Ibram X. Kendi's Woke Indulgences

Ibram X. Kendi's Woke Indulgences
(Jeff Watts/American University via AP)

In August 2019, as young journalists agitated for their newsrooms to pivot toward social justice, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's research center at American University secured a $50,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to develop a "racial reporting guidebook" to help the media hew to Kendi’s "antiracist" principles.

The school touted the grant as one of its 2019 achievements, and Kendi’s academic perch at AU, the Antiracist Research and Policy Center, proudly advertised on its website a fall 2019 symposium on "racial reporting."

But neither the guidebook nor the symposium ever materialized—further details were promised well into 2020. The project’s mysterious disappearance is but one instance in which Kendi and colleagues’ big promises never came to fruition.

Over the past half decade, Kendi has become liberal America's guiding light on the academic study of racism. He has written three bestselling books, published op-eds in the New York Times and Washington Post, and has been named a contributor to the Atlantic and CBS News. But the glitzy academic center at which he roosted for much of that time produced no real academic research.

Instead, the ARPC hosted a swanky gala honoring liberals from George and Amal Clooney to Barack and Michelle Obama, as well as "conversations" with people such as Black Panthers founder Bobby Seale. And it ran an "antiracist confessions board" on which students and administrators were encouraged to overcome the "denial" that characterizes racism by "confessing" the details of their "journey" to being antiracist. 

The racial reporting guidebook isn’t the only project that never materialized. Another $200,000 Ford Foundation grant, for a promised "National Antibigotry Project," exists entirely on paper. Other projects Kendi promised—"policy teams," the "world’s largest" library of data on racial inequality, and classes for American University students—did not come to fruition before his departure this summer for the new Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University.

A spokeswoman for the Antiracist Research and Policy Center told the Washington Free Beacon that academic output is not the center’s only purpose but did not comment on Kendi’s failure to fulfill these commitments.

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