Ibram Kendi Presents How to be an Anti-Racist
Thursday, Oct. 05, 2017
Renowned American political activist, scholar and author Ibram X. Kendi visits the Utah State University campus this fall for a keynote presentation on “How to be an Anti-Racist,” Thursday, Oct. 12.
- Keynote presentation with Q&A at USU’s Eccles Science Learning Center (ESLC) Auditorium, 6:30-8 p.m. Open to all.
- Book Signing at USU’s Eccles Science Learning Center (ESLC) Room 046, 8-9 p.m. Open to all.
Kendi, an award-winning historian and New York Times best-selling author, is professor of history and international relations and the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. His second book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, was published by Nation Books and won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction. At 34-years-old, Kendi was the youngest ever winner of the NBA for Nonfiction.
“The USU Access and Diversity Center is delighted to have Dr. Kendi visit our campus to educate us and hopefully bring us all closer together,” said Chirstian Stettler, multi-cultural coordinator for USU’s Access and Diversity office. “Political discourse concerning race in America often devolves into arbitrary arguments about who/what is more racist. What makes Dr. Kendi’s work unique is that he focuses, instead, on racist ideas – ‘any concept that regards one racial group as inferior or superior to another racial group in any way’. He assembles an exhaustive history of these racist ideas using ‘historical tour-guides’ to traffic us back to the mid-1600’s, all the way to the present.”
Kendi’s national book award-winning study argues that racism in America has grown from deliberate policies rather than from emotional responses like fear or hatred. Starting with the Puritans, Kendi traces the development of racist ideas and their effect on racist practices through the lives of five thinkers, discussing Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois and Angela Davis. Within these profiles Kendi, identifies three strains of thought about race: segregation, antiracism and assimilation; outlines their differences and points to how each can be discredited in order to free the nation for the post-racial era it has long yearned for.
“Those who read Kendi’s book or attend his lecture may be surprised to find that they, themselves, have been unknowingly harboring racist ideas,” Stettler said. “The good news is that if we are able to identify these racist ideas and admit that they are a part of our conscience we might be liberated from those very racist ideas.”
While visiting campus, Kendi will also attend a private reception with USU’s Black Student Union.
For more information on this event, please contact Christian Stettler, Christian.Stettler@usu.edu, or 435-797-5562.