How To Be An Antiracist Book Review

This book is chocked full of important and meaningful information, lessons, and personal stories that help us understand how to be an antiracist. These are a few quotes that stuck out to me as especially important. 

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  • "I thought I was stupid, too dumb for college. Of course, intelligence is as subjective as beauty. But I kept using "objective" standards, like test scores and report cards, to judge myself."
  • "Even now I wonder if it was my poor sense of self that first generated my poor sense of my people. Or was it my poor sense of my people that inflamed a poor sense of myself?"
  • "Racist ideas make people of color think less of themselves, which makes them more vulnerable to racist ideas. Racist ideas make White people think more of themselves, which further attracts them to racist ideas."
  • "Internalized racism is the real Black on Black crime."
  • "When racist ideas resound, denials that those ideas are racist typically follow. When racist policies resound, denials that those policies are racist also follow."
  • "Denial is the heartbeat of racism, beating across ideologies, races, and nations. It is beating within us."
  • "One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of 'not racist.' The claim of 'not racist' neutrality is a mask for racism."
  • "We know how to be racist. We know how to pretend to be not racist. Now let's know how to be antiracist."
Chapter 1: Definition
  • "Definitions anchor us in principles. This is not a light point: If we don't do the basic work of defining the kind of people we want to be in language that is stable and consistent, we can't work toward stable, consistent goals."
  • "To be racist is to constantly redefine racist in a way that exonerates one's changing policies, ideas, and personhood."
  • "Racist policies have been described by other terms: 'institutional racism,' 'structural racism,' and 'systematic racism,' for instance. But those are vaguer terms than 'racist policy.' When I use them I find myself having to immediately explain what they mean. 'Racist policy' is more tangible and exacting, and more likely to be immediately understood by people, including its victims, who may not have the benefit of extensive fluency in racial terms."
  • "When someone discriminates against a person in a racial group, they are carrying out a policy or taking advantage of  the lack of a protective policy. We all have the power to discriminate. Only an exclusive few have the power to make policy."
  • "The only remedy to racist discrimination is antiracist discrimination. The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination."
  • "In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way. And in order to treat some persons equally, we must treat them differently." (1978 quote from Justice Harry Blackmun)
  • "But there is no such thing as a not-racist idea, only racist ideas and antiracist ideas."
  • "A racist idea is any idea that suggests one racial group is inferior or superior to another racial group in any way. Racist ideas argue that the inferiorities and superiorities of racial groups explain racial inequities in society."
  • "An antiracist idea is any idea that suggest the racial groups are equals in all their apparent differences - that there is nothing right or wrong with any racial group. Antiracist ideas argue that racist policies are the cause of racial inequities."
  • "What side of history will we stand on? A racist is someone who is supporting racist policy by their actions or inactions or expressing a racist idea. An antiracist is someone who is supporting and antiracist policy by their actions or expressing an antiracist idea. 'Racist' and 'antiracist' are like peelable name tags that are placed and replaced based on what someone is doing or not doing, supporting or expressing is each moment."
Chapter 2: Dueling Consciousness
  • "White people are more likely than Black and Latinx people to sell drugs, and the races consume drugs at similar rates. Yet African Americans are far more likely than Whites to be jailed for drug offenses. Nonviolent Black drug offenders remain in prisons for about the same length of time (58.7 months) as violent White criminals (61.7 months).
  • (Reagan's) "stronger law enforcement sent more Black people into the clutches of violent cops, who killed 22 Black people for every White person in the early 1980s. Black youth were 4x more likely to be unemployed in 1985 than in 1954. But few connected the increase in unemployment to the increase in violent crime."
  • "Americans have long been trained to see the deficiencies of people rather than policy. It's a pretty easy mistake to make. People are in our faces. Policies are distant. We are particularly poor at seeing the policies lurking behind the struggles of people."
  • "It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of ever feels his two-ness" (Quote from W.E.B. Du Bois)
  • "Assimilationist ideas and segregationist ideas are the two types of racist ideas, the duel within racist thought. White assimilationist ideas challenge segregationist ideas that claim people of color are incapable of development, incapable of reaching  the superior standard, incapable of becoming White and therefore fully human. Assimilationists believe that people of color can, in fact, be developed, become fully human, just like White people. Assimilationist ideas reduce people of color to the level of children needing instruction on how to act. Segregationist ideas cast people of color as 'animal,' unteachable after a point."
  • "Antiracist ideas are based in the truth that racial groups are equals in all the ways they are different, assimilationist ideas are rooted in the notion that certain racial groups are culturally and behaviorally inferior, and segregationist ideas spring from a belief in genetic racial distinctions and fixed hierarchy."
  • "Since assimilation posits cultural and behavioral hierarchy, assimilationist policies and programs are geared toward developing, civilizing, and integrating racial groups. Since segregationists posit the incapability of a racial group to be civilized and developed, segregationist policies are geared toward segregating, enslaving incarcerating, deporting, and killing. Since antiracists posit that the racial groups are already civilized, antiracist policies are geared toward reducing racial inequities and creating equal opportunities."
Chapter 3: Power
  • "We are what we see ourselves as, whether what we see exists or not. We are what people see us as, whether what they see exists or not. What people see in themselves and others has meaning and manifests itself in ideas and actions and policies, even if what they are seeing is an illusion. Race is a mirage but one that we do well to see, while never forgetting it is a mirage, never forgetting that it's the powerful light of racist power that makes the mirage."
  • "Some White people do not identify as White for the same reason they identify as not-racist: to avoid reckoning with the ways of Whiteness-even as a construction and mirage-has informed their notions of America and identity and offered them privilege, the primary one being the privilege of being inherently normal, standard, and legal."
  • "It is a racial crime to be yourself if you are not White in America. It is a racial crime to look like yourself or empower yourself if you are not White."
  • "It is one of the ironies of antiracism that we must identify racially in order to identify the racial privileges and dangers of being in our bodies."
  • "Race creates new forms of power: the power to categorize and judge, elevate and downgrade, include and exclude. Race makers use that power to process distinct individuals, ethnicities, and nationalities into monolithic races."
  • "Race making is an essential ingredient in the making of racist ideas, the crust that holds the pie. Once a race has been created, it must be filled in."
  • "The cause and effect - a racist power creates racist policies out of raw self-interest; the racist policies necessitate racist ideas to justify them - lingers over the life of racism."
Chapter 4: Biology
  • "We often see and remember the race and not the individual. This is racist categorizing, this stuffing of our experiences with individuals into color-marked racial closets. An antiracist treats and remembers individuals as individuals." 
  • "In the last decade, the term (microaggression) has become popular in social-justice spaces through the defining work of psychologist Derald Wing Sue. He defines microaggressions as 'brief, everyday exchanges that send denigrating messages to certain individuals because of their group membership."
  • "I do not use 'microaggressions' anymore...I detest its component parts - 'micro' and 'aggression.' A persistent daily low hum of racist abuse is not minor. I use the term 'abuse' because aggression is not as exacting a term. Abuse accurately describes the action and its effects on people: distress, anger, worry, depression, anxiety, pain, fatigue, and suicide."
  • "With racist teachers, misbehaving kids of color do not receive inquiry and empathy and legitimacy. We receive orders and punishments and 'no excuses,' as if we are adults. The Black child is ill-treated like an adult, and the Black adult is ill-treated like a child."
  • "Biological racists are segregationists. Biological racism rests on two ideas: that the races are meaningfully different in their biology and that these differences create a hierarchy of value."
  • "Assimilationists believe in the post-racial myth that talking about race constitutes racism, or that if we stop identifying by race, then racism will miraculously go away. They fail to realize that if we stop using racial categories, then we will not be able to identify racial inequity. If we cannot identify racial inequity, then we will not be able to identify racist policies. If we cannot identify racist policies, then we cannot challenge racist policies. If we cannot challenge racist policies, then racist power's final solution will be achieved: a world of inequity none of us can see, let alone resist. Terminating racial categories is potentially the last, not the first, step in the antiracist struggle."
  • "To be antiracist is to recognize the reality of biological inequality, that skin color is as meaningless to our underlying humanity as the clothes we wear over our skin."
  • "To be antiracist is to recognize there is no such thing as White blood or Black diseases or natural Latinx athleticism."
Chapter 5: Ethnicity
  • "When Black people make jokes that dehumanize other branches of the African diaspora, we allow that horror tory to live again in our laughs. Ethnic racism is the resurrected script of the slave trader."
  • "Throughout the 1990s, the number of immigrants of color in the United States grew, due to the combined effects of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the Refugee Act of 1980, and the Immigration Act of 1990...Between 1980 and 2000, the Latinx immigrant population ballooned from 4.2 million to 14.1 million. As of 2015, Black immigrants accounted for 8.7% of the nation's Black population, nearly triple their share in 1980."
  • ""America must be kept American," President Calvin Coolidge said when he signed the 1924 law (Immigration Act of 1924). Of course, by then American" included millions of Negros, Asians, Native, Middle Eastern, and Latinx peoples..."
  • "But Coolidge and congressional supporters determined that only immigrants from northeastern Europe - Scandinavia, the British Isles, Germany - could keep America Americans, meaning White."
  • "The fact is, all ethnic groups, once they fall under the gaze and power of race makers, become racialized."
  • "Kenyans are racialized as a Black ethnic group, while Italians are White, Japanese are Asian, Syrians are Middle Eastern, Puerto Ricans are Latinx, and Choctaws are Native American. The racializing serves the core mandate of race: to create hierarchies of value.
  • "...Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole (are referred to) as the "Five Civilized Tribe" of Native Americans, as compared to other "wild" tribes. This ranking of racialized ethnic groups within the ranking of the races creates a racial-ethnic hierarchy, a ladder of ethnic racism within the larger schema of racism."
  • "Ethnic racism, like racism itself, points to group behavior, instead of policies, as the cause of disparities between groups."
  • "The face of ethnic racism bares itself in the form of a persistent question: 'Where are you from?'"
  • "To be antiracist is to view national and transnational ethnic groups as equal in all their differences. To be antiracist is to challenge the racist policies that plague racialized ethnic groups across the world. To be antiracist is to view the inequities between all racialized ethnic groups as a problem of policy."
  • "How do I critique their double standard in ethnic racism and ignore my ethnic racism? This is the central double standard in ethnic racism: loving one's position on the ladder above other ethnic groups and hating one's position below that of other ethnic groups. It is angrily trashing the racist ideas about one's own group but happily consuming the racist ideas about other ethnic groups."
  • "In fact, immigrants and migrants of all races trend to be more resilient and resourceful when compared with the natives of their own countries and the natives of their new countries. Sociologists call this the 'migrant advantage.'"
  • "...limiting immigration to the United States from China or Italy or Senegal or Haiti or Mexico have been self-destructive to the country. With ethnic racism, no one wins, except the racist power at the top. As with all racism, that is the entire point."
Chapter 6: Body
  • "History tells the same story - Violence for White people really has too often had a Black face - and the consequences have landed on the Black body across the span of American history."
  • "This is the living legacy of racist power, constructing the Black race biologically and ethnically and presenting the Black body to the world first and foremost as a 'beast,' to use Gomes de Zurara's term, as violently dangerous, as the dark embodiment of evil."
  • "Americans today see the Black body as larger, more threatening, more potentially harmful, and more likely to require force to control than a similarly sized White body, according to research."
  • "Black people comprise 13% of the US population. And yet, in 2015, Black bodies accounted for at least 26% of those killed by police, declining slightly to 24% in 2016, 22% in 2017, and 21% in 2018, according to The Washington Post."
  • "Unarmed Black bodies - which apparently look armed to fearful officers - are about twice as likely to be killed as unarmed White bodies."
  • "Around Thanksgiving in 1995, Princeton political scientist John J. Dilulio Jr. warned of the 'coming of the super-predators,' especially young bodies like mine in 'Black inner-city neighborhoods.'"
  • "We are not meant to fear good White males with AR-15s. No, we are to fear the weary, unarmed Latinx body from Latin America. The Arab body kneeling to Allah is to be feared. The Black body from hell is to be feared. Adept politicians and crime entrepreneurs manufactured the fear and stand before voters to deliver them - messiahs who will liberate them from fear of these other bodies."
  • "Black people are apparently responsible for calming the fears of violent cops in the way women are supposedly responsible for calming the sexual desires of male rapists. If we don't, then we are blamed for our own assaults, our own deaths."
  • "A study that used National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data from 1976 to 1989 found that young Black males engaged in more violent crime than young White males. But when the researchers compared only employed young males of both races, the differences in violent behavior vanished."
  • "Communities with a higher share of long-term unemployed workers also tend to have higher rates of crime and violence."
  • "But that does not mean low-income Black people are more violent than high-income Black people. That means low-income neighborhoods struggle with unemployment and poverty - and their typical byproducts, violent crime."
  • "For decades, there have been three main strategies in reducing violent crime in Black neighborhoods. Segregationists who consider Black neighborhoods to be war zones have called for tough policing and the mass incarceration of super-predators. Assimilationists say these super-predators need tough laws and tough love from mentors and fathers to civilize them back to nonviolence. Antiracists say Black people, like all people, need more higher-paying jobs within their reach, especially Black youngsters, who have consistently had the highest rate of unemployment of any demographic group, topping 50% in the mid-1990s."
  • "There is no such thing as a dangerous racial group. But there are, of course, dangerous individuals..."
Chapter 7: Culture
  • "Ebonics - a term coined by psychologist Robert Williams in 1973 to replace racist terms like 'Nonstandard Negro English.'"
  • "Some Americans despised my Ebonics in 1996. In that year the Oakland school board recognized Black people like me as bilingual, and in an act of cultural antiracism recognized 'the legitimacy and richness' of Ebonics as a language."
  • "Enslaved Africans formulated new languages in nearly every European colony in the Americas, including African American Ebonics, Jamaican Patois, Haitian Creole, Brazilian Calunga, and Cubano. In every one of these countries, racist power - those in control of the government, academia, education, and media - has demeaned these African languages as dialects, as 'broken' or 'improper' or 'nonstandard' French, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, or English."
  • "Assimilationists have always urged Africans in the Americas to forget the 'broken' languages of Europeans - to speak 'properly.'"
  • "The idea that Black languages outside Africa are broken is as culturally racist as the idea that languages inside Europe are fixed."
  • "Whoever makes the cultural standard makes the cultural hierarchy. The act of making a cultural standard and hierarchy is what creates cultural racism."
  • "To be antiracist is to reject cultural standards and level cultural differences. Segregationists say racial groups cannot reach their superior cultural standards. Assimilationists say racial groups can, with effort and intention, reach their superior cultural standards."
  • "'If Blacks can close the civilization gap, the race problem in this country is likely to become insignificant,' Dinesh D'Souza once reasoned. 'Civilization' is often a polite euphemism for cultural racism."
  • "When we refer to a group as Black or White or another racial identity - Black Southerners as opposed to Southerners - we are racializing that group. When we racialize any group and then render that group's culture inferior, we are articulating cultural racism."
  • "To be antiracist is to see all cultures in all their differences as on the same level, as equals. When we see cultural differences, we are seeing cultural differences - nothing more, nothing less."
Chapter 8 - Behavior
  • "But asking every nonathletic Black person to become an Olympic hurdler, and blaming them when they can't keep up, is racist."
  • "One of racism's harms in the way it falls on the unexceptional Black person who is asked to be extraordinary just to survive - and, even worse, the Black screwup who faces the abyss after one error, while the White screwup is handed second chances and empathy. This shouldn't be surprising: One of the fundamental values of racism to White people is that it makes success attainable for even unexceptional Whites, while success, even moderate success, is usually reserved for extraordinary Black people."
  • "Making individuals responsible for the perceived behavior of racial groups and making whole racial groups responsible for the behavior of individuals are the two ways that behavioral racism infects our perception of the world. In other words, when we believe that a racial group's seeming success or failure redounds to each of its individual members, we accepted a racist idea."
  • "Every time someone racializes behavior - describes something as 'Black behavior' - they are expressing a racist idea. To be an antiracist is to recognize there is no such thing as racial behavior, let alone irresponsible Black behavior. Black behavior is as fictitious as Black genes. There is no 'Black gene.' No one has ever scientifically established a single 'Black behavior trait.' No evidence has ever been produced, for instance, to prove that Black people are louder, angrier, nicer, funnier, lazier, less punctual, more immoral, religious, or dependent; that Asians are more subservient; that Whites are greedier. All we have are stories of individual behavior."
  • "The use of standardized tests to measure aptitude and intelligence is one of the most effective racist policies ever devised to degrade Black minds and legally exclude Black bodies."
  • "We degrade Black minds ever time we speak of an "academic-achievement gap" based on these numbers. The acceptance of an academic-achievement gap is just the latest method of reinforcing the oldest racist idea: Black intellectual inferiority."
  • "There is an even more sinister implication in achievement-gap talk - that disparities in academic achievement accurately reflect disparities in intelligence among racial groups. Intellect is the linchpin of behavior, and the racist idea of the achievement gap is the linchpin of behavior racism."
  • "What if we measured intellect by an individual's desire to know? What id we realized the best way to ensure an effective educational system is not by standardizing our curricula and tests but by standardizing the opportunities available to all students?"
  • "In Pennsylvania, a recent statewide study found that at any given poverty level, districts with a higher proportion of White students received significantly more funding than districts with more students of color."
  • "To be antiracist is to think nothing is behaviorally wrong or right - inferior or superior - with any of the racial groups. Whenever the antiracist sees individuals behaving positively or negatively, the antiracist see exactly that: individuals behaving positively or negatively, not representatives of whole races."
  • "To be antiracist is to deracialize behavior, to remove the tattooed stereotype from every racialized body. Behavior is something humans do, not races do."
Chapter 9 - Color
  • "I wanted to be Black but did not want to look Black. I looked up to the new post-racial beauty ideal, an outgrowth of the old White beauty ideal. Lightening eye color. Killing kinks. Lightening skin color. Thinning of thickening facial features. All to reach an ideal we did not label White."
  • "It is 'white beauty repackaged with dark hair,' sociologist Margaret Hunter explains."
  • Colorism is a form of racism. To recognize colorism, we must first recognize that Light people and Dark people are two distinct racialized groups shaped by their own histories. Dark people - the unidentified racial groups of darker skins, kinky hairs, broader noses and lips - span many races, ethnicities, and nationalities. Light people sometimes pass for White and may yet be accepted into Whiteness so that White people can maintain majorities in countries like the United States, where demographic trends threaten to relegate them to minority status."
  • "Colorism is a collection of racist policies that cause inequalities between Light people and Dark people, and these inequalities are substantiated by racist ideas about Light and Dark people."
    "Colorism, like all forms of racism, rationalizes inequalities with racist ideas, claiming the inequalities between Dark people and Light people are not due to racist policies but are based in that is wrong or right with each group of people."
  • "To be antiracist is to focus on color lines as much as racial lines, knowing that color lines are especially harmful for Dark people."
  • "Anti-Dark colorism follows the logic of behavior racism, linking behavior to color, studies show. White children attribute positivity to light skin and negativity to Dark skin, a colorism that grows stronger as they get older."
  • "White people usually favor lighter-skinned politicians over darker-skinned ones. Dark African Americans students receive significantly lower GPAs than Light students."
  • "Skin color influences perceptions of attractiveness most often for Black women. As skin tone lightens, levels of self-esteem among Black women rise, especially among low- and middle-income Black women."
  • "Dark African Americans receive the harshest prison sentences and more time behind bars. White male offenders with African facial features receive harsher sentences than their all-European peers."
  • "Dark female students are nearly twice as likely to be suspended as White female students, while researchers found no disparity between Light and White female students."
  • "White people have historically employed the one-drop rule - that even one drop of Black blood makes you Black - to bar Light people from pure Whiteness."
  • "Dark people employ the two-drop rule, as I call it - two drops of White blood make you less Black - to bar Light people from pure Blackness."
  • "Light people employ the three-drop rule, as I call it - three drops of Black blood mean you're too Dark - to bar Dark people from pure Lightness."
  • "To be antiracist is to eliminate any beauty standard based on skin and eye color, hair texture, facial and bodily features shared by groups. To be antiracist is to diversify our standards of beauty like our standards of culture or intelligence, to see beauty equally in all skin colors, broad and thin noses, kinky and straight hair, light and dark eyes."
  • "Large slaveholders more often worked Light people in the house and Dark people in the fields, reasoning that Light people were suited for skilled tasks and Dark people for more physically demanding tasks."
  • "By the end of the 19th century, dozens of cities had 'Blue Vein' societies, which barred Dark people 'not white enough to show blue veins.' Light people reproduced the paper-bag test, pencil test, door test, and comb test to bar Dark people from their churches, businesses, parties, organizations, schools, and HBCUs."
Chapter 10 - White
  • "Racist ideas love believers, not thinkers."
  • "Racist ideas suspend reality and retrofit history, including our individual histories."
  • "Months before being assassinated, Malcolm X faced a fact many admirers of Malcolm X still refuse to face: Black people can be racist toward White people...Whenever someone classifies people of European descent as biologically, culturally, or behaviorally inferior, whenever someone says there is something wrong with White people as a group, someone is articulating a racist idea."
  • "The only thing wrong with White people is when they embrace racist ideas and policies and then deny their ideas and policies are racist."
  • "There is no such thing as White genes. We must separate the warlike, greedy, bigoted, and individualistic cultures of modern empires and racial capitalism from the cultures of White people."
  • "To be antiracist is to never mistake the global march of White racism for the global march of White people. To be antiracist is to never mistake the antiracist hate of White racism for the racist hate of White people. To be antiracist is to never conflate racist people with White people, knowing there are antiracist Whites and antiracist non-Whites."
  • "Of course, ordinary White people benefit from racist policies, though not nearly as much as racist power and not nearly as much as they could from an equitable society, one where the average White voter could have as much power as superrich White men to decide elections and shape policy."
  • "Racist power, hoarding wealth and resources, has the most to lose in the building of an equitable society."
  • "Racist ideas also suppress the resistance to policies that are detrimental to White people, by convincing average White people that inequity is rooted in 'personal failure' and is unrelated to policies."
  • "Racist power manipulates ordinary White people into resisting equalizing policies by drilling them on what they are losing with equalizing policies and how those equalizing policies are anti-White."
  • "Racist Americans...framed supporters of affirmative action as 'hard-core racists of reverse discrimination,' to quote former US solicitor general Robert Bork in The Wall Street Journal is 1978"
  • "When Alicia Garza typed 'Black Lives Matter' on Facebook in 2013 and when that love letter crested into a movement in 2015, former NY mayor Rudy Giuliani called the movement 'inherently racist.'"
  • "White racists do not want to define racial hierarchy or policies that yield racist inequities as racist...Instead they define policies not rigged for White people as racist."
  • "Ideas not centering White lives are racist. Beleaguered White racists who can't imagine their lives not being the focus of any movement respond to 'Black Lives Matter' with 'All Lives Matter.'"
  • "In the end, anti-White racist ideas, in taking some or all of the focus off racist power, become anti-Black. In the end, hating White people becomes hating Black people."
Chapter 11 - Black
  • "Powerless Defense: The illusory, concealing, disempowering, and racist idea that Black people can't be racist because Black people don't have power." 
  • "We were not seeing and treating Black people as individuals, some of whom do bad things: We created a group identity, n*ggers, that in turn created a hierarchy, as all race making does. We add the hypocritical audacity of raging when White people called us n*ggers."
  • "We did not place loud people who happened to be Black into an interracial group of loud people - as antiracists. We racialized the negative behavior and attached loudness to n*ggers, like White racists, as Black racists."
  • "Black minds were awakened to the ongoing reality of racism by the series of televised police killings and flimsy exonerations that followed the Obama election, the movement for Black Lives, and the eventual racist ascendency of Donald Trump."
  • "By 2017, 59% of Black people expressed the antiracist position that racism is the main reason Blacks can't get ahead (compared to 35% of Whites and 45% of Latinx)"
  • "...about 1/3rd of Black people still expressed the racist position that struggling Blacks are mostly responsible for their own condition, compared to 54% of Whites, 48% of Latinx, and 75% of Republicans"
  • "The powerless defense, as I call it, emerged in the wake of racist Whites dismissing antiracist policies and ideas as racist in the late 1960s. In subsequent decades, Black voices critical of White racism defended themselves from these charges by saying, 'Black people can't be racist, because Black people don't have power.'"
  • "This means that people of color are powerless to roll back racist policies and close racial inequities even in their own sphere of influence, the places where they actually do have some power to effect change."
  • "The powerless defense shields people of color from charges of racism even when they are reproducing racist policies and justifying them with the same racist ideas as the White people they call racist." 
  • "Every single person actually has the power to protest racist and antiracist policies, to advance them, or, in some small way, to stall them."
  • "When a Black man stepped into the most powerful office in the world in 2009, his policies were often excused by apologists who said he didn't have executive power. As if none of his executive orders were carried out, neither of his Black attorneys general had any power to roll back mass incarceration, or his Black national security adviser had any power."
  • "The truth is: Black people can be racist because Black people do have power, even if limited."
  • "White power controls the United States. But not absolutely...Ironically, the only way that White power can gain full control is by convincing us that White people already have all the power. If we accept the ideas that we have no power, we are falling under the sort of mind control that will, in fact, rob us of any power to resist."
  • "Racist ideas are constantly produced to cage the power of people who resist."
  • "Black people need to do more than revoke their 'Black card,' as we call it. We need to paste the racist card on their foreheads for all the world to see."
  • "The saying 'Black people can't be racist' reproduces the false duality of racist and not-racist promoted by White racists to deny their racism."
  • "When we stop denying the duality of racist and antiracist, we can take an accurate accounting of the racial ideas and policies we support."
  • "To color police racism as White on the pretext that only White people can be racist is to ignore the non-White officer's history of profiling and killing 'them n*ggers.'"
  • "How can the White officers involved in the deaths of Terence Crutcher, Sandra Bland, Walter L. Scott, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, and Decynthia Clements be racist but their Black counterparts be antiracist?"
  • "The Black on Black crime of internalized racism had indeed reached a critical level - this new Black-abetted focus on the crisis of 'Black crime' helped feed the growth of the movement toward mass incarceration that would wreck a generation."
Chapter 12 - Class
  • "The combination of government welfare - in the form of subsidies, highway construction, and loan guarantees - along with often racist developers opened new wealth-building urban and suburban homes to the fleeing Whites, while largely confining Black natives and new Black migrants to the so-called ghettos, now overcrowded and designed to extract wealth from their residents."
  • "But the word 'ghetto,' as it migrated to the Main Street of American vocabulary, did not conjure a series of racist policies that enabled White flight and Black abandonment - instead, 'ghetto' began to describe unrespectable Black behavior..."
  • "Poor people are a class, Black people are a race. Black poor people are a race-class."
  • "When we say poor people are lazy, we are expressing an elitist idea. When we say Black people are lazy, we are expressing a racist idea. When we say Black poor people are lazier than Whites, White elites, and Black elites, we are speaking at the intersection of elitist and racist ideas - an ideological intersection that forms class racism."
  • "When we racialize classes, support racist policies against those race-classes, and justify them by racist ideas, we are engaging in class racism."
  • "To be antiracist is to equalize the race-classes. To be antiracist is to root the economic disparities between the equal race-classes in policies, not people."
  • "Class racism is ripe among White Americans - who castigate poor Whites as 'White trash' - as it is in Black America, where racist Blacks degrade poor Blacks as 'them n*ggers' who live in ghettos."
  • "Constructs of 'ghetto Blacks' (and 'White trash') are the most obvious ideological forms of class racism."
  • "First slavery, then segregation, and now poverty and life in the 'ghetto' made Black people inferior...Poverty became perhaps the most enduring and popular injustice to fit into the oppression-inferiority thesis."
  • "For ages, racist poor Whites have enriched their sense of self on the stepladder of racist ideas, what W.E.B. DuBois famously callsed the 'wage' of Whiteness. I may not be rich, but at least I am not a n*gger."
  • "Racist Black elites, meanwhile, heightened their sense of self on the stepladder of racist ideas, on what we can call the wage of Black elitism. I may not be White, but at least I am not them n*ggers."
  • "Racist Black elites thought about low-income Blacks the way racist non-Black people thought about Black people. We thought we had more than higher incomes. We thought we were higher people."
  • "But it is impossible to know racism without understanding the intersection with capitalism."
  • "Upward mobility is greater for White people, and downward mobility is greater for Black people. And equity is nonexistent on the race-class ladder in the United States."
  • "Poor Blacks are much more likely to live in neighborhoods where other families are poor, creating a poverty of resources and opportunities. Sociologists refer to this as the 'double burden.'"
  • "DuBois helped breed a new crop of antiracist anticapitalism before they were driven underground or into prison by the red scares of the 1950s, before resurfacing in the 1960s. They are resurfacing again in the 21st century in the wake of the Great Recession, the Occupy movement, the movement for Black Lives, and the campaigns of democratic socialists, recognizing 'there is an inextricable link between racism and capitalism'..."
  • "I use 'anticapitalist' because conservative defenders of capitalism regularly say their liberal and socialist opponents are against capitalism. They say efforts to provide a safety net for all people are 'anticapitalist.' They say attempts to prevent monopolies are 'anticapitalist.' They say efforts that strengthen weak unions and weaken exploitative owners are 'anticapitalist.' They say plans to normalize worker ownership and regulations protecting consumers, workers, and environments from big business are 'anticapitalist.' They say laws taxing the richest more than the middle class, redistributing pilfered wealth, and guaranteeing basic incomes are 'anticapitalist.' They say wars to end poverty are 'anticapitalist.' They say campaigns to remove the profit motive from essential sectors like education, healthcare, utilities, mass media, and incarceration are 'anticapitalist.'" 
  • "In doing so, these conservative defenders are defining capitalism. They define capitalism as the freedom to exploit people into economic ruin; the freedom to assassinate unions; the freedom to prey on unprotected consumers, workers, and environments; the freedom to value quarterly profits over climate change; the freedom to undermine small businesses and cushion corporations; the freedom to heave the tax burden onto the middle and lower classes; the freedom to keep poor people poor and middle-income people struggling to stay middle income, and make rich people richer."
  • "To love capitalism is to end up loving racism. To love racism is to end up loving capitalism." 
Chapter 13 - Space
  • "There are multiple ways of seeing the world...But too many Black people were 'looking out' at the world from a European 'center,' which was taken as the only point from which to see the world-"
  • (Professor Ama Mazama) "taught me that the power of the spoken word is in the power of the word spoken."
  • "In my first course with Mazama, she lectured on Asante's contention that objectivity was really 'collective subjectivity.' She concluded, 'It is impossible to be objective.'"
  • "The idea of the dangerous Black neighborhood is the most dangerous racist idea. And it is powerfully misleading."
  • "when we unchain ourselves from the space racism that deracializes and normalizes and elevates White spaces, while doing the opposite to Black spaces, we will find good and bad, violence and nonviolence, in all spaces, no matter how rich or poor, Black or non-Black."
  • "Just as racist power racializes people, racist power racializes space. The ghetto. The inner city. The third world."
  • "Policies of space racialism overresource White spaces and underresource non-White spaces."
  • "People make spaces from resources. Comparing spaces across race-classes is like matching fighters from different weight classes, which fighting sports consider unfair. Poor Black neighborhoods should be compared to equally poor White neighborhoods, not to considerably richer White neighborhoods. Small Black businesses should be compared to equally small White businesses, not to wealthy White corporations."
  • "How many times did I individualize the error in White spaces, blaming the individual and not the White space? How many times did I generalize the error in Black space - in the Black church or a Black gathering - and black the Black space instead of the individual? How many time did I have a bad experience at a Black business and then walk away complaining about not the individuals involved but Black businesses as a whole?"

Other Resources:

Josh DeLozier

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