Introduction to Anti-Racism

Author and historian Ibram X. Kendi claims there’s no such thing as being 'not racist.' He explains that even inaction (simply being ‘not racist’) in the face of racism is, in fact, a form of racism. The idea of an innocent bystander is wishful thinking for Kendi; instead, there’s only racism and antiracism: If racism means both racist action and inaction in the face of racism, then antiracism means active participation in combating racism in all forms. As Dr. Kendi states, “You don’t have to be a racist to make a decision that advances racial inequities.”

Kendi thinks “racist” should be treated as a plain, descriptive term for policies and ideas that create or justify racial inequities, not a personal attack. Someone is being racist when he or she endorses a racist idea or policy. Second, he doesn’t acknowledge “not racist” as a category. At all times, people are being either racist or anti-racist; in Kendi’s view, “there is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.’ ” Through his scholarship, Kendi has traced nearly six centuries of racist and anti-racist ideas. He could not do the same for “not racist.” It’s an identity without content.

All policies, even the most trivial, are either racist or anti-racist, he argues — they support equity or they don’t. A do-nothing approach to climate change is racist because climate change overwhelmingly affects people of color on the planet. Forgiving student debt and offering universal health care would be anti-racist policies because people of color are more likely to have student debt or lack health care, so those policies would lessen if not erase those inequities.



Monthly Superintendent Updates

Anti-Racist Initiatives

  • Incident Response: Improved response system for student reports of racist and other inappropriate behavior by adult staff members
  • Anti-Racism: Develop anti-racism & racial equity statement
  • Staff Training: Mandatory staff training and professional learning strategy on anti-racism and racial equity issues
  • Office of Equity: Dedicated office focused on racial equity, reporting directly to Superintendent
  • Curriculum Review: Review curriculum for cultural responsiveness, historical-accuracy, and representation

Policies & Accountability

Ongoing Efforts


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