Antiracism: An Introduction


YA & Up

  • Politics
  • History
  • White Supremacy
  • Antiracism

Alex Zamalin


I bought this book a few months ago, for a very specific reason. You see, last summer, when all the protests were taking place, I was thrilled. Beyond elated that people seemed to finally care what I had devoted my academic career to. People asked me for resources, I happily devoted hours to meticulously creating curated booklists for my white friends who finally seemed to understand why I was always angry and carrying around a stack of large books. Wanna know what happened when I followed up? Bet you can guess.

Nobody read them. And it was my fault, I guess. I eagerly listed all of the resources I had gathered in grad school, and happily sent them off. But they’re inaccessible for a beginner (like a lot of academic literature is, that’s a conversation for another day) and it scared people off. I didn’t think about what would be best for people, and it delayed their journey. And to be perfectly honest, it might have scared them off entirely and coming to terms with the fact that this is a very real repercussion is something I’ve been working through.

So that’s why I bought this book, to find something that could serve as a tool for people just beginning their antiracist journey, mindset shift, and lifestyle change. In just under 150 pages, author Alex Zamalin explains the origins of the movement, how we reject the power of racism (ESPECIALLY white people are responsible for this) and understanding that white supremacy hurts everyone and makes our society inaccessible and oppressive for many groups. Broken into 5 sections, the reader will be given historical context and how specific events shaped the racist culture that we are entrenched in today. It’s accessible for folx just beginning their understanding of antiracism, and I learned new information about historical antiracists and how satirical essays have assisted in breaking down white supremacist arguments.

I want to close this review by acknowledging that I am an antiracist educator in progress, and we all have a myriad of internalized racism and anti-Blackness to unlearn. This book is an excellent starting place, and we white folx are lucky enough that BIPOC individuals are willing to share their knowledge and perform emotional labor for us. We all learn about how to be better and more actively antiracist everyday, and that is because of people of color. I can’t express how happy it makes me when people send me messages that something I’ve said helped them have tough conversations with their school administration, their kids, or people in their lives. I couldn’t do this without the activists that came before me, and I am extremely grateful to be a small part in this long journey.

This book was purchased with my own money, and published by NYU Press. All opinions and decision to review is my own!

Alex Zamalin

Director of the African American Studies Program and Assistant Professor, Political Science.  His areas of expertise include African American political thought, American politics and political theory. He is the author of “African American Political Thought and American Culture: The Nation’s Struggle for Racial Justice” (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), “Struggle on Their Minds: The Political Thought of African American Resistance” (New York: Columbia University Press, 2017), “Antiracism: An Introduction” (New York University Press, 2019) and “Black Utopia: The History of an Idea from Black Nationalism to Afrofuturism” (Columbia University Press, 2019). In addition, he is the co-editor of “American Political Thought: An Alternative View” (New York: Routledge, 2017). His work on race, political theory and social justice has appeared in New Political Science and Women’s Studies Quarterly. His newest book, tentatively entitled “Against Civility: The Hidden Racism in Our Obsession with Civility,” from Beacon Press, was published on Feb 2. 2021. He joined the University in 2015.

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