What Caused the Turmoil at Ibram Kendi's Antiracism Center?
Summary from AllSides News Team
Following reports that Boston University is investigating its Center for Antiracist Research amid layoffs and staff complaints, voices across the spectrum are reflecting on the work and ideology of the center’s founder, prominent civil rights activist and author Ibram X. Kendi.
From the Right: Jeffrey Blehar (Lean Right bias) argued Kendi is part of an “intellectually insulting racial-grievance subculture” composed of “enterprising grifters” that have profited off of racial guilt in America. The allegations and investigation, Blehar concludes, signify a “real cultural backlash coalescing.” The “academic racial grift cycle” will not end “until universities have a serious financial reckoning.” A writer in the Washington Examiner (Lean Right bias) argued the reports prove that DEI initiatives in academics “contributes nothing, wastes money, and fuels a bubble of empty courses, professions, and promises.”
From the Left: Michelle Goldberg (Left bias) stated, “it’s important to understand that the center’s apparent implosion is more the result of a failed funding model than a failed ideology. It exemplifies the lamentable tendency among left-leaning donors to chase fads and celebrities rather than build sustainable institutions.” In the Daily Beast (Left bias), a former professor at the Center for Antiracist Research detailed their experience at the center, culminating in their departure once “the dysfunction at the center became intolerable.” The writer determines Kendi to be a “cautionary tale,” stating, “Celebrity is seductive. But celebrity should not be confused with leadership ability.”
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The turmoil at Ibram X. Kendi’s Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University, which recently laid off more than half its staff, has been a schadenfreude bonanza for the right. Kendi, who argues that there’s no such thing as racial neutrality, that all ideas and policies are either racist or antiracist, was perhaps the biggest intellectual star to emerge from the febrile, quasi-revolutionary moment following the murder of George Floyd. The Center for Antiracist Research launched in 2020 with a grandiose vision, seeking to “understand, explain and solve seemingly intractable...
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