Anti-racist author Ibram X. Kendi claims on his podcast, "Be Antiracist," that Republicans who oppose lockdowns are similar oppressors to slave owners.
Kendi alleges that modern-day America is a "slaveholders' republic." The progressive academic equates the GOP wishing to open-up from lockdowns to actual Southern slave owners desiring to enslave other human beings.
Kendi has famously been a champion of critical race theory and believes that white people are all racist and shouldn't deny it. Kendi's own podcast "imagines what an antiracist society might look like and how we all can play an active role in building one," according to the program's description. He "guides listeners how they can identify and reject the racist systems hiding behind racial inequity and injustice."
In the latest episode, entitled "Prison and Police Abolition, Finding True Safety," Kendi talks about, how in red states, there are less lockdown measures in place, if any. "The right started pushing for the right and the freedom to open back up."
"I ended up writing this piece for The Atlantic that basically argued that we are still in a slaveholders' republic. And what I argued was that the slaveholder, the individual, wanted the freedom to enslave," Kendi states.
Kendi's article from May 2020 argued in its conclusion that there is "something about living through a deadly pandemic that cuts open the shell, removes the flesh, and finds the very core of American existence: the slaveholder clamoring for his freedom to infect, and the enslaved clamoring for our freedom from infection." Kendi maintained that the COVID-19 pandemic "has brought the latest battle in the long American war over communal well-being."
"There's no difference between that and the individual saying, 'I should have the freedom to infect people. I should have the freedom to kill and exploit and harass and terrorize and enslave people,'" Kendi claims in the podcast episode.
Kendi goes on to mention that he "had a different philosophy."
"Instead of the 'individual to' it was the 'community from'. So, how do we as a community gain freedom from slavery, from oppression, or, in the case of the coronavirus, from infection?" Kendi questions.
The episode, which premiered Wednesday, featured Project NIA founder Mariame Kaba, the author of the New York Times bestseller We Do This ‘Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice. Kaba and Kendi argue in the discussion "why mass surveillance, police, punishment, and incarceration will never create a safe society" and discuss what they think will.