How To Be An Antiracist is a confusing, frustrating book that fails to make a convincing case that "antiracism" is the best, or even a good way to fight back against racism. It's as if Kendi was given free reign to write whatever he wanted, and no editor ever pushed back to ask questions like "does the definition you're proposing make sense" or "do you have any evidence to support your claim?"
For example, Kendi starts out each chapter by defining a word like "racist" or "success," supposedly in an effort to clarify things. But these definitions end up being more confusing than clarifying. Kendi's definition of racist is, "One who is supporting a racist policy through their actions or inaction or expressing a racist idea." He uses the word "racist" twice to define the word "racist."
Similarly, the central idea of antiracism seems to be that all racial groups are equal, and therefore, any inequality is proof of racism, and any policy that arguably contributed to that inequality is also racist. This too, does not make sense. If inequality is due to racism, how can we explain inequality within racial groups? Why do white people in one state make more money than in another state? Why do chlidren from two parent households generally do better academically than children from single parent households of the same race? Racism can't be the answer. And Kendi rarely offers any proof that racism is the primary source of inequality between groups, let alone the only source. The book also feels overly long and highly repetitive, with Kendi driving home the same handful of points/ideas over and over again.
Racism is a real problem that requires legitimate, evidence-based solutions. How To Be An Antiracist is not that. It is a half-baked philosophy that many other black academics like John McWhorter have effectively picked apart. This book will undoubtedly earn plenty of praise from other self-described "antiracists" and white people who wouldn't dare say a critical word about a book about racism written by a black man, but the book is not convincing, nor intellectually rigorous. If you're looking for a guide to fighting against racism, look elsewhere.