Ibram X. Kendi, professor at Boston University, discusses racism in America – “The Takeout”

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In this week’s episode of “The Takeout” podcast, CBS News Washington chief correspondent Major Garrett spoke with Boston University professor Ibram X. Kendi, author of ” How to be an anti-racist “and” Stamped from the Beginning “, from his heritage in America.

Kendi observes a tendency among people who support racist policies to say that they are not personally racist; he argues that racism should not be defined “in a way that exonerates us”, but rather “on the basis of evidence and material reality”.

“[A] racist is someone who expresses an idea of ​​racial hierarchy or who supports a policy that leads to racial inequality. An anti-racist is the complete opposite: someone who expresses an idea of ​​racial equality, or who supports a policy that leads to racial equity, ”Kendi told Garrett. By this definition, anyone who supports a policy that results in racial inequality is racist.

“We’ve been taught throughout the history of this nation that the reason some racial groups have more is because they’ve worked harder, it’s because they’re smarter, and other groups have less because they haven’t worked as hard, they aren’t as smart. And so, as a people, we have not commonly recognized that in reality racial groups are equal. , and the reason some groups have more or less is because of bad politics, ”Kendi said.

Kendi also briefly touched on the recent controversy surrounding “Critical Race Theory,” an academic framework that postulates that racism is a social construct embedded in the country’s legal, economic and political systems. Several states have considered ban critical theory of race to be taught in schools, with some conservatives fearing this would teach that whites are inherently racist.

“It’s really unfortunate, because anyone who has studied Critical Race Theory – what we know is that if it teaches someone not to like something, it will teach them not to like racism. “Kendi said.

He explained how white supremacy has always been detrimental to white Americans, as well as black Americans. Kendi spoke of the poor whites of the pre-war South “whose poverty was directly linked to a few thousand slave families,” and of the many poor, working-class whites also aggrieved by the Jim Crow laws because they could not. not pass the literacy tests. He linked this to the multitude of recent laws under consideration or passed in Republican-led states that would restrict voting rights.

“In the next election, you’re going to have white people struggling to vote, because of a series of voter suppression policies,” Kendi said. “I think it’s important for white Americans, for people of color, to realize that by creating more equitable policies for the community, we are going to benefit because we are members of the community.”

One of the scorching moments in our culture was last year, when the cellphone video of George Floyd pinned to the ground as a white policeman knelt on his neck for over nine minutes sparked months protests against police brutality and racial violence.

“I think for a lot of people, looking at George Floyd’s murder, his slow murder, they just couldn’t deny it anymore. They couldn’t deny that there was a huge problem that a police officer could literally kill. someone like that in broad daylight and then even later he’ll pretend he wasn’t guilty, “Kendi said. Derek Chauvin, the white cop who knelt on Floyd’s neck, was convicted of murder by a jury in April.

Kendi also referred to the Juneteenth, which was officially made a federal holiday Thursday when President Biden signed the bill. Kendi said companies that have recently sought to celebrate the day and emphasize its importance must do more to truly change systemic race issues in the country.

“There is no easy way out of racism,” Kendi said.

To learn more about Major’s conversation with Kendi, download the “The Takeout” podcast on Art19, iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher. New episodes are available every Friday morning. Additionally, you can watch “The Takeout” on CBSN Friday at 5, 9, and 12 a.m. ET and Saturday at 1, 9, and 12 a.m. ET. For a full archive of “The Takeout” episodes, visit www.takeoutpodcast.com. And you can listen to “The Takeout” on some CBS News Radio affiliates (check your local listings).

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