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How Do We Build the Antiracist Society of the Future? Ibram X Kendi and Aisha Thomas

Festival of Ideas
Ibram X Kendi and Aisha Thomas

Waterstones  |  £8 / £6

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Ibram X Kendi (How to Be an Antiracist) and Aisha Taylor (Representation Matters) discuss the differences and similarities of teaching our children the realities of racism in the US and in the UK.

How do we talk to the children in our lives about racism? How can we inspire and learn with the children in our lives to challenge ourselves to be better? And how do we as caregivers, in a developmentally appropriate way, teach children about racism and other forms of bigotry?

These are the questions Ibram X Kendi found himself avoiding as he anticipated the birth of his first child. Like most of us, he felt the impulse to not talk to his child about racism, which he feared would stain her innocence and steal away her joy. But research into the scientific literature, his experiences as a father and reflections on his own difficult life ultimately changed his mind.

Former assistant principal, campaigner and Bristolian Aisha Thomas draws on her own lived experience of the UK education system to show why representation is fundamental in every school. Through reflective questions, activities and discussion points, she wants to coach educators to create an action plan for their classroom or school and offers practical strategies to drive change and promote an anti-racist approach to education.

Kendi and Thomas speak about the existing research; diversifying the curriculum; challenging overt and covert racism; and how we can build an antiracist society that safeguards all children.

We want to ensure this event is accessible to everyone who wants to attend, while ensuring the essential costs can be covered. No one will be turned away due to lack of funds, and if this is a barrier for you please email

Ibram X Kendi’s How to Raise an Antiracist is published by Vintage. Aisha Thomas’ Representation Matters is published by Bloomsbury. Order your copies online or buy from our partner Waterstones at the event.

Ibram X Kendi

Ibram X Kendi is the Andrew W Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is the author of many books including Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and three #1 New York Times bestsellers, How to Be an Antiracist, which was also a Sunday Times bestseller; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You, co-authored with Jason Reynolds; and Antiracist Baby, illustrated by Ashley Lukashevsky. In 2020, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Image credit: Stephen Voss
Aisha Thomas

Aisha Thomas is a former assistant principal responsible for diversity, equity and inclusion. She provides training on race in education in universities and schools nationwide. In 2018, she presented a documentary for the BBC investigating the low number of Black teachers in Bristol, and in 2019, she delivered a powerful TEDxBristol talk called ‘Why Representation Matters’. She is currently working on a number of local and national projects, including Beyond the 26, which collects stories and experiences from Black and minority educators in Bristol. She also contributed to a series of videos on allyship for BBC Teach. For more information, follow @itsrepmatters and visit

Booking Information

Waterstones and Bristol Ideas want to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit for all. The event capacity has returned to normal and seating will not be socially distanced. In the interest of audience and staff safety we are grateful if you would continue to wear a mask if possible and make space when moving around the venue. Please stay home if you’re experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 (these are listed on the NHS website) or if you’ve recently been in contact with someone who has the virus. 

Ticket booking is via Eventbrite. Please note that Eventbrite is a third-party service that is not owned or managed by Bristol Ideas. Please review Eventbrite’s terms and conditions and Privacy Policy as we do not accept any responsibility or liability for the policies. You can read Bristol Ideas’ Privacy policy here.

CONCESSIONS apply to Full Time Students, Job Seekers Allowance, Incapacity Benefit claimants, over 60s and disabled people. PARTNER RATE is for staff, students or members at the following organisations: Arts Council England, Bristol City Council, Business West, University of Bristol and UWE. Please note that you will be asked of proof for your eligibility of a concession or partner rate ticket. No refunds/exchanges are possible for tickets already purchased at the higher price.

One free carer ticket can booked for each paying disabled visitor. If you need to book more than one, please contact us before booking to arrange.

We only refund tickets if the event is cancelled. Events start punctually and, out of consideration to other audience members and speakers, our policy is not to admit or issue refunds to latecomers. Full Terms and Conditions here.

Accessibility: Waterstones

One free carer ticket can be provided for each paying disabled visitor, please contact us before booking to arrange. More information about Waterstones Bristol – Galleries can be found on the Waterstones website and on AccessAble.

• There are Blue Badge parking spaces on Union Street.
• There is level access to the event space.
• Events are amplified but there is no loop system.
• There are toilets for public use.
• Guide and assistance dogs are welcome.

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