Posts in Essays
A History of Race and Racism in America, in 24 Chapters

New York Times
FEBRUARY 22, 2017

Many Americans might not know the more polemical side of race writing in our history. The canon of African-American literature is well established. Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, James Baldwin are familiar figures. Far less so is Samuel Morton (champion of the obsolete theory of polygenesis) or Thomas Dixon (author of novels romanticizing Klan violence). It is tempting to think that the influence of those dusty polemics ebbed as the dust accumulated. But their legacy persists, freshly shaping much of our racial discourse.

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EssaysIbram Kendi
The Book That Made Me: Learn How to Love

Public Books
JANUARY 23, 2017

I think I first read All About Love sometime in 2010. I had just earned my doctorate and was stepping into my career as a professor. At 28 years old, I was also stepping into a conscious understanding of who I was: I was consciously trying to understand who I wanted to be, and what I wanted to be. Every draft of myself contained the chapter of love. 

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EssaysIbram Kendi
Why Standardized Tests Have Standardized Postracial Ideology

Academe
NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2016

Barack Obama’s presidency will forever be connected to postracial ideology. The postracial idea that racism has been marginalized or eradicated came of age during the early years of his tenure in office. It was mortally wounded during the final years of his presidency by a rash of police shootings and Black Lives Matter protests.

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EssaysIbram Kendi
Brother to Brother: An Open Letter to Nate Parker

Black Perspectives
AUGUST 22, 2016

Dear Brother Nate: I write to you as my brother because I cannot think of anything else to call you but my brother. When I learned about how you and your friend were tried for raping an intoxicated fellow student at Pennsylvania State University in 1999, the anger, embarrassment, and shame I felt were feelings I would feel for a family member.

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EssaysIbram Kendi
Racism Is Not a Teaching Tool

The Chronicle
MAY 30, 2016

Black lives in the United States are surrounded by memorials to people who did not think that black lives mattered. That is a fact of black life in America. That is a fact of black life in American academe.

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EssaysIbram Kendi
The 15 most racist Oscar films of all time: Here’s why #OscarsSoWhite is not a surprise

Salon
FEBRUARY 24, 2016

A whopping zero Black people were nominated in the individual acting categories for the upcoming 88th Academy Awards. And the Academy’s recent pledge to double its non-White members has hardly calmed the storm of dissent surrounding the So White Oscars. Jada Pinkett Smith still plans to boycott the Oscars. Other Black stars are being courted by the Academy to appear as presenters.

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EssaysIbram Kendi
On the Racist Ideas Jesse Owens Could Not Outrun

Black Perspectives
FEBRUARY 21, 2016

It is always quite difficult for me to watch Hollywood biopics on celebrated African Americans figures. Too many of these figures have been wrapped tightly in myth and hyperbole, and these films often wrap them ever tighter. Rarely do the true and complete stories of these historic figures appear on the big screen.

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EssaysIbram Kendi
Reclaiming MLK’s Unspeakable Nightmare: The Progression of Racism in America

AAIHS.org
JANUARY 22, 2016

When Americans remember Martin Luther King Jr., we first and foremost remember his “dream” that “my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” And when we celebrate and observe King’s dream from the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, we celebrate and observe America’s march of racial progress over the last five decades.

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EssaysIbram Kendi