The story concerns Ibram X. Kendi, who you have probably heard of. Forty-one-year-old Kendi, originally Ibram Henry Rogers, is a black New Yorker and a race scholar.
There is no general agreement about the cause of the black-white tensions and rancor that the USA suffers from. Quite a lot of Americans, though, of all races, believe that there is one single great cause: systemic racism.
Systemic racism is a pathological state of mind that afflicts only white people. The cure for it is anti-racism, which as best I can understand it is a sort of mental adjustment, a new way of thinking, speaking, and behaving, that black people, and properly clued-in white people, have to teach to the rest of us.
Ibram X. Kendi is the champion of this point of view. He wrote a 2019 book with the title How To Be an Antiracist. It has been a huge best-seller with nearly thirty thousand ratings on Amazon, overall 4.7 approval stars out of five.
How much sense does he make? Not much. Here he was last year in front of—to judge by the backs of their heads—a mostly white audience, defining the word ”racism”:
Audience member: ”How do you define ’racism’?”
Kendi: ”Sure. So racism I would define as a collection, ah, of racist policies that lead to racial inequities that are substantiated by racist ideas.”]
Hoo-kay. So I guess socialism, which I have always supposed has something to do with public ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange, is in fact a collection of socialist policies that lead to social inequities that are substantiated by socialist ideas. Got it.
It’s gibberish, of course. Kendi is a complete mountebank. The answer to the question, ”How much sense does he make?” is: ”None at all.”
If, on the other hand, you ask: ”How much money does he make?” the answer is: ”a lot,” all of it of course from guilt-addled white people. Jack Dorsey, the former boss of Twitter, gave Kendi ten million dollars back in 2020. The following year the MacArthur Foundation gave him their genius award, which comes with a grant of $625,000. And of course many, many virtue-signalling corporations have been similarly generous to Kendi.
(This hurts. With all my faults and weaknesses, I am sure I make more sense than Kendi; yet no one has ever given me ten million dollars. Should anybody want to I can be reached via VDARE.com.)
That ten million from Dorsey was used to found a Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University: to furnish rooms, hire staff, and—of course!—conduct research.
Now something seems to have gone awry. Last week Kendi laid off more than half the center’s staff. Wednesday this week Boston University announced it would conduct an ”inquiry” into the Center. There had been complaints, they said about the center’s culture and financial management.
Who could ever have imagined it? A black con man who monetized white guilt subsequently caught in hanky-panky with the finances, and perhaps—I haven’t seen details—with his employees.
So it looks likely that the Center for Antiracist Research may shut down and no more research will be done. What a loss to scholarship, to human knowledge! How shall we ever make it up? This is worse than when the Great Library of Alexandria burned down …
The best comment on this fiasco was one on Twitter yesterday from Carlo Lancellotti, who is a Professor of Mathematics, which is a real subject.
I was never a fan of Ibram Kendi, but the fact that he scammed Soros, Dorsey, the Ford and Rockefeller foundations etc at the tune of 30 million dollars, and then did absolutely nothing in return, is actually a rather impressive achievement in its genre.— Carlo Lancellotti (@_CLancellotti) September 22, 2023