The historian and writer Ibram X. Kendi, whose research and work on antiracism have risen to the forefront amid a worldwide reckoning over systemic racism, was named as one of TIME’s most influential people of 2020. Speaking at a TIME100 Talks broadcast that aired Friday, Kendi emphasized the importance of keeping the focus on his work and the steps he has laid out to dismantle structural racism.
Among Kendi’s central arguments is that the root of racism isn’t people, but the policies that cause racial inequity and injustice. It’s those policies that we need to focus on changing, he says.
“Racist ideas make humans believe that there’s something wrong with other humans, that there’s something wrong with those other racial groups, there’s something wrong with those people who don’t look like us,” says Kendi.
One crucial sphere where Kendi is fighting for improvement is healthcare, where racist policies persist.