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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

How to be a Christian Antiracist

February 2, 2023
Garrett Christensen

And What on Earth That Means

Garrett Christensen

Despite being taboo in many Christian circles, racism is an important topic to discuss candidly. As Christians, it is our duty to fight against systems of oppression both in our own minds and in society. Unfortunately, we could do a lot better. 

In his book “How to Be an Antiracist,” Ibram X. Kendi presents an informative and practical approach to doing just that – becoming something that Kendi calls an antiracist. 

“The opposite of ‘racist’ isn't ‘not racist.’ It is ‘antiracist.’ What's the difference? One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist or racial equality as an antiracist . . . One either allows racial inequities to persevere as a racist or confronts racial inequities as an antiracist.” [1] 

Kendi believes that being an antiracist is not a passive but an active process. Essentially, the message of Kendi’s book is that the walls people set up to define themselves as different and better than others are wrong. Biologically, race does not exist; we are all 99.9% genetically identical. Race is not a scientific category, but rather a system put in place to divide and help people keep power. 

Kendi also points out that, in value, people are all the same. They may have inherited different practices and behaviors depending on where they were born, but each has their own inherent value and should be treated as such. 

This is the crux of being an antiracist. It starts by recognizing that each person, no matter how superficially different, has inherent value just because they exist. The next step is to look both around and inward to find anything that says differently. These differences are an antiracist’s target. [2] 

“Like fighting an addiction, being an antiracist requires persistent self-awareness, constant self-criticism, and regular self-examination." [3] 

The fight against racism begins within, then moves outward only as inner attitudes change. This is where the love of God comes in. As Christians, we are called to treat people as Jesus did. He saw each person as an individual.  

Mark 2:17 says, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Jesus came to care for the marginalized in society and as a Christian campus we should do the same. [4] 

John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” [5] 

Understanding that racism exists and identifying it in ourselves is only the first step to being an antiracist. With God’s help, we must recognize that each person is uniquely and infinitely valued as his child. Any belief, person, or system that tells us differently is wrong and needs to be changed.  

(Note: this contains only a brief summary of the book and for anyone who is interested I recommend reading the whole thing or checking out this thorough summary from Lit Charts:  



  1. Lit Charts. (n.d.). How to Be an Antiracist summary. 
  2. Ibid. 
  3. Rowley, L. (2020). How to be an Antiracist summary. Four Minute Books. 
  4. New International Version Bible. (2011). Bible Gateway. 
  5. Ibid. 
  6. Lit Charts. (n.d.). How to Be an Antiracist summary. 
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