Boston U professor Ibram Kendi’s antiracism center accused of exploiting staff after mass layoff

Racial essentialist Ibram X. Kendi just suffered a devastating public defeat, and his critics are loving every moment of it.

Kendi is, as previously reported, a racial essentialist who believes non-blacks (particularly whites) should be discriminated against to make up for the historical discrimination that blacks used to face.

During the beginning of the Black Lives Matter riots three years ago, Kendi launched the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University.

According to the center’s website, it “represents a collaborative research and education effort across multiple disciplines to build a world where racial equity and social justice prevail.”

All was fine until recently, when Kendi laid off 15 to 20 staff members ostensibly as part of a restructuring.

In a statement reported by Semafor, BU spokesperson Colin Riley said the center is “evolving to a fellowship model,” whatever that means.

Here’s where things get fun and interesting: Both the laid-off employees and some of the still-employed staff are now trash-talking Kendi and his center to the media.

Take Spencer Piston, the faculty lead of the center’s policy office and an associate professor in BU’s political science department.

There are a number of ways it got to this point, it started very early on when the university decided to create a center that rested in the hands of one human being, an individual given millions of dollars and so much authority,” he told The Boston Globe.


Then there’s Saida Grundy, a BU associate professor of sociology and African American & Black Diaspora Studies who was reportedly named the center’s assistant director of narrative November 2020 but departed the post less than a year later because she said the center lacked structure and because she was overworked and underpaid.

It became very clear after I started that this was exploitative and other faculty experienced the same and worse,” she said.

Ouch again!

Critics can’t get enough of the trash-talking:

Critics were also thrown off by Grundy’s title as “assistant director of narrative.” The title sounds like something out of “1984.”

“You know how I know it went bad??? They have an Assistant Director of Narative. Which also means they have a Director of Narrative,” one critic tweeted.

“Assistant Director of Narrative” is a legitimate title? Sounds like the person who makes stuff up,” another added.

Which makes sense, since many of Kendi’s ideas are rooted in made-up concepts. For example, he claims America is an inherently racist country (it’s not) and that the police “inherently are harmful” (they’re not).

He’s also an authoritarian who’s called for a ban on “racial inequity over a certain threshold, as well as racist ideas by public officials.”

“Equity” is a nickname for equal outcomes. While the equality sought by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was about making sure everybody was afforded the same opportunities, the “equity” sought by Kendi is about making certain that everybody benefits from the same outcome, irrespective of whether they earned it.

The problem with “equity” is that the only way to manifest equal outcomes is through discrimination. Sound familiar?

“Equality means equal treatment, unbiased competition and impartially judged outcomes. Equity means equal outcomes, achieved if necessary by unequal treatment, biased competition and preferential judging,” according to Charles Lipson, a political science professor emeritus at the University of Chicago.

“The demand for equal outcomes contradicts a millennium of Anglo-Saxon law and political evolution. It undermines the Enlightenment principle of equal treatment for individuals of different social rank and religion. America’s Founders drew on those roots when they declared independence, saying it was ‘self-evident’ that ‘all men are created equal,’” he explained in a 2021 Wall Street Journal column.

Despite being a proponent of discrimination, Kendi has received widespread support from the media and other influential people, including Twitter founder Jack Dorsey.

A couple months after the center launched in 2020, Dorsey donated $10 million to it.

“Of the total gift, $9 million will go to the center’s endowment and $1 million will be available for immediate use, allowing the center to hire staff and fund its first research and policy teams on COVID-19 racial disparities,” BU reported at the time.


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