Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, in conjunction with the Otter Cross-Cultural Center, held a virtual seminar concerning the active roles one must assume to pave the way to an anti-racist society. Kendi, the author of the New York Times bestseller “How to Be an Anti-racist,” delved into themes of diversity, inclusion and equity that surround the conversation of anti-racism.
Before furthering his discussion, Kendi notified the audience that the vast majority of racial inequities swarming around our society are stemmed from policies. Kendi urged the audience to become aware of these current systems and said individuals should, “organize and come together to challenge, to eliminate those racist policies and really replace them with anti-racist policies and policymakers to really build a nation and a world with antiracist power and governed with anti-racist ideas or racial equality as our common sense.”
There are inequities embedded within various social systems which cause the disproportionate treatment of an abundance of Latinx, Indigenous, and black communities. Healthcare providers, for example, are notorious for the maltreatment they have inflicted on people from black communities. Whether it be the lack of urgency when aiding their black patients or the difference in attention to the procedure they are practicing on them, it is evident that there is institutional racism ingrained within the healthcare system.
In order to dismantle the systemic racism entrenched within healthcare, Kendi said that providing Medicare and high-quality healthcare for all would be a great place to start. He seeks for the elimination of trauma deserts, in which black people, in particular, are less likely than other racial groups to live near trauma one centers where they can gain access to high-quality, life-saving care programs. Kendi said, “doctors who believe that black people have a higher threshold for pain should not be practicing medicine just as police officers who believe that black neighborhoods or black people are more dangerous certainly should not have a gun.”
It is critical to advocate for change against racist systems since they often abuse their power and therefore create corruption and oppression of the citizens they were sworn to protect. Police abolition is also an approach that Kendi believes is necessary for creating the ideal, anti-racist world.
“I don’t remember a time in America when the police were not brutal, when they were not violent, when they were not disproportionately brutal towards black, Indigenous and Latinx people,” Kendi said. “So I would advocate for the abolition of police because that’s the only way to abolish brutality.”
Lasting change can only be guaranteed through modifications in the structures that hold power over us. We must actively participate in advocating for the justice of people of color in order to assure that the changes we seek for our community and ourselves are achieved. Kendi recognized that voting is a crucial step to fight injustice and encouraged individuals to vote this upcoming November. When voting, individuals can support anti-racist laws and policies. “It’s important for everyone to realize that politics is power so we have to be involved in politics because that’s the only way we’ll be making it through,” Kendi said.