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Is "not racist" the same as "antiracist"?

Being antiracist is different from being “not racist” or “non-racist.” Antiracism is a positive term that describes people who actively work to understand, explain, and solve racial inequity and injustice. Unlike racist or antiracist, there is no consistent definition for “not racist”1. A movement or idea can be described as racist or antiracist but labeling something as “not racist” conveys a defensive and equivocal posture.

Racist and antiracist are not permanent identities. Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, leading scholar of racism and professor at Boston University, describes that they “are like peelable name tags that are placed or replaced based on what someone is doing or not doing, supporting or expressing in each moment”2.

We can be antiracist by re-examining the social structures that we support, rethinking our implicit core beliefs about race and interracial social relations, and working with our BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) peers against systemic racism. Making conscious decisions toward antiracism will contribute to building an equitable society for all. 

To learn more:

Selected References
  1. National Museum of African American History and Culture. Being Antiracist [cited 2020 September 20, 2020]

  2. Kendi, I.X., How to Be an Antiracist. 2019: Random House Publishing Group.

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