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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.

Chapter 8

A downloadable copy of this guide can be found here.

Goals for Chapter 2

  • Identify racialized behavior, both in general and personally
  • Compare and contrast the differing definitions of post-traumatic slave syndrome
  • Understand the racist history of standardized testing

Discussion Questions

Go over the group agreements, then discuss the following questions:

  • How has it been for you since the last meeting? Did anything from the book stick with you during that time?
  • What were your “aha!” moments while reading this chapter?
  • “Racial-group behavior is a figment of the racist’s imagination.” In what ways does this ring true? What figments of imagination do you find hard to let go of?
  • If you have racialized any behavior (as we all do), talk about how this reading challenged those ideas.
  • “The use of standardized tests to measure aptitude and intelligence is one of the most effective racist policies ever devised to degrade Black minds and legally exclude Black bodies.” (p101). What does this mean for us as an institution of higher learning? What can we do in our daily work to mitigate this?
  • “For Professor Kendi a racist idea is one that assumes black inferiority and an anti-racist idea is one that asserts black equality.  For Professor DeGruy, a racist idea is one that harms black (and white) people and an anti-racist idea is one that heals black (and white) people.  Still another definition might hold that a racist idea reinforces racial/social hierarchies and an anti-racist idea undermines existing hierarchies.   In this last definition where would PTSS stand?” (from the article by Guy Emerson Mount, linked above)
    • What do you think about these different definitions?
    • Is it important to have the same definition, or is there a benefit to these various definitions?
    • What does the fact that multiple definitions exist tell you about race relations?

Wrap up: Depending on time, you may ask people to put these in chat

  • What is a specific action you can take in the next week that is anti-racist?
  • What worked today? What didn’t work?