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How to Be an Anti-Racist Book Club Guide

This guide includes the curriculum you need to run a book club based on Ibram X. Kendi's How to Be an Anti-Racist, as well as supplementary reading and videos.

Introduction & Chapter 1

A downloadable copy of this guide can be found here.

Goals for Introduction/Chapter 1

  • Be able to define and differentiate racism and anti-racism
  • Begin to build rapport with the discussion group
  • Identify policies at ones’ institution that may be racist or anti-racist

Discussion Questions

Learning about the people in the group

  • Tell us about your journey here. What are you hoping to learn? What are you hoping to do with what you learn?
  • How would you rate your comfort in talking about race?

Questions about the book

  • Thinking back before you read this chapter - how would you have defined racism? How would you have described a racist? Does Dr Kendi’s definition change how you think about racists?

Definitions for reference:
One who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea.
Antiracist: One who is supporting an antiracist policy through their actions or expressing an antiracist idea.

  • Were any of the definitions new to you? Do you agree or disagree with them? Why?
  • Dr Kendi quotes Audre Lorde as saying, “We have all been programmed to respond to the human differences between us with fear and loathing and to handle that different in one of three ways: ignore it, and if that is not possible, copy it if we think it is dominant, or destroy it if we think it is subordinate. But we have no patterns for relating across our human differences as equals.” (p. 23)
    • Tell us how you respond to this quote. What does this mean to you?
  • “All policies are either racist or antiracist.” Discuss this statement. What does this mean for librarians? (if you want to read deeper, you might start here)

Going further

  • Think through the policies at your institution. Are there any that you see that may be racist or anti-racist?
  • What is a specific action you can take in the next week that is anti-racist?

Wrap up

  • What worked today?
  • What didn’t work?