The (Young) Antiracist's Workbook

Questions for Changemakers

Look inside
Kids 12 and up can discover ways to work toward a better future in this illustrated workbook guiding them to reflect on their understanding of race—from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist.

Antiracism is not a destination but a journey—one that takes deliberate, consistent work. Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's concept of antiracism has changed the way we talk about race, equality, and justice in America, pointing us toward new ways of thinking about ourselves and our society. Young people must be included in conversations on race, which is why Dr. Kendi has created this workbook with bestselling YA author Nic Stone for readers age twelve and up.

Reflection questions include:  
  • Have you ever tried to change something about yourself to fit in? Did it work? Why or why not?
  • How does the word racist feel when you hear or say it? Is it a weapon or a descriptor? Why?
  • Why is empathy an important tool for any antiracist's toolbox?

Whether or not you've read How to Be a (Young) Antiracist, this workbook offers the opportunity to reflect on your personal commitment to antiracism and is a log of your journey toward a better future.
Introduction


On November 23, 2012, a young man named Jordan Davis was murdered at a gas station over the volume and type of music booming from the SUV he was riding in with some friends. He was 17 years old, unarmed, and African American.

I was living abroad in Jerusalem, Israel, at the time, and I’d recently—five months prior to be exact—given birth to my first child: a little Black boy who was given a name that means “beam of light.” And he was light to me. So, to hear of this older Black boy, the precise type of boy my boy would likely become, losing his life over something that seemed so trivial? The story crawled down into my blood and pulsed through me with every heartbeat.

I wanted to know: Why? Why would this grown man pull out a gun and fire it into a car filled with teenagers? What about them could’ve been so menacing? Was it their literal Black bodies? The clothes they wore and the style in which they wore them? Had they spoken to him using words he didn’t like? Was it the music itself?

I looked at my kid, and then I looked at the world. And it hit me—hard—how much of a disadvantage my sweet baby boy would be at just because he was born in his particular body. And I got angry, yes . . . but more important, I heard that pivotal question again: WHY? My presumption is that if you’re reading this introduction, you plan to utilize this book. Because you’ve begun to explore not only the Why? but also the How? When? and Where? of racism, and now you’re trying to figure out What? to do. (And I will say, if you haven’t read the book this workbook is based on—How to Be a (Young) Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and yours truly, Nic Stone—it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go through that first and foremost.)

In which case: I salute you. You have made the conscious decision to embark on what is likely to be an uncomfortable journey. No matter what your background is, it takes courage to care. Especially for those who are different from you.

I also want to express my gratitude: This fight against racism isn’t easy, and as a person who would greatly benefit from some large-scale changes to various types of policy, I can’t thank you enough for your willingness to actively participate even when it comes to the thoughts and ideas you share with others who are not necessarily engaged in antiracist work.

Long story short, if you are engaging with this workbook because you have chosen (or even are considering) a life of antiracism, you are a treasure. And I truly believe that, with your hands on deck, we can make a better world.

Hopefully one where boys like mine (there are two of them now) are free and able to play their music loud with abandon.

—Nic Stone
© Janice Checchio
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. View titles by Ibram X. Kendi
© Nic Stone
Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. You can find her on her website: nicstone.info. View titles by Nic Stone

About

Kids 12 and up can discover ways to work toward a better future in this illustrated workbook guiding them to reflect on their understanding of race—from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of How to Be an Antiracist.

Antiracism is not a destination but a journey—one that takes deliberate, consistent work. Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's concept of antiracism has changed the way we talk about race, equality, and justice in America, pointing us toward new ways of thinking about ourselves and our society. Young people must be included in conversations on race, which is why Dr. Kendi has created this workbook with bestselling YA author Nic Stone for readers age twelve and up.

Reflection questions include:  
  • Have you ever tried to change something about yourself to fit in? Did it work? Why or why not?
  • How does the word racist feel when you hear or say it? Is it a weapon or a descriptor? Why?
  • Why is empathy an important tool for any antiracist's toolbox?

Whether or not you've read How to Be a (Young) Antiracist, this workbook offers the opportunity to reflect on your personal commitment to antiracism and is a log of your journey toward a better future.

Excerpt

Introduction


On November 23, 2012, a young man named Jordan Davis was murdered at a gas station over the volume and type of music booming from the SUV he was riding in with some friends. He was 17 years old, unarmed, and African American.

I was living abroad in Jerusalem, Israel, at the time, and I’d recently—five months prior to be exact—given birth to my first child: a little Black boy who was given a name that means “beam of light.” And he was light to me. So, to hear of this older Black boy, the precise type of boy my boy would likely become, losing his life over something that seemed so trivial? The story crawled down into my blood and pulsed through me with every heartbeat.

I wanted to know: Why? Why would this grown man pull out a gun and fire it into a car filled with teenagers? What about them could’ve been so menacing? Was it their literal Black bodies? The clothes they wore and the style in which they wore them? Had they spoken to him using words he didn’t like? Was it the music itself?

I looked at my kid, and then I looked at the world. And it hit me—hard—how much of a disadvantage my sweet baby boy would be at just because he was born in his particular body. And I got angry, yes . . . but more important, I heard that pivotal question again: WHY? My presumption is that if you’re reading this introduction, you plan to utilize this book. Because you’ve begun to explore not only the Why? but also the How? When? and Where? of racism, and now you’re trying to figure out What? to do. (And I will say, if you haven’t read the book this workbook is based on—How to Be a (Young) Antiracist by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and yours truly, Nic Stone—it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go through that first and foremost.)

In which case: I salute you. You have made the conscious decision to embark on what is likely to be an uncomfortable journey. No matter what your background is, it takes courage to care. Especially for those who are different from you.

I also want to express my gratitude: This fight against racism isn’t easy, and as a person who would greatly benefit from some large-scale changes to various types of policy, I can’t thank you enough for your willingness to actively participate even when it comes to the thoughts and ideas you share with others who are not necessarily engaged in antiracist work.

Long story short, if you are engaging with this workbook because you have chosen (or even are considering) a life of antiracism, you are a treasure. And I truly believe that, with your hands on deck, we can make a better world.

Hopefully one where boys like mine (there are two of them now) are free and able to play their music loud with abandon.

—Nic Stone

Author

© Janice Checchio
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. View titles by Ibram X. Kendi
© Nic Stone
Nic Stone was born and raised in a suburb of Atlanta, GA. After graduating from Spelman College, she worked extensively in teen mentoring and lived in Israel for a few years before returning to the US to write full-time. You can find her on her website: nicstone.info. View titles by Nic Stone