‘Antiracist Baby’ book becomes hot seller on Amazon after Supreme Court hearing

The theatrics during Tuesday's confirmation hearing included Sen. Ted Cruz holding up the book while grilling Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.

It was the pause that broke the internet Tuesday when Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson halted her response for nearly 10 seconds before answering a question from Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who asked her if babies can be racist.

“There are portions of this book that I find really quite remarkable,” Cruz told the U.S. Supreme Court nominee, holding up a copy of Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi. “One portion of the book says babies are taught to be racist or antiracist, there is no neutrality.”

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz holds up “Antiracism Baby,” Ibram X. Kendi’s 2020 children’s book, as he questions U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson during her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing Tuesday in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“Do you agree with this book that is being taught to kids, that babies are racist?” Cruz asked Jackson as his staff displayed large printouts behind him.

The theatrics during Jackson’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings made Cruz a trending topic on social media, and they also helped push Antiracist Baby to the top of the sales charts on Amazon, according to The Houston Chronicle. The 2020 picture book is now No. 3 on the bestseller list on Amazon, and four other versions of it — in hardcover, board book, e-book and audio formats — hold the top four spots on the bestselling children’s books rankings on the site.

Antiracist Baby is an illustrated primer by Kendi, the author of How to Be an Antiracist and Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. He posits that one cannot simply be “not racist,” but be “antiracist” and work for transformation in America.

Cruz’s question was prompted by the fact that Antiracist Baby is reportedly on a reading list for children at the Georgetown Day School, where Jackson’s daughters attended and where she serves on the board of trustees.

Jackson eventually responded: “I do not believe that any child should be made to feel as though they are racist or though they are not valued or though they are less than, that they are victims, that they are oppressors. I don’t believe in any of that.”

News reports indicate Cruz said late Wednesday that he would not be voting for Jackson, who, if confirmed, will be the first Black woman on the nation’s highest court.

Kendi’s children’s book was inspired by his own daughter, according to an article in the The Harvard Gazette. It features diverse pictures of people at a protest and language like, “Antiracist baby is bred, not born. Antiracist baby is raised to make society transform.”

The scholar has advocated for children to be taught antiracist ideas as early as preschool. “We know that by 2 years old, children are already consuming racist ideas,” Kendi told The Harvard Gazette. “They’re already discerning whom to play with based on kids’ skin color, and so if we wait ’til they’re 10 or 15, they may be a lost cause, like some of us adults.”

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