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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 15

A downloadable copy of this guide can be found here.

Goals for Chapter 15

  • Understand the interconnection of homophobia and racism
  • Define patriarchy
  • Analyze how the patriarchy is used to maintain racial hierarchies

Please note:

Conversations about sexual violence and its intersection with racial violence can be particularly triggering. Please approach this meeting with the assumption that at least one person in the room is a survivor of sexual violence (statistics), and commit to following these best practices:

  • Commit to following the group agreements.

  • Avoid generalized statements; speak about your own experiences rather than applying your experience to another person

  • Be mindful of triggers. Consider discussing how to tell the difference between being triggered (a physiological trauma response) and being uncomfortable with the content.

  • Check in with each other’s wellbeing throughout the meeting, not just at the beginning.

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?
  • How are homophobia and racism interconnected?
  • How has the idea of the Black gay man as hypersexual contributed to his oppression? How is sexuality used against Black people in general?
  • On page 198, Kendi writes about Yaba and Kaila’s “intellectual attacks”, saying “I call them attacks, but in truth they were defenses, defending Black womanhood and the humanity of queer Blacks.”
    • How does reframing their response to patriarchal and racist ideas as “defenses” affect your understanding and acceptance of what Yaba and Kaila were trying to do?
    • How might this come up at work?
  • Discuss Kendi’s comments about the patriarchal woman. How might a white woman use the patriarchy to maintain racial hierarchies?
  • On page 200, Kendi writes, “But this world scared me like they scared me. Opened by them, I learned, though -- and eventually I wanted to help them create that new world.”
    • What aspects of the world he’s talking about scares you? What parts are you excited about?
  • How can we ensure that queer spaces on campus are safe for all Black people too?

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?