The Crisis of the Intellectuals

Mar 27, 2023
Dimitris Passas

NOTE: This article is a republication- Source: The Atlantic (by Ibram X. Kendi),

In 2017, I was trying to write How to Be an Antiracist. Words came onto the page slower than ever. On some days, no words came at all. Clearly, I was in crisis.

I don’t believe in writer’s block. When words aren’t flowing onto the page, I know why: I haven’t researched enough, organized the material enough, thought enough to exhume clarity, meticulously outlined my thoughts enough. I haven’t prepared myself to write

But no matter how much I prepared, I still struggled to convey what my research and reasoning showed. I struggled because I was planning to challenge traditional conceptions of racism, and to defy the multiracial and bipartisan consensus that race neutrality was possible and that “not racist” was a definable identity. And I struggled because I was planning to describe a largely unknown corrective posture—being anti-racist—with long historical roots. These departures from tradition were at the front of my struggling mind. But at the back of my mind was a more existential struggle—a struggle I think is operating at the front of our collective mind today.

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