The cycle hardened the racist ideas inside me

Like the famous question about the chicken and the egg, the answer is less important than the cycle it describes. Racist ideas make people of color think less of themselves, which makes them more vulnerable to racist ideas. Racist ideas make White people think more of themselves, which further attracts them to racist ideas.

I thought I was a subpar student and was bombarded by messages – from Black people, White people, the media – that told me that the reason was rooted in my race ….which made me more discouraged and less motivated as a student….which only further reinforced for me the racist idea that Black people just weren’t very studious….which made me feel even more despair or indifference….and on it went. At no point was this cycle interrupted by a deeper analysis of my own specific circumstances and shortcomings or a critical look at the ideas of the society that judged me – instead, the cycle hardened the racist ideas inside me until I was ready to preach them to others. 

From “How to Be An Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi

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