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The Antiracist: How to Start the Conversation about Race and Take Action

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What would happen if people started moving beyond the conversation and took action to combat racism?   We are in an era where many Americans express the sentiment, “I thought we were past that,” when a public demonstration of racism comes across their radar. Long before violence committed by police was routinely displayed on jumbotrons publicizing viral executions, the Bla What would happen if people started moving beyond the conversation and took action to combat racism?   We are in an era where many Americans express the sentiment, “I thought we were past that,” when a public demonstration of racism comes across their radar. Long before violence committed by police was routinely displayed on jumbotrons publicizing viral executions, the Black community has continually tasted the blood from having police boots in their mouths, ribs, and necks. The widespread circulation of racial injustices is the barefaced truth hunting us down, forcing us to confront the harsh reality—we haven’t made nearly as much racial progress as we thought.   The Antiracist: How to Start the Conversation about Race and Take Action, will compel readers to focus on the degree in which they have previously, or are currently contributing to the racial inequalities in this country (knowingly or unknowingly), and ways they can become stronger in their activism.    The Antiracist is an explosive indictment on injustice, highlighted by Kondwani Fidel, a rising young literary talent, who offers a glimpse into not only the survival required of one born in a city like Baltimore, but how we can move forward to tackle violent murders, police brutality, and poverty.   Throughout it all, he pursued his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore, while being deeply immersed in his community—helping combat racism in schools by getting students to understand the importance of literacy and critical thinking. With his gift for storytelling, he measures the pulse of injustice, which is the heartbeat of this country.  


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What would happen if people started moving beyond the conversation and took action to combat racism?   We are in an era where many Americans express the sentiment, “I thought we were past that,” when a public demonstration of racism comes across their radar. Long before violence committed by police was routinely displayed on jumbotrons publicizing viral executions, the Bla What would happen if people started moving beyond the conversation and took action to combat racism?   We are in an era where many Americans express the sentiment, “I thought we were past that,” when a public demonstration of racism comes across their radar. Long before violence committed by police was routinely displayed on jumbotrons publicizing viral executions, the Black community has continually tasted the blood from having police boots in their mouths, ribs, and necks. The widespread circulation of racial injustices is the barefaced truth hunting us down, forcing us to confront the harsh reality—we haven’t made nearly as much racial progress as we thought.   The Antiracist: How to Start the Conversation about Race and Take Action, will compel readers to focus on the degree in which they have previously, or are currently contributing to the racial inequalities in this country (knowingly or unknowingly), and ways they can become stronger in their activism.    The Antiracist is an explosive indictment on injustice, highlighted by Kondwani Fidel, a rising young literary talent, who offers a glimpse into not only the survival required of one born in a city like Baltimore, but how we can move forward to tackle violent murders, police brutality, and poverty.   Throughout it all, he pursued his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore, while being deeply immersed in his community—helping combat racism in schools by getting students to understand the importance of literacy and critical thinking. With his gift for storytelling, he measures the pulse of injustice, which is the heartbeat of this country.  

30 review for The Antiracist: How to Start the Conversation about Race and Take Action

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ellie

    A powerful indictment of racism and plea for justice and equity. Fidel describes how racism operates in this country through the lens of his experience growing up in Baltimore. He expresses rage, heartbreak, determination and more about the multiple tragedies caused by racism, the early deaths from despair and lack of access to a decent quality of life, from violence and murder--including those committed by the police. His voice is passionate, breaking into poetry at times. How could anyone read t A powerful indictment of racism and plea for justice and equity. Fidel describes how racism operates in this country through the lens of his experience growing up in Baltimore. He expresses rage, heartbreak, determination and more about the multiple tragedies caused by racism, the early deaths from despair and lack of access to a decent quality of life, from violence and murder--including those committed by the police. His voice is passionate, breaking into poetry at times. How could anyone read this and not feel compelled to take action? To end this on-going horror and make our country the good and beautiful one we want it to be?

  2. 4 out of 5

    Toria

    An important book to read it doesn't matter how many books like this you read, there is always something new to learn and things to read about again. It was very readable and informative in an easy understandable way An important book to read it doesn't matter how many books like this you read, there is always something new to learn and things to read about again. It was very readable and informative in an easy understandable way

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    I am ambivalent about The Antiracist. Much of it is written in Black, urban vernacular, which I find more difficult to take seriously than Kendi's more middle class language and discussion of similar ideas. Fidel also describes engaging in using drugs, stealing, and other things that make this middle class White woman uncomfortable. Fidel also discusses racist ideas, policies, and attitudes – from inside and outside the Black community – as the root cause of problems in urban Baltimore, without I am ambivalent about The Antiracist. Much of it is written in Black, urban vernacular, which I find more difficult to take seriously than Kendi's more middle class language and discussion of similar ideas. Fidel also describes engaging in using drugs, stealing, and other things that make this middle class White woman uncomfortable. Fidel also discusses racist ideas, policies, and attitudes – from inside and outside the Black community – as the root cause of problems in urban Baltimore, without also talking about personal responsibility. Clearly, racist ideas and policies have led to a range of pervasive problems and have been unrecognized or even initially cheered (e.g., tough stands on some kinds of drugs). We shouldn't underestimate those obstacles, but we shouldn't underestimate the opportunities either. Fidel described both, although focused on the former. I'm not sure how you highlight obstacles and also acknowledge the role of personal responsibility, especially in an environment that creates hopelessness and that may make it difficult to see and take advantage of opportunities. I was uncomfortable while reading The Antiracist, which I don't see as a bad thing. We must identify and name problems before we can change them. If we can contextualize the problem, we can intervene more appropriately than if we only see the problem as an individual one. Unfortunately, for me, this book was mistitled. I'd like to be able to talk more effectively about race and racist ideas and policies with my White and Black friends. I imagined being able to sit down with someone with a very different perspective than mine to listen to and work through our differences and move toward something better. I'm not sure that this book fosters that kind of discussion but, instead, asserted problems and solutions. Most of these problems and solutions I'd seen and considered elsewhere – dirt bikes being an exception. I suspect that Fidel's rhetoric would play well with a Black readership and, while I want to be part of the change, I also wanted a more nuanced answer. Although The Antiracist may be an excellent choice for some audiences, How to be an Antiracist and Caste are better choices for me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    In a similar vein to the writing of his friend D Watkins, Fidel gives you a series of painful and striking looks into his world. I think the title is slightly misleading, but set that aside and just go where he takes you. If you want to be antiracist, he seems to be saying, you need to know about all this up front. His brief profiles of the founders of the Baltimore Ceasefire and the Cool Tuesdays workout club were inspiring, and the last few essays seemed to become more urgent and emotional to In a similar vein to the writing of his friend D Watkins, Fidel gives you a series of painful and striking looks into his world. I think the title is slightly misleading, but set that aside and just go where he takes you. If you want to be antiracist, he seems to be saying, you need to know about all this up front. His brief profiles of the founders of the Baltimore Ceasefire and the Cool Tuesdays workout club were inspiring, and the last few essays seemed to become more urgent and emotional to close the book with power. The essay about the effect on black people of the constant viral videos of black people being murdered was thought provoking - can't we get the motivation to do better without turning social media into a daily lynching? I would love to see a collaboration between Fidel, Watkins, and photographer Devin Allen about Baltimore - I don't even care what the focus is, I would just love to see all their talents at work together.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Jiardini

    The storytelling narrative is heart-wrenching and the wording sublime in this account of the author's life growing up in Baltimore. He details the violence and poverty of his Black neighborhood, overly watched by the police and underfunded by the city and state. He compares this to White areas in the city, which are well protected and well funded. He challenges the reader to rethink "good" and "bad" or "dangerous" neighborhoods as being a racist idea. There are not an overwhelming amount of bad The storytelling narrative is heart-wrenching and the wording sublime in this account of the author's life growing up in Baltimore. He details the violence and poverty of his Black neighborhood, overly watched by the police and underfunded by the city and state. He compares this to White areas in the city, which are well protected and well funded. He challenges the reader to rethink "good" and "bad" or "dangerous" neighborhoods as being a racist idea. There are not an overwhelming amount of bad people in "poor" neighborhoods, nor overwhelmingly good in "rich" neighborhoods. Altogether, it was heartbreaking to realize the level of stress and poverty of living in such an environment as he and many Blacks do. And though I have a vague idea that change is better than apology, I'm still left wondering, what I, as a White woman can do to change the situation. What would I know about it and why would anyone trust me to be able to help? I will keep searching for the answer or hope for an epiphany.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cija Jefferson

    Kondwani Fidel’s The Antiracist is “a guide to starting a conversation about race & taking action.” What makes this book unique is the fact that the author is speaking for himself layering in the experiences he’s had growing up in Baltimore. This book resonated for me because Fidel anchored the book w/ personal stories laced w/ historical references. This is a timely resource made for discussion so pick up a copy or several. It would be a perfect pick for a school, work, or book club. There’s ev Kondwani Fidel’s The Antiracist is “a guide to starting a conversation about race & taking action.” What makes this book unique is the fact that the author is speaking for himself layering in the experiences he’s had growing up in Baltimore. This book resonated for me because Fidel anchored the book w/ personal stories laced w/ historical references. This is a timely resource made for discussion so pick up a copy or several. It would be a perfect pick for a school, work, or book club. There’s even a handy notes section in the back so you can write down what resonates for you.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Allison

    An important read for every American, especially white Americans living in or near Baltimore City. This book highlights the reality and struggles that Black people suffer on a daily basis and the systemic injustices that remain in place that inhibit real change.

  8. 5 out of 5

    melhara

    First of all, I felt like the audiobook was poorly narrated - the narrator had a dull, monotonous and boring reading voice which took away from the serious and emotional content. The narrator also read the poetry in the most dispassionate tone. Secondly, I think the title of this book was quite misleading and may have been mistitled. This book was primarily a memoir about the racial injustice in Baltimore and was not a book about "how to start the conversation about race and take action." For bo First of all, I felt like the audiobook was poorly narrated - the narrator had a dull, monotonous and boring reading voice which took away from the serious and emotional content. The narrator also read the poetry in the most dispassionate tone. Secondly, I think the title of this book was quite misleading and may have been mistitled. This book was primarily a memoir about the racial injustice in Baltimore and was not a book about "how to start the conversation about race and take action." For books about starting the conversation and taking actions, I would recommend Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man and Me and White Supremacy. Finally, the contents of this book were also highly repetitive and rather unorganized. The only parts of the book I found interesting was learning about racism in the context of Baltimore (the Black community in Baltimore, the author's experience growing up in Baltimore, and the misuse of power by the Baltimore Police Department). Overall, I was disappointed with this audiobook book because it was not what I was expecting, nor did I feel like the target audience. I think this book may be intended for Black readers and is more of a call-to-action for other Black people and residents of Baltimore. I would recommend checking out the physical or ebook version of this book (not the audiobook!) if you want to learn about racism in Baltimore.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    This book wasn’t what I expected from the title. I was expecting a dry dissertation on race that ended in a call to action, but instead this book is a powerful collection of personal stories that relate to larger concepts of education, poverty, police violence, etc. that are central to conversations of systemic racism in America and Baltimore specifically. Now, I’m a white transplant to the city, who’s lived in Baltimore for about eight years, and the concept of the two Baltimores is overwhelmin This book wasn’t what I expected from the title. I was expecting a dry dissertation on race that ended in a call to action, but instead this book is a powerful collection of personal stories that relate to larger concepts of education, poverty, police violence, etc. that are central to conversations of systemic racism in America and Baltimore specifically. Now, I’m a white transplant to the city, who’s lived in Baltimore for about eight years, and the concept of the two Baltimores is overwhelmingly true. This really is a mostly segregated city, and every white person who claims to love this city should read this book ASAP. Besides being a beautiful collection of writing and some truly incredible descriptions of townhome life, this book shows personal realities, which help to ground some abstract concepts into moments and interactions that instill empathy without feeling like a lecture (this isn’t to say some white folks wouldn’t be better off with a good lecturing though). There’s a lot of sadness in this book, but there’s also a fierce sense of beauty and strength and power, and I won’t forget this book for a long, long time.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    Kondwani Fidel uses examples from his life and the research he's done to connect all the ways that institutional racism harms Black communities. From the school system to policing to food deserts to trauma, he makes it clear that "boot-strapping" isn't an option. Supporting distribution of resources and organizations doing work in the community (like B-360 and Baltimore Ceasefire 365) are steps in an anti-racist direction. Fidel also makes the painful connection of systemic racism to suicide and Kondwani Fidel uses examples from his life and the research he's done to connect all the ways that institutional racism harms Black communities. From the school system to policing to food deserts to trauma, he makes it clear that "boot-strapping" isn't an option. Supporting distribution of resources and organizations doing work in the community (like B-360 and Baltimore Ceasefire 365) are steps in an anti-racist direction. Fidel also makes the painful connection of systemic racism to suicide and drug abuse. Fidel is also such a poetic writer--you'll be turning what he writes in your head for hours. I missed the special order of My Home is Is a Noiseless Gun, and though I don't know if it's the same as the May 2020 release, it is a chapter. A thing I remind myself constantly: anti-racism is not self improvement. It's about seeing, never unseeing, then finding ways to concretely make change in small interactions to policy change.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I really liked this book, but it definitely felt more like a mix of personal experiences, poetry/ art, and quotes from other BLM books that I have already read than a "how to start the conversation" type of book. Without that misleading title this would probably have been 5 stars for me. I loved learning about the projects in the book, and there are stories that will break your heart. People should read this if only to realize how our government will spend billions at the drop of a hat on prison I really liked this book, but it definitely felt more like a mix of personal experiences, poetry/ art, and quotes from other BLM books that I have already read than a "how to start the conversation" type of book. Without that misleading title this would probably have been 5 stars for me. I loved learning about the projects in the book, and there are stories that will break your heart. People should read this if only to realize how our government will spend billions at the drop of a hat on prisons yet it will take at least 5 years to find funds to get air conditioning and heat in elementary schools. It makes me fume.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dermaine Walker

    The Antiracist is a uniquely fierce mix of half memoir and half essay. Author Kondwani Fidel uses his very own experiences to unmask the tragic yet inescapable realities for Baltimore city youth. His urgent words expose many ugly truths about one of America's most culturally captivating cities, while giving a glimpse into how to rectify these tragic situations. His suggestions on recovery as well as his report on events both recent and current are as relevant today as they will be for years to c The Antiracist is a uniquely fierce mix of half memoir and half essay. Author Kondwani Fidel uses his very own experiences to unmask the tragic yet inescapable realities for Baltimore city youth. His urgent words expose many ugly truths about one of America's most culturally captivating cities, while giving a glimpse into how to rectify these tragic situations. His suggestions on recovery as well as his report on events both recent and current are as relevant today as they will be for years to come. Full review can be read at: https://www.dermaine.com/post/review-...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Donna Bijas

    “Racist ideas undermine and devalue our shared humanity, whereas Antiracist ideas, perspectives, and resulting actions value and respect cultural and physical differences among and within all racial groups. These differences should not threaten anyone’s freedoms in this country or anywhere.” So says Mr. Fidel in this outstanding book which , while very personal, expands upon the other Antiracist books out now, particularly Dr. Kendi. This was sad and heartbreaking for me, to see how little Black “Racist ideas undermine and devalue our shared humanity, whereas Antiracist ideas, perspectives, and resulting actions value and respect cultural and physical differences among and within all racial groups. These differences should not threaten anyone’s freedoms in this country or anywhere.” So says Mr. Fidel in this outstanding book which , while very personal, expands upon the other Antiracist books out now, particularly Dr. Kendi. This was sad and heartbreaking for me, to see how little Black Lives Matter in the poorer section of Baltimore, where Mr. Fidel lives.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sascz Herrmann

    Everyone should read this book This is a book that everyone should read. I've lived near Baltimore for years, but this book and a few others have opened my eyes to the racism in the system and what to do about it. Everyone should read this book This is a book that everyone should read. I've lived near Baltimore for years, but this book and a few others have opened my eyes to the racism in the system and what to do about it.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    Good book! Great ideas put into words. A bit of repetition in some aspects but turns out to be worth the read. Look forward to another book in the future.

  16. 4 out of 5

    James

    Beautiful and raw story. The writing flowed so well and was so powerful. Highly recommend.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brantz Woolsey

    This book is amazing. My friend Tristen recommended it to me. We have lots of work to do and everyone needs to work to more actively antiracist.

  18. 5 out of 5

    John Baker

    A 3-1/2 ⭐️ book! Startling book about the racism and white supremacy in Baltimore! Brutal and violent stories of Kondwani Fidel growing up on the streets of Baltimore!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matt Ellis

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alex Carroll

  21. 4 out of 5

    Abbie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sawyer Hicks

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rashida Snowden

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christine

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dot

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

  29. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  30. 5 out of 5

    Julia Ellis

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