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Ibram X Kendi

Boston University

Ibram X Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities at Boston University and the Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. He is best known for authoring the New York Times bestseller How to Be an Antiracist along with Stamped from the Beginning and Antiracist Baby. He is also the founder of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University.

Kendi claims that racism is deeply embedded in American Institutions and in each American individual. During an event with Google, Kendi stated that anyone raised in America is essentially raised to be racist.

“I think it’s important to almost recognize that to be raised in the United States is to be raised to be racist. And to be raised to be racist is to be raised to almost be addicted to racist ideas.”  

In the same talk, Kendi defines racism as policy, or support of a policy, in which the outcome results in racial disparities.

At a separate lecture at the Aspen Institute, Kendi stated that the only solution to racism is “anti-racism” or the process of supporting policies that reduce racial disparities, such as wealth redistribution to alleviate the income gap. Failure to support or opposition to these policies is emblematic of racism.

Using this reasoning, Kendi declares that the free market is essentially racist. He states, “Capitalism is essentially racist…racism is essentially capitalist.” 

Kendi has advocated for an antiracist amendment to the constitution to monitor and punish officials with “racist” ideas. Proposed policies in the amendment include:

  • Deem racial inequity or racist ideas as unconstitutional.
  • Permanently fund a “Department of Antiracism.”
  • Mandatory monitoring of all federal, state, and local policies for racial inequity.
  • Mandatory monitoring of all public officials for racist ideas.
  • Ability to punish public officials who do not voluntarily change racist ideas or policies.

The stated mission of the Center of Antiracism at Boston University is to research racial inequity and propose more policies similar to the establishment of the Department of Antiracism. The Center recently attracted attention after a $10,000,000 donation was made by Twitter Founder and CEO, Jack Dorsey.

Kendi has also expressed his opposition to interracial families, stating that adopting a child from a separate race doesn’t make you “not racist.”  During the 2020 Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, who has adopted two children from Haiti with her husband, Kendi insinuated that white families like the Barretts only adopt black children in a racist attempt to “civilize them.”




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