A lauded book about antiracism is wrong on its facts and in its assumptions

Coleman Hughes in City Journal:

Ibram X. Kendi

In 2016, Ibram X. Kendi became the youngest person ever to win the National Book Award for Nonfiction. His surprise bestseller, Stamped from the BeginningThe Definitive History of Racist Ideas, cast him in his role as an activist-historian, ambitiously attempting to make 600 years of racial history digestible in 500 pages. In his follow-up, How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi––now 37, a Guggenheim fellow, and a contributing writer at The Atlantic––reveals his personal side, weaving together memoir, polemic, and instruction as he invites the reader to join him on the frontlines of what I like to call the War on Racism.

If the book has a core thesis, it is that this war admits of no neutral parties and no ceasefires. For Kendi, “there is no such thing as a not-racist idea,” only “racist ideas and antiracist ideas.” His Manichaean outlook extends to policy. “Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity,” Kendi proclaims, defining the former as racist policies and the latter as antiracist ones.

Every policy? That question was posed to Kendi by Vox cofounder Ezra Klein, who gave the hypothetical example of a capital-gains tax cut. Most of us think of the capital-gains tax, if we think about it at all, as a policy that is neutral as regards questions of race or racism. But given that blacks are underrepresented among stockowners, Klein asked, would it be racist to support a capital-gains tax cut? “Yes,” Kendi answered, without hesitation.

More here.