Dr. Kendi presents “How to be an Anti-Racist” at Bates College

By
Christopher Bear-Beam

Dr. Abarim X. Kendi, professor & author, spoke October 23, 2017, at Bates College; I had the opportunity to attend, and wrote this blog.  The blog is divided into two parts-part I. describes the connection between Racilized policies, and racialized ideas, and the many aspects that lead to their positive reception by some people.  Part II. offers steps on how to be an anti-racist human being and in the process of growth in this mind-set.

I.

President Clayton Spenser of Bates College & Christopher Petrella, Bates College Diversity Council, introduced the highly-acclaimed Dr. Abarim X. Kendi with many affirmations for his work & scholarship, and authorship. President Spenser has been a key player in bringing speakers to the college that give us a more accurate view of racism, particularly coming from persons-of-color who’re astute observors of the world around them.

Professor Kendi has authored two books about racism in our culture: Black Campus Movements & Stamped from the Beginning. His topic tonight flowed from his second book, a highly informative look at historical racialized policies & ideas through the changing eras of the U.S.’s racism.

Dr. Kendi received his Ph.D. at Temple University, and is a professor at the American International University, and lectures in Cultural Studies. He’s also the winner of the National Book Award for Non-Fiction, as well as the Roy Rosensweig Award from the American Digital Historical Society.

Later, when this writer returned home from the lecture, I realized how in so many ways, Dr. Kendi had sort of flipped the whole notion of racism in my mind. At first the title of the lecture seemed somewhat understated, like, “how to be an efficient skate boarder,” or “how to be a good person” (wow, I don’t know if there’s any hope there for me on this one).

Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to hear Dr. Kendi speak about how racist ideas were applied, and the racist policies from which they stemmed. Racist ideas come after racialized policies. Yes, some of these ideas have always been with us, but they’ve been “costumed” differently at various historical times; when old policies or ideologies seemed unworkable (to the creators), newer, racist ideas and policies had to be designed.

He added that it appears that racialized policies & ideas, in this Modern Racism (A term coined by Valerie Batts) Era, have multiplied and amplified. They’ve de-volved into a kind of “high-end” collection of complexity-this may offer one reason as to why racism is so crazy-making in our lives & culture. Thus, these practical ideologies are often not easily understood, making it difficult for Anti-Racists to comprehend and use. We may consider all of them like huge vines that choke the life out of a tree.

Copyright: Christopher Bear-Beam October 24, 2017

(Stay tuned-Part II. will be posted next week)

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