The man in charge of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, has donated $10 million to Ibram Kendi’s Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University.
Boston University announced the donation on Friday, which Kendi says was provided by the Twitter CEO with “no strings attached.” The money, he says, would be “transformative,” with a cool million going towards immediate use.
“I’m elated,” Kendi said. “You want something, you work for something, you think something could be transformative — like a major gift to the center — but you never know when you’re going to receive it. For Jack to commit to us and to trust us and invest in us, I’m still coming to grips with it.”
The center was launched in June by Kendi, the author of the book How to Be an Antiracist, which was published in the weeks following the Black Lives Matter protests that kicked off with the death of George Floyd.
Social unrest over Floyd’s death has spread throughout some of the largest cities in the United States, many of which have vowed to defund the police in response to calls to abolish law enforcement.
The center’s website claims that it is dedicated to dealing with the “seemingly intractable problems of racial inequality and injustice. We foster exhaustive racial research, research-based policy innovation, data-driven education and advocacy campaigns, and narrative-changing initiatives. We are working toward building an antiracist society that ensures equity and justice for all.”
Kendi claims that it isn’t enough to be not racist, one must be “anti-racist” to be the opposite of racist.
“One endorses either the idea of a racial hierarchy as a racist, or racial equality as an antiracist,” writes Kendi in his book. “One either believes problems are rooted in groups of people, as a racist, or locates the roots of problems in power and policies, as an antiracist. One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist.”
“There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist,’” Kendi says. “The claim of ‘not racist’ neutrality is a mask for racism.”
Racism, he says, is responsible for all the inequality in the world, with whiteness to blame for the crises faced by “communities of colour,” including higher mortality rates, pollution, poverty, and lack of education.
Kendi was recently invited to lecture NASA employees in a seminar titled “Understand Anti-racism by Understanding What it Means to be Racist.” NASA told the Daily Wire that the government organization announced that inclusion was a new core value at NASA, which it claims will allow it to grow its talent and workforce and empower “everyone” to fully contribute.
One might wonder how exactly a degree in race studies will enable NASA’s workforce to further its ambitions to go expand to the final frontier, but one might also imagine that it is necessary for space itself to be declared “anti-racist” when China claims Mars for itself and bars Europe and America from entry into the Martian atmosphere.