Non-profit

Center for Antiracist Research

The Boston University Center for Antiracist Research is a left-of-center research center that promotes research that aligns with “antiracism,” an ideology pioneered by left-wing academic and activist Ibram X. Kendi. Kendi’s theory holds that all racial inequalities in the United States can be attributed to “racist” policies and institutions and argues that any other explanation of racial inequality is itself racist. [1] [2] The Center is explicitly political, with its goal being the implementation of radical-left policies to combat alleged structural racism. [3]

Founded in July 2020, the Center has only conducted research evaluating the impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minority communities as of February 2021. The Center has also professed plans to build a national database of racial inequities to further motivate left-of-center political activism. [4]

The Center for Antiracist Research was founded and remains directed by activist and author Ibram X. Kendi. Aside from promoting the theory of antiracism, Kendi has endorsed left-wing policies including a constitutional amendment banning “racial inequities,” reparations payments to all African Americans, a universal basic income, government-controlled healthcare, and the so-called Green New Deal. [5]

The Center has received funding from left-of-center donors, including a $10 million grant from Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey and a $1.5 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. [6] [7]

Founding

In July 2020, left-wing academic and activist Ibram X. Kendi founded the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research to pursue public scholarship in line with Kendi’s theory of “antiracism.” [8] The theory supposes that one cannot be simply “non-racist,” instead demanding that policies are either “racist” or “antiracist” and arguing that racism must be fought through left-of-center policies. [9]

The theory also supposes that racial inequalities are artificial and imposed by racist institutions and policies, and Kendi has argued that assigning responsibility for racial inequality to individual or group behaviors is “racist.” [10] Kendi has further claimed that “a racist policy is any policy that leads to inequity, and antiracist policy is the opposite.” [11] A number of scholars have opposed this definition of “racism,” claiming that it is so broad that it would accuse prominent African American leaders, including Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, and former President Barack Obama, of being racist. [12]

The Center encourages research that places blame for racial inequality on right-of-center policies, rather than considering other social or economic problems in African American communities as partially responsible for existing inequalities. Kendi, who now sits as the Center’s director, has called any research that emphasizes personal responsibility in ending racial inequality “racist research.” [13]

The Center will be organized into research and policy teams that bring together left-of-center scholars, policymakers, journalists, activists, and artists to “research how best to dismantle racist structures, practices, and institutions.” [14] These solutions include promoting left-of-center policy in criminal justice, economic regulation, environmental issues, and healthcare. The Center for Antiracist Research is explicit in its goal for its research to eventually promote real change in political policy. [15]

Activity

The Center exists to pursue research in accordance with Kendi’s antiracism theory, while also publishing information to lead to left-of-center racial activism and policy implementation across the country. The Center has announced its intentions to build a “racial inequity database,” highlighting racial inequalities across the country and placing blame for them onto existing political policies in order to encourage left-of-center policy implementation. [16]

As of February 2021, the Center has only organized policy projects examining racial inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic, launching the COVID Racial Data Tracker in collaboration with the COVID Tracking Project. The tracker compiles existing data to determine how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted ethnic minority communities, claiming that African Americans have died at 1.4 times the rate of white people during the pandemic. [17] The tracker also breaks down the impact of COVID-19 by race and ethnicity reported by individual states. [18]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center has also evaluated how entitlement programs for ethnic minorities have been impacted and claimed that the widespread use of telehealth has resulted in “digital redlining,” allegedly making it more difficult for those in ethnic minority communities to access health care due to “structural racism.” [19]

People

Ibram X. Kendi is the founder and director of the Center for Antiracist Research. Kendi has published a number of books on his theory of antiracism, including the National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which claims that the United States is founded on systemic racism. Kendi has also authored How to Be an Antiracist and Antiracist Baby, a book that teacher infants and toddlers about racism. [20] [21]

Aside from promoting his personal ideology, Kendi has endorsed the immediate adoption of a left-wing federal agenda, including reparations payments to African Americans for American slavery, the removal of police funding, a universal basic income, online voting, government-controlled healthcare, and the Green New Deal. [22] Kendi has also called for the creation of an amendment to the United States Constitution that would ban any policy that allegedly resulted in racial inequities in outcomes and allow a federal agency to “discipline” public officials who expressed any opinion that was deemed “racist” on Kendi’s theory. [23]

Jasmine Gonzales Rose is the associate director of policy at the Center. [24] Gonzales Rose teaches at the Boston University School of Law and previously sat on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Greater Pittsburgh and the Abolitionist Law Center. [25]

Controversy

Despite the Center having existed for less than a year, it has already faced several controversies. Students at Boston University have complained about the Center’s lack of activity, claiming that the university professes to combat racism but has not actually taken steps through the Center to do so. [26]

In October 2020, Kendi released a statement on Twitter during Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings, alleging that white people who adopt black children, like Barrett, were “white colonizers” who use the children as “props in their lifelong pictures of denial.” The Boston University College Republicans released a statement denouncing the statements and requesting Kendi’s removal from all associations with the university. [27]

Funding

The Center for Antiracism Research has already attracted substantial funding from left-of-center donors and organizations. Just six weeks after Kendi announced the Center’s founding, Twitter CEO and left-of-center donor Jack Dorsey gifted $10 million to the Center unconditionally. [28]

The Center has also received a $1.5 million donation from the Vertex Foundation as part of Vertex Pharmaceuticals’ giving commitment and a $1.5 million gift from the left-of-center Rockefeller Foundation. [29]

References

  1. “Important Announcement.” Center for Antiracist Research. Boston University, July 1, 2020. https://www.bu.edu/antiracism-center/the-center/founder-statement/. ^
  2. Thompson, Khari. “Antiracism’s Ibram Kendi Thinks Big: Why Not Equality Right Now?” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, February 4, 2021. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2021/02/02/black-history-month-antiracism-ibram-kendi/6568208002/. ^
  3. “Research and Policy Teams.” Center for Antiracist Research. Accessed February 23, 2021. https://www.bu.edu/antiracism-center/research/research-policy-teams/. ^
  4. Thompson, Khari. “Antiracism’s Ibram Kendi Thinks Big: Why Not Equality Right Now?” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, February 4, 2021. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2021/02/02/black-history-month-antiracism-ibram-kendi/6568208002/. ^
  5. Kendi, Ibram X. “’Patience’ Is a Dirty Word.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, July 23, 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/john-lewis-and-danger-gradualism/614512/. ^
  6. Soave, Robby. “Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Donates $10 Million to Ibram X. Kendi, Who Wants To Make Racism Unconstitutional.” Reason.com. Reason, August 20, 2020. https://reason.com/2020/08/20/jack-dorsey-ibram-x-kendi-twitter-ceo-racism-center/. ^
  7. Jahnke, Art. “Funding the Quiet Good: Gifts That Support the Humanities and Social Sciences.” BU Today. Boston University, November 6, 2020. http://www.bu.edu/articles/2020/funding-the-quiet-good-gifts-for-the-humanities-and-social-sciences/. ^
  8. “Important Announcement.” Center for Antiracist Research. Boston University, July 1, 2020. https://www.bu.edu/antiracism-center/the-center/founder-statement/. ^
  9. Packer, ZZ. “What Happens to a Professor When His Theory of Anti-Racism Goes Mainstream?” GQ, August 20, 2020. https://www.gq.com/story/ibram-x-kendi-antiracism-scholar-profile. ^
  10. Thompson, Khari. “Antiracism’s Ibram Kendi Thinks Big: Why Not Equality Right Now?” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, February 4, 2021. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2021/02/02/black-history-month-antiracism-ibram-kendi/6568208002/. ^
  11. Kaplan, Erin Aubry. “’Antiracist Baby’ Helps Educate Infants about Racism. Author Ibram X. Kendi Explains How.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/books/story/2020-06-05/ibram-x-kendi-antiracist-baby-q-a. ^
  12. Schuessler, Jennifer. “Ibram X. Kendi Has a Cure for America’s ‘Metastatic Racism’.” The New York Times. The New York Times, August 6, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/arts/ibram-x-kendi-antiracism.html. ^
  13. Thompson, Khari. “Antiracism’s Ibram Kendi Thinks Big: Why Not Equality Right Now?” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, February 4, 2021. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2021/02/02/black-history-month-antiracism-ibram-kendi/6568208002/. ^
  14. “Research and Policy Teams.” Center for Antiracist Research. Accessed February 23, 2021. https://www.bu.edu/antiracism-center/research/research-policy-teams/. ^
  15. “Research and Policy Teams.” Center for Antiracist Research. Accessed February 23, 2021. https://www.bu.edu/antiracism-center/research/research-policy-teams/. ^
  16. Thompson, Khari. “Antiracism’s Ibram Kendi Thinks Big: Why Not Equality Right Now?” USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, February 4, 2021. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2021/02/02/black-history-month-antiracism-ibram-kendi/6568208002/. ^
  17. “The COVID Racial Data Tracker.” The COVID Tracking Project. Accessed February 23, 2021. https://covidtracking.com/race. ^
  18. “Racial Data Dashboard.” The COVID Tracking Project. Accessed February 23, 2021. https://covidtracking.com/race/dashboard. ^
  19. “COVID-19 Research and Policy Teams.” Center for Antiracist Research. Accessed February 23, 2021. https://www.bu.edu/antiracism-center/research/covid-19-research-and-policy-teams/. ^
  20. “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.” National Book Foundation, July 1, 2020. https://www.nationalbook.org/books/stamped-from-the-beginning-the-definitive-history-of-racist-ideas-in-america/. ^
  21. Kaplan, Erin Aubry. “’Antiracist Baby’ Helps Educate Infants about Racism. Author Ibram X. Kendi Explains How.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/books/story/2020-06-05/ibram-x-kendi-antiracist-baby-q-a. ^
  22. Kendi, Ibram X. “’Patience’ Is a Dirty Word.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, July 23, 2020. https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/07/john-lewis-and-danger-gradualism/614512/. ^
  23. Kendi, Ibram X. “Idea: Pass an Anti-Racist Constitutional Amendment.” POLITICO. Accessed February 23, 2021. https://www.politico.com/interactives/2019/how-to-fix-politics-in-america/inequality/pass-an-anti-racist-constitutional-amendment/. ^
  24. Edmonds, Colbi. “Kendi, Center for Antiracist Research Aim to Inspire Policy Change.” The Daily Free Press, February 18, 2021. https://dailyfreepress.com/2021/02/18/kendi-center-for-antiracist-research-aim-to-inspire-policy-change/. ^
  25. “Jasmine Gonzales Rose.” Boston University School of Law, February 22, 2021. https://www.bu.edu/law/profile/jasmine-gonzales-rose/. ^
  26. Yehiya, Madhri. “Black Students, Faculty, Staff Reflect on Their Experiences at BU.” The Daily Free Press, February 18, 2021. https://dailyfreepress.com/2021/02/18/black-students-faculty-staff-reflect-on-their-experiences-at-bu/. ^
  27. Lederman, Nathan. “BU College Republicans Receive Backlash over Statement against Kendi Tweets.” The Daily Free Press, October 4, 2020. https://dailyfreepress.com/2020/10/04/bu-college-republicans-receive-backlash-over-statement-against-kendi-tweets/. ^
  28. Soave, Robby. “Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Donates $10 Million to Ibram X. Kendi, Who Wants To Make Racism Unconstitutional.” Reason.com. Reason, August 20, 2020. https://reason.com/2020/08/20/jack-dorsey-ibram-x-kendi-twitter-ceo-racism-center/. ^
  29. Jahnke, Art. “Funding the Quiet Good: Gifts That Support the Humanities and Social Sciences.” BU Today. Boston University, November 6, 2020. http://www.bu.edu/articles/2020/funding-the-quiet-good-gifts-for-the-humanities-and-social-sciences/. ^
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