2020-2021 Common Book

book cover for how to be an antiracist by ibram x. kendiHow to Be an Antiracist
by Ibram X. Kendi

The Department of Architecture would like to be part of the national conversation that has accompanied our pandemic crisis, the protests and universal outrage that has followed in the wake of demonstrated injustice and deep racial divides in our society. As a first step, we have chosen to join with other academic units at the University of Washington to make How to Be an Antiracist, a No. 1 New York Times bestseller by author and historian Ibram X. Kendi, as our common book.  (Students: the common book is an optional extra-curricular activity, but we encourage you to join in.  The more participation, the better the conversation!)

This particular book, written by a leading scholar on race and discriminatory law and policy in America, has the promise of stimulating substantive dialogue. Kendi is the founding director of the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University. Beginning in July, he will join Boston University as a professor of history and founding director of its Center for Antiracist Research. He will also become the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study at Harvard University.

The book is a memoir of his own evolution from a youth learning to regard white people as devils, to his education that eventually led him to a position that we are mistaken to label people as racist or not racist. At the same time, he demonstrates in one area of social identity after another the racial biases and codes that have been accepted as unspoken truths of our culture. He also provides a way to do better by consciously adopting antiracism. “How to Be an Antiracist is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.” (from the book publisher)

Please join the Department of Architecture community in reading “How to Be an Antiracist” in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year.  Start reading the book at your convenience!  There will be a list of Common Book events shared during fall quarter; programming & discussions will take place starting in winter quarter.

The book is available to borrow for free as an ebook or print book for UW students, faculty, and staff through UW Libraries. (* update 9/11/20:* There are a limited number of E copies available from the UW Library. While the SPL system has 322 e-copies available, the current wait time is 7 weeks.) You may also purchase a print copy of the book, audiobook or ebook online or from your favorite bookstore. We encourage you to purchase a copy from a Black-owned bookstore, including our local Black-owned Estelita’s Library. Any student needing assistance in obtaining a copy should email archdept@uw.edu.

Author: Ibram X. Kendi
Publisher: Penguin Random House
ISBN – 9780525509288
Publication Date: 2019

Note:  Prof. Kendi will be at Benaroya Hall this April for an event sponsored by Seattle Arts and Lectures.  Tickets for both the in-person event and the online livestream are available for purchase here.