Being an Anti-Racist Essay Example


Minorities are daily affected by racism and it is an issue that must be discussed among U.S citizens. There are two perspectives on how people view racism, they either believe that racism is an issue, or they are blind to the fact that racism exists. According to a Ted Talk with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, a person is either racist or anti-racist and those who claim that they are “not racist” fall under the description of being racist. Several changes must happen to move the U.S into an anti-racist direction.

To begin, to be racist is to discriminate against someone because of their racial identity. Dr. Kendi explains that one can also be racist by “Expressing ideas that suggest certain racial groups are better or worse than others, superior or inferior than others” (Kendi). An example of a racist action is believing that “Black people are more dangerous, that black people are more criminal-like” (Kendi). It is racist to believe that someone of a specific race is “more dangerous” “more criminal-like” because one does not know them personally and should not judge them based on racial identity. On the contrary, being an anti-racist is to treat everyone the same and not assuming details about a racial group’s lifestyle. Dr. Kendi explains that an anti-racist is “expressing notions that racial groups are equals, despite any cultural or even ethnic differences” (Kendi). An anti-racist is someone who views all racial groups as equal and does not believe that specific racial groups are more common to commit certain actions. An example of an anti-racist belief “Is to believe that there’s nothing wrong or inferior about black people or any other racial group. There’s nothing dangerous about black people or any other racial group” (Kendi). Being an anti-racist goes beyond more than just believing that all racial groups are equal, but also showing actions that prove one’s beliefs. 

To continue, Dr. Kendi explains that people often misinterpret the definition of “racist” and have the wrong view on how the term should be used. He articulates that people define the term “racist” as a “fixed category” or as an “identity”, however, he justifies that racist is a descriptive term to describe one’s actions or statements rather than the term being associated to a person directly. Dr. Kendi explains that the statement “not racist” does not make one an anti-racist, “A not racist is a racist who is in denial, and an anti-racist is someone who is willing to admit the times in which they are being racist, and who is willing to recognize the inequities and the racial problems of our society” (Kendi). As explained by Dr. Kendi, one who claims that they are “not racist” are afraid to be categorized as racist, but in reality, racist is a descriptive term and those who say they are “not racist” do not want to accept that they commit racist actions. 

Furthermore, several changes need to happen to move the U.S in an anti-racist direction. People who claim that they are “not racist” need to start accepting when they commit racist actions, “The heartbeat of racism is denial, and really the heartbeat of anti-racism is confession” (Kendi). As explained by Dr. Kendi, people need to stop denying when racist actions happen and start being anti-racist by accepting mistakes and trying to change. Also, Dr. Kendi explains that white Americans need to realize and understand that white privilege exists and that it gives them an advantage over minorities. He explains that white Americans need to start having conversions about racism among themselves so that many Americans can be enlightened on the current issue and start moving in an anti-racist direction.

Lastly, throughout the Ted Talk, Dr. Kendi talked about many areas and issues of racism and all of his claims are reasonably true and worth arguing for and the most important claim from Dr. Kendi is “To be anti-racist is to admit when we expressed a racist idea” (Kendi). This claim is most important because everyone makes mistakes and being able to admit when one has committed a racist action shows that one truly cares about moving in an anti-racist direction. “When we make a mistake, we just own up to it and say, ‘You know what, that was a racist idea. You know what, I was supporting a racist policy, but I’m going to change.’” (Kendi). All it takes for one to be an anti-racist is to be truthful and honest.

As a result of Dr. Kendi’s Ted Talk, a person is either racist or anti-racist and people who claim that they are “not racist” are considered racist. Racism is the act of discriminating against someone because of their racial identity. An anti-racist is someone that opposes racism and believes that all races are equal. People who claim that they are “not racist” are considered racist because they are in denial of racist actions. Also, the changes that must happen to move the U.S in an anti-racist direction is people need to start being honest when they commit a racist action and privileged white Americans need to start discussing racism among themselves. Therefore, if we work together to eliminate racism to be anti-racist, then all racial groups will truly have equal opportunities in the U.S.

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