The AtlanticThe Atlantic

The crisis of the intellectuals

By Ibram X. Kendi

23 Mar 2023 · 11 min read

Editor's Note

In the Atlantic, the author of "How to be an antiracist" examines how the traditional framing of the intellectual as apolitical, objective, and ideologically neutral is crumbling.

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.

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