Critical Race Theorist’s Books Featured On Western Massachusetts High School’s Summer Reading List

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What should high schoolers read this summer?

Berkshire Waldorf High School wants its students to read a couple of books by Ibram X. Kendi.

The private high school in the western Massachusetts town of Stockbridge provided its students with a list of recommended summer reading books. The school requires that students read at least two books from the list.

Of the 260 titles for students to select from two are by Ibram X. Kendi:  How to Be an Antiracist, and Stamped: Antiracism and You (co-written with Jason Reynolds). 

Kendi is a left-wing Boston University professor who wants the United States to add an anti-racism amendment to the United States Constitution.

Kendi wrote in Politico in 2019 that this new amendment would have two main principles:   “Racial inequity is evidence of racist policy and the different racial groups are equals. The amendment would make unconstitutional racial inequity over a certain threshold, as well as racist ideas by public officials (with ‘racist ideas’ and ‘public official’ clearly defined).”

Kendi has been described as a “critical race theorist” by Washington ExaminerThe Daily CallerNational Review, and other outlets.

Critical Race Theory, according to the Brookings Institution, “states that U.S. social institutions (e.g., the criminal justice system, education system, labor market, housing market, and healthcare system) are laced with racism embedded in laws, regulations, rules, and procedures that lead to differential outcomes by race.”

Here is the description of How to Be an Antiracist from Kendi’s web site:


Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America — but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. 

In his memoir, Kendi weaves together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science — including the story of his own awakening to antiracism — bringing it all together in a cogent, accessible form. He begins by helping us rethink our most deeply held, if implicit, beliefs and our most intimate personal relationships (including beliefs about race and IQ and interracial social relations) and reexamines the policies and larger social arrangements we support. How to Be an Antiracist promises to become an essential book for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step of contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society.


And here is the description of Stamped: Antiracism and You from Kendi’s web site:


The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.

Through a gripping, fast-paced, and energizing narrative written by beloved award-winner Jason Reynolds, this book shines a light on the many insidious forms of racist ideas — and on ways readers can identify and stamp out racist thoughts in their daily lives.


Berkshire Waldorf serves Grades 9 through 12. With 59 students, it’s one of the smallest high schools in the Commonwealth. Stockbridge, the town where the school is located, has fewer than 1,900 people, according to 2020 U.S. Census Bureau data; it’s located in Berkshire County.

A spokesman for Berkshire Waldorf could not be reached for comment on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday; nor could Kendi. 


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