Posted on August 17, 2020

The New Racism

David Horowitz, Frontpage Magazine, August 17, 2020

This violent spring and summer, two runaway best-sellers provided the theoretical framework for the anti-white racism that lay behind the Black Lives Matter riots. One was White Fragility, which explains that white people are racists by birth, regardless of anything they say, do, or intend.[1] The other was How To Be An Antiracist by a National Book Award recipient named Ibram X. Kendi, which The New York Times hailed as, “The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.”

How To Be An Antiracist is already a required text in schools across the nation. It is a manual on how to use flexible definitions of “hate” to demonize and destroy political opponents. How To Be An Antiracist provides a rationale for the efforts of leftwing activists to redefine racism as meaning any viewpoint that doesn’t agree with theirs. In short, it is a handbook of totalitarian ideology.

The intellectual level and factual basis of both these highly praised books are so low as to be bewildering. Kendi’s text, inspired this ribald reference from the liberal Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi: “antiracism, a quack sub-theology that in a self-clowning trick straight out of Catch-22 seeks to raise awareness about ignorant race stereotypes by reviving and amplifying them.”[2] Nonetheless Kendi’s atrocious tract has been showered with lavish patronizing praise and is number two in the nation

The success of these books (and a rash of others like the Oprah-sponsored trash – Caste, which compares America’s treatment of black to Hitler’s treatment of Jews) is explicable only in terms of the anti-American anti-white hysteria that has swept the constituencies of the political left including its high culture since the 2016 election. This hysteria has led to preposterous claims like this Kendi statement: “Racist ideas have defined our society since its beginning and can feel so natural and obvious as to be banal, but antiracist ideas remain difficult to comprehend, in part because they go against the flow of this country’s history.”

Kendi’s assertion couldn’t be more distant from historical reality. Beginning with the revolutionary declaration that “all men are created equal” in America’s birth certificate, and extending to the Emancipation Proclamation and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to a nation “conceived in liberty,” and to the 13th and 14th Amendments that abolished slavery and asserted equal rights for all Americans, and the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 that extended these rights to black citizens in the segregated South, anti-racist ideas have defined America’s aspirations and self-understanding, and have inspired its contributions to the progress of freedom all over the world. Kendi’s twisted view is the product of a virulently anti-white and anti-American university system, and elite political culture.[3] As a result, he doesn’t see the need to actually argue his case, which leads to illiterate statements like the above.

According to Kendi, there are only racists and anti-racists. There is no third alternative, such as people who are non-racists and oppose racism for that reason but don’t necessarily ascribe to the radical policies that Kendi and his friends propose. According to Kendi, “There is no such thing as a not-racist idea, only racist ideas and antiracist ideas.”[4] In other words, there is only Us and Them. Disagree with Us on policies that affect blacks and you’re a racist. And because you are a racist uttering hate speech and committing hate crimes, you and your views should be cancelled and suppressed. This, by the way, is the central theme of Antifa’s Anti-Fascist Handbook, an official justification for suppressing by any means necessary – including murder – anyone who disagrees politically with the Antifa radicals, and is therefore a racist or a fascist.[5]

In Kendi’s telling, opponents of affirmative action who are otherwise against institutional racism and believe that college admissions and job-hirings should be race neutral are actually anti-black racists.[6] And this includes people who marshal statistics to show that affirmative action race preferences actually hurt blacks. Calling everyone who disagrees with you about policy, even if they do so on behalf of blacks, racist is nonsense – and extremely dangerous. Yet this is the sum and substance of the best-selling How To Be An Antiracist, which was named “one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Time, NPR, The Washington Post,  Library Journal,  Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews.”[7]

According to Kendi, racism is not about one’s intentions towards another race, views of another race as inferior, or lumping all members of a race together without regard to their individuality or character. According to Kendi, “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas.” (Emphasis added.) This is a tautology that makes no sense. But the bottom line is clear. Anyone who disagrees politically with Ibram Kendi and the left generally is a racist.

Kendi assumes without evidence that racist policies – something he obviously can’t even define – are the cause of racial inequities. Thus, if blacks are adversely affected more than other groups by the coronavirus, “systemic racism” must be to blame, not cultural differences for example that create unhealthy conditions like obesity, the source of several co-morbidity factors for the disease. African Americans, in fact, have the highest rates of obesity of any group in the United States.[8]

Kendi defines his position as an “anti-racist” with the same tautological nonsense he has used to define racism: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” But this is an empty boast. Have affirmative action policies closed the academic performance gap between blacks and other groups? Have they led to “racial equity?” Hardly. But the fact that they don’t lead to “racial equity” is a matter of no concern to Kendi and the race crowd. To them the accusation of racism is a weapon to defeat their political adversaries, and whether it makes sense is of no concern to them.

A more perfect rationale for a one-party state would be hard to come by than Kendi’s absurdly praised gibberish. Unfortunately, this same attitude is on display in the pronouncements of the leading Democrats who vied for a presidential nomination in 2020. Almost without exception they attacked support for secure borders, opposition to immigration from terrorist states, and opposition to government controlled health care as “racism,” motivated by bigotry and hate. For Kendi and the left generally, such dissents are forms of “hate speech” because they allegedly support “oppression.” Therefore, in the name of “social justice,” they should be suppressed.

How far is Kendi ready to take this? As far as he needs to. According to Kendi, “Do-nothing climate policy is racist policy, since the predominantly non-White global south is being victimized by climate change more than the Whiter global north, even as the Whiter global north is contributing more to its acceleration.”[9] Factually, of course, this semi-literate statement (and why the caps for “Whiter?”) is garbage. While the United States has dramatically reduced its carbon footprint, India and China, two nations “of color” (as Kendi activists would say), representing nearly 3 billion people, are the chief polluters on the planet. So theirs is the greater responsibility for any damage or inconvenience their populations suffer from global warming. Worse, both of these countries have refused to accept any of the anti-pollution goals of the Paris Climate Accord (which is why Trump withdrew the United States from the pact) and are participants in the Accord only to get subsidies from the United States and other wealthy “white” countries.

Why is America a “white country”? Do its large populations of blacks, Hispanics and Asians count for nothing? Are they not part of the national conversation? Was America an anti-racist country when Obama signed the Paris Climate Accord, and did America become a racist country when Trump withdrew from the Accord? Climate change was extremely low among the concerns of voters in the 2016 election. Was it high on the lists of African Americans or Hispanics? If not, should we regard them as racists? Silly question. By definition, according to leftists “people of color” can’t be racist.

Underlying Kendi’s poor excuse for an argument about racism is the unfounded assumption that racial disparities – usually referred to by Kendi followers as “racial inequities” – are actually indications of racism, i.e., caused by racist policies. This is a leap of leftist faith which has little or (usually) no basis in reality.[10] So-called “racial inequities,” can be caused by cultural and behavioral factors, as in the disproportionate cases of coronavirus. They can also be caused by bringing up children out of wedlock and without a father in the home. But, then, pointing to realities like this is “blaming the victim” and therefore racist.

Kendi’s book would not be worth noticing if it were not for the fact that his view of race and the rationale for repression is now the view of the left generally and therefore of the culture that envelops us. All that is required is the election of a political leader who has drunk this Kool Aid – someone “ woke” like Joe Biden or Kamala Harris, and the prosecutions will begin.




[3] I have written several books on this subject, including The Professors, Indoctrination U., One-Party Classroom and Reforming Our Universities.

[4] loc. 335


[6] Ibid.



[9] Kendi, Ibram X. How to Be an Antiracist. Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. loc. 369

[10] Thomas Sowell, Discrimination and Disparities, 2019,