Ibram X. Kendi shot to global fame with his book How To Be an Antiracist, which reshaped the conversation about racial justice when it was published in 2019, selling over 1 million copies in the US and 100,000 copies in the UK. In July 2022 he came to the Intelligence Squared stage for an exclusive event to talk about his new book How To Raise an Antiracist.
How do we talk to our children about racism? How do we teach children to be antiracist? How do kids at different ages experience race? How are racist structures impacting children? How can we inspire our children to avoid our mistakes, to be better, to make the world better?
These are the questions Kendi found himself avoiding as he anticipated the birth of his first child. Like most parents or parents-to-be, he felt the reflex to not talk to his child about racism, which he feared would stain her innocence and steal away her joy. But, as Kendi argued, it is only by teaching our children about the reality of racism and the myth of race from the earliest age that we can actually protect them and preserve their innocence and joy. And he drew on a century of scientific research and his own compelling personal story to make his case.
Kendi was joined in conversation by BBC news presenter Razia Iqbal. Is Kendi right that no child is too young to be taught about antiracism? Or, as other African American thinkers have argued, is there a danger in making every child a representative of their race?
‘Don’t fool yourself — silence is not a helpful strategy! If you want to raise empowered, antiracist children, read this book, take a deep breath, and start talking.’—Beverly Daniel Tatum, author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? and Other Conversations About Race
‘Parents need to be proactive by developing the skills and language to understand the parenting journey of antiracism. With love, vulnerability, and the remarkable brilliance we have now come to expect in his books, Kendi walks us through this journey.’ — Bettina Love, author of We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom