Over time, John McWhorter’s assessment of Ibram Kendi’s book How to be an Antiracist has gotten worse and worse. I suspected—as he admits in this 6-minute video—that McWhorter was loath to go after Kendi early on, but when Kendi started going after him, he took off the gloves. So now we get to hear what McWhorter really thinks of Kendi’s book. And it isn’t pretty.
He also takes on Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, which, says McWhorter, is the “second worst book he’s ever read.” (He does tell us the worst one, too.) When he’s finished with both, they’re in tatters.
Nevertheless, I recommend that you read both of them, for two reasons. First, you need to know the thoughts that are influencing so many people these days. These books are the manifestos for a lot of woke racism, including the assertion (from Kendi) that inequity of representation in organizations or groups is prima facie evidence for ongoing racism.
Further, a few readers have actually praised these books, and before you think there’s any credibility to such opinions, you need to read the books themselves. If you like them, so be it, but then go back to reason #1.
I have indeed read both books, and share McWhorter’s opinion, except that one book that’s possibly worse than White Fragility is The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. (The movie was quite good but the book is so shabby, so full of hyperventilating and purplish prose, that it takes the prize for Worst Book I’ve Ever Read. But it was still a bestseller!)