Having fallen away from both Christianity and American civil religion, liberals in the United States are looking for something to believe in. The death of George Floyd on May 25 occasioned a religious awakening. Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Americans took to the streets by the tens and hundreds of thousands to demand police reform and more. They painted “Black Lives Matter” on city streets and blanketed neighborhoods with BLM yard signs. Universities issued statements of solidarity with Black Lives Matter and pledged anew to “do the work” of racial justice. The country’s leading newspapers and magazines purged dissenters and even those who tolerated the dissent of others. “Antiracism” became liberal America’s new fighting faith.
Libraries and booksellers were quick to distribute canonical texts to the neophytes. Ibram X. Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist and Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility became instant bestsellers. In a single week in mid-June, each sold more than 100,000 copies. By mid-August, DiAngelo had sold 678,000 copies in 2020 to date, and Kendi had sold 521,000. Not to be outdone, Kendi diversified his brand by publishing young adult (Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You) and toddler (Antiracist Baby) versions of his work so that all could receive the message of antiracism.