What an amazing book. I feel like I took a college course on the racism of Blacks in America. This book is a deep dive into a complex topic examining historical, political, and sociological underpinnings of systemic racism.
I loved the way it was structured in five parts with each focusing on a different person: From Puritan minister Cotton Mather to Thomas Jefferson, from abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison to brilliant scholar W.E.B. Du Bois to legendary anti-prison activist Angela Davis. Dr. Kendi deconstructs the ongoing debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists over hundreds of years of American history. If you’re looking for a seminal work that will really help you understand the historical perspective of racism in America, including the root of racist ideas and how they became engrained in our cultural thinking, policies, laws and practices, this book delivers. I particularly liked learning about the genesis of anti-racist ideas and how those played out over time.
If you’re looking for a more accessible book, I recommend his more recent book, How To Be An Anti Racist. That is more of a how-to personal development book. It’s much shorter, and while it doesn’t go into the deep historical research that this book does, it covers some of the same ideas and principles.