Booksmith and Berkeley Arts & Letters are thrilled to present an evening with National Book Award-winning historian and author of five consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers Dr. Ibram X. Kendi for his new book, How to Raise an Antiracist. Dr. Kendi will be joined in conversation by Emmy Award-winning comedian W. Kamau Bell, co-author of the forthcoming Do the Work! An Antiracist Activity Book.
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The tragedies and reckonings around racism that are rocking the country have created a specific crisis for parents, educators, and other caregivers: How do we talk to our children about racism? How do we teach children to be antiracist? How are kids at different ages experiencing race? How are racist structures impacting children? How can we inspire our children to avoid our mistakes, to be better, to make the world better?
These are the questions Ibram X. Kendi found himself avoiding as he anticipated the birth of his first child. Like most parents or parents-to-be, he felt the reflex to not talk to his child about racism, which he feared would stain her innocence and steal away her joy. But research and experience changed his mind, and he realized that raising his child to be antiracist would actually protect his child, and preserve her innocence and joy. He realized that teaching students about the reality of racism and the myth of race provides a protective education in our diverse and unequal world. He realized that building antiracist societies safeguards all children from the harms of racism.
Following the accessible genre of his internationally bestselling How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi combines a century of scientific research with a vulnerable and compelling personal narrative of his own journey as a parent and as a child in school. The chapters follow the stages of child development from pregnancy to toddler to schoolkid to teenager. It is never too early or late to start raising young people to be antiracist.
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News racial justice contributor. He is the host of the new action podcast Be Antiracist. Dr. Kendi is the author of many highly acclaimed books including Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, making him the youngest-ever winner of that award. He has also produced five straight #1 New York Times bestsellers, including How to Be an Antiracist, Antiracist Baby, and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored by Jason Reynolds. In 2020, Time magazine named Dr. Kendi one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He was awarded a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the Genius Grant. Author photo by Stephen Voss.
W. Kamau Bell is a dad, husband, and comedian. He directed and executive-produced the four-part Showtime documentary We Need To Talk About Cosby, which premiered at Sundance. He famously met with the KKK on his Emmy-Award-winning CNN docu-series United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell, where he serves as host and executive producer. He has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Conan, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, CBS Mornings, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Comedy Central, HBO, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, WTF with Marc Maron, The Breakfast Club, and This American Life. He has two stand-up comedy specials, Private School Negro (Netflix) and Semi-Prominent Negro (Showtime). Kamau’s writing has been featured in Time, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Hollywood Reporter, CNN.com, Salon, and The LA Review of Books. Kamau’s first book has an easy-to-remember title, The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian. He is the ACLU Artist Ambassador for Racial Justice and serves on the board of directors of Donors Choose and the advisory board of Hollaback! Author photo by John Nowak for CNN.
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