank you very much, darrelle, for the clarification. I very much agree with you that it is too often very ambiguous what people actually mean when they talk about ‘racism’,and think it is very important that they should be clear what they are talking about.

        • Tim Harris
          Posted August 5, 2020 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

          Just to say that SLATE has an article entitled ‘US District Court Judge Carlton Reeves challenges the Supreme Court to say Black Lives Matter’. In his summary judgement, Carlton discusses a number of cases in which ‘qualified immunity’ has allowed police officers to get off with murder, torture, etc scot-free. This is an aspect of ‘systemic racism’, and, I would say, challenges Stephen Pinker’s ill-advised tweet about race not being an issue in police shootings.

          ‘Our courts have shielded a police officer who shot a child while the officer was attempting to shoot the family dog; prison guards who forced a prisoner to sleep in cells “covered in feces” for days; police officers who stole over $225,000 worth of property; a deputy who bodyslammed a woman after she simply “ignored [the deputy’s] command and walked away”; an officer who seriously burned a woman after detonating a “flashbang” device in the bedroom where she was sleeping; an officer who deployed a dog against a suspect who “claim[ed] that he surrendered by raising his hands in the air”; and an officer who shot an unarmed woman eight times after she threw a knife and glass at a police dog that was attacking her brother.’

          • darrelle
            Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:18 am | Permalink

            Law enforcement in the US is a disaster.

  13. Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    People are working with different definitions of the key term “racism.” Kendi’s definition of a “racist idea” (from his book *Stamped from the Beginning*) is “any concept that regards any racial group as inferior or superior to another racial group in any way.” (5, Kindle edition) That’s different both from DiAngelo’s definition (“a system of advantage based on race,” that is, defining racism as a property of a social system as a whole, not of individual people, consciousness, etc.), AND from the definitions of the term people in US popular discourse seem to be using (e.g., “hating people because of their race,” “noticing race or treating it as important” etc.)

  14. dd
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    This is a brilliant review of the Kendi book by Christopher Caldwell.

    https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2020/08/10/ibram-x-kendi-prophet-of-anti-racism/

  15. Oliver S.
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    Recommended reading:

    “Defining Racism Up: Ibram X. Kendi’s Weird Definition of Anti-racism”: https://newdiscourses.com/2020/07/defining-racism-ibram-kendi-weird-definition-antiracism/

  16. denise
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    According to Andrew Sullivan, Kendi in a Politico symposium supported a Constitutional amendment:

    “It would establish and permanently fund the Department of Anti-racism (DOA) comprised of formally trained experts on racism and no political appointees. The DOA would be responsible for preclearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield racial inequity, monitor those policies, investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas. The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.”

  17. Jake
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    One of the best books I’ve read touching on the history of racism is Isabel Wilkerson’s book about the waves of Black migration out of the South. It’s called “The Warmth of Other Suns” (2011). She has a new book out called “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” that I plan to read ASAP. The reviewer in today’s NYT writes: “Wilkerson has written a closely argued book that largely avoids the word “racism,” yet stares it down with more humanity and rigor than nearly all but a few books in our literature.

  18. Stephen Caldwell
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    I read Kendi’s book and liked most of it. The personal story he tells is interesting. However, there is a lot of academic-speak, enough that regular folk’s eyes might glaze over.
    One thing I have noticed about the extreme left is they use this academic language to explain themselves and their viewpoints and it doesn’t make for good storytelling. It is not very persuasive.

    • phoffman56
      Posted August 5, 2020 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      If by “academic-speak” and “academic language”, you refer to the intellectual diarrhea of Derrida and his band of mental weaklings and fraudsters, it would be better termed ‘post-brain-use verbal vomit’. Give us academics a break, except for the postmoderns in mostly English departments of North American universities, apparently including that at UChicago.

      And ‘stories’ in the past meant fiction, simply entertainment usually. So persuasiveness was not the purpose of storytelling. But if the supposed news on TV has now become a ‘show’, perhaps explaining the proof of Godel’s incompleteness or the scientific truth of evolution by natural selection is ‘storytelling’ in 21st century lingo. The confusion with older meanings in English sometimes plays into the hands purveyors of that bullshit called “post-truth”.

      It would be nice to hear more about what exactly they liked from people who report that they liked some particular writing.

      Grumble, grumble…

  19. Tim Harris
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    I would recommend the British writer’s Reni Eddo-Lodge’s ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race’. I don’t agree with everything she says, but it’s a perceptive, highly intelligent & well-written book. Regarding Isabel Wilkerson’s ‘Caste’ (mentioned above by Jake), I read recently, I can’t remember where, what was either a review of the book or an essay by herself, and I thought that what what she was saying was extraordinarily illuminating.

  20. FB
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    “What if we measured intelligence by how knowledgeable individuals are about their own environments?“ We already do that! But Kendi should provide his own IQ test and let us see how we score.

  21. peepuk
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    There is actually no justification for discrimination, there are no objective qualitative differences between humans, that’s were democratic people can agree.

    I like a good fight, but still think the way forward in democracies is building bridges, not shaming and blaming (activism).

    For US that would mean to become more like Scandinavia.

  22. DutchA
    Posted August 5, 2020 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Substitution test:

    Religious or Anti-religious, here is no such thing as someone simply “not religious”.

    Does not make much sense.

  23. Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    There are so many thoughtful and well written comments here, as well as suggestions of articles and books to read. I will never catch up.

    Yes, as has been pointed out the culture one is raised in has a major impact on potential for achievement and financial security. Also, as has been pointed out, it happens to people of other races than just black.

    I find it hard to believe there are people who do not understand that blacks and hispanics (and other non-whites) are arrested more, mistreated more, and jailed for more and less serious (as well as serious) infractions that most whites would not be jailed for.

    Throughout the years, I’ve read about police corruption in certain cities like Chicago and New York City and Los Angeles, etc. But, until recently, I hadn’t known the extent of nationwide police corruption. Protection of cops by police departments and unions and lack of making information about misbehaviors (injuries and murders) by bad cops available. If a bad cop is brought before justice, he seldom is convicted. If he is let go, he can go anywhere else in the country to a different police department because his record doesn’t go with him. Nor did it dawn on me that if it happens that a cop or police department is sued, the money comes out of the people’s purse, not the cop’s or police department’s.

    Within the last few days, I’ve read about Vallejo, CA cops turning down the tips of their star badges to indicate the number of perps they’ve killed. I read about a Southern CA department run by a gang. I also read that California is finally going to try to correct some of their very bad policing problems. We’ll see. I know California is not unique.
    I live in Oregon. Portland has been trying for years to clean up their police department. I hope that now they can.

    And, in regards to policing, for all of us I would like to terminate the militarization of all U.S. police forces of whatever kind.

    On another note, I would like to see more parental and community involvement in supporting all children in preparation for school and a successful life thereafter. It impacts all of us.

  24. Posted August 6, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Oh, dang! I meant to mention that I would so very much like for black children (actually, all children) to be taught about successful the achievements and successes of blacks throughout history, in the U.S. and elsewhere. The number is much greater than has been made apparent.


Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *
*
*

%d bloggers like this: