Ibram X. Kendi’s antiracism center faced financial, administrative failings say fmr staffers: report

Racial essentialist Ibram X. Kendi has once again suffered another stinging public defeat, much to the joy of his critics.

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.”

Years later, the center is now in ruins thanks to Kendi’s stunning failed leadership.

The beginning of the end started in 2021 when he hired Yanique Redwood to fix the mess he’d made for himself.

“Nothing was in place,” she recalled to the New York Times. “It was unbelievable that an institution like that, with so much spotlight on it, just did not have systems. I understood why I was being brought in.”

She then set out to interview employees to hear their grievances.

“Everyone was overwhelmed,” Redwood said of the results of her interviews. “There were too many promises being made to funders. Products were being promised that could never be delivered.”

Employees also told her that they weren’t even sure what the center’s mission was.

Redwood responded to all this by encouraging Kendi to hold a forum for employees to air their grievances to him directly. The forum did not go so well. During it, employee Saida Grundy argued that his goal with the center was “a mile wide and an inch deep” and that the organization needed a more specific aim than just “fighting racism.”

“Grundy, unlike most of the staff, thought the center should become a resource for university faculty members and students; her parents were Black student activists in the 1970s, and she believed that real change starts where you are,” the Times notes.

But Kendi was reportedly offended by her critiquing him.

“Scholars who study the experience of black leaders find that the No.1 racist challenge black leaders face is contested authority, even from other black leaders and staff,” he told the Times.

Evidently, Grundy is a racist, or at least according to Kendi.

It turns out his response to all criticism was virtually the same.

“[T]he issues they [employees] raised … never seemed to get fully resolved,” the Times notes. “Redwood and several others said that if someone was too persistent about a concern, Kendi would slow or stop his communication with that person.”

“If someone disagrees or someone is being vocal, you can’t just get rid of them,” Redwood said she wanted to tell him. “Like, this is how you breed distrust.”

True.

Fed up with him, Redwood eventually resigned in October of 2022. Since then, the center has continued to falter.

In a statement to the Times, Kendi for his part disputed everything that’s been said about him.

“This is not me, and anyone close to me, who has worked with me for a long time, knows that I’m open to constructive criticism as a writer and a thinker and a leader,” he wrote.

He added that many left-wing groups have been ripped apart in recent years precisely because of employees “who care more about performing their radicalism” than working to “improve the lives of everyday people.”

“Former employees constantly deauthorized me as the director of the center — not because they were against hierarchy — but to assume authority for themselves,” he continued.

Uh-huh…

In fairness, he also pointed to other centers and organizations that faced trouble, particularly financially, after the Black Lives Matter fervor of 2020 finally dissipated and people regained a sense of clarity.

“Funders that doused organizations with cash in the wake of George Floyd’s murder proved unwilling or unable to sustain their commitment, and layoffs were taking place across the sector, even at large nonprofits like the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative,” the Times notes. “The center had gone from raising $40 million in 2020 to a fraction of that — $420,000 — the next year.”

Kendi also continues to boast a slew of defenders.

“Several people stressed to me that Kendi’s weaknesses as a leader were not as important as the larger forces that surrounded his leadership — the opportunism of white-led institutions, the boom and bust of trend-chasing nonprofit funding, the commodification of Black thought and activism,” according to the Times.

Vivek Saxena

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