- Born: Ibram Henry Rogers August 13, 1982 (age 38)
- Queens, New York City, U.S.
- Occupation: Writer, historian, professor
- Nationality: American
- Education: Florida A&M University - Temple University
- Notable Awards: 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction
- Spouse: Sadiqa Kendi (m. 2013)
- Children: 1
"BEING AN ANTIRACIST REQUIRES PERSISTENT SELF-AWARENESS, CONSTANT SELF-CRITICISM, AND REGULAR SELF-EXAMINATION."
- IBRAM X. KENDI
BRAM X. KENDI is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist voices. He is a National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times bestselling author. Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities and the Founding Director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. Kendi is a contributor writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News Racial Justice Contributor. He is also the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study at Harvard University. In 2020, Time magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Ibram Xolani Kendi (born Ibram Henry Rogers; August 13, 1982) is an American author, professor, and historian of race and discriminatory policy in America. In July 2020, he assumed the position of director of the Center for Antiracist Research at Boston University. His work in Boston is a continuation of his work at the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at the American University.
Kendi was included in Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2020.
Early life and education
Kendi was born in the Jamaica neighborhood of the New York City borough of Queens, to Larry Rogers, a tax accountant and then hospital chaplain, and Carol Rogers, a former health care business analyst for a health-care organization. Both of his parents are now retired and work as Methodist ministers. He has an older brother, Akil.
From third to eighth grade, Kendi attended private Christian schools in Queens. After attending John Bowne High School as a freshman, at age 15, Kendi moved with his family to Manassas, Virginia in 1997 and attended Stonewall Jackson High School for his final three years of high school, graduating in 2000.
In 2005, Kendi received dual B.S. degrees in African American Studies and magazine production from Florida A&M University. In 2007, Kendi earned an M.A. and in 2010 a PhD in African American Studies from Temple University. Kendi's dissertation was titled "The Black Campus Movement: An Afrocentric Narrative History of the Struggle to Diversify Higher Education, 1965-1972.” His advisor was Ama Mazama.
From 2008 to 2012, Kendi was an assistant professor of history in the Department of Africana and Latino Studies within the Department of History at State University of New York at Oneonta. From 2012 to 2015, Kendi was an assistant professor of Africana Studies in the Department of Africana Studies as well as the Department of History at University at Albany, SUNY. During this time, from 2013 to 2014, Kendi was a visiting scholar in the Department of Africana Studies at Brown University, where he taught courses as a visiting assistant professor in the Fall of 2014.
From 2015 to 2017, Kendi was an assistant professor in University of Florida's Department of History's African American Studies Program.
In 2017, Kendi became a professor of history and international relations at the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and School of International Service (SIS) at American University in Washington, D.C. In September 2017, Kendi founded The Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, serving as its Executive Director.
In June 2020, it was announced that Kendi would join Boston University as a professor of history. Upon accepting the position, Kendi agreed to move the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University to Boston University, where he will serve as the founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research.
During the 2020-2021 academic year, Kendi will serve as the Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study at Harvard University.
Kendi has published essays in both books and academic journals, including The Journal of African American History, Journal of Social History, Journal of Black Studies, Journal of African American Studies, and The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture. Kendi is a contributing writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of five books:
The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965–1972
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
How to Be an Antiracist
STAMPED: Racism, Antiracism, and You
In 2016, Kendi won the National Book Award for Nonfiction for his book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which was published by Nation Books. The title of the book came from an 1860 speech given by Jefferson Davis at the U.S. Senate, and was built around the stories of historical figures Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois and current figure Angela Davis.
How to Be an Antiracist
Main article: How to Be an Antiracist
bram X. Kendi presenting his new book How to Be an Antiracist at Unitarian Universalist Church located in Montclair, New Jersey, on August 14, 2019
A New York Times #1 Best Seller in 2020, How to Be an Antiracist, was Kendi's most popular work thus far. Professor Jeffrey C. Stewart called it the "most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind." Afua Hirsch praised the book's introspection and wrote that it was relatable in the context of ongoing political events. Andrew Sullivan and Coleman Hughes, writing for City Journal, gave negative reviews, contending that the book's arguments were simplistic. They also criticized Kendi's idea of transferring most government oversight to a Department of Antiracism, which Hughes called "openly totalitarian." While Hughes praised Kendi for taking "a refreshingly strong stand against anti-white racism in the book, rejecting the fashionable argument that blacks cannot be racist because they lack power," Hughes criticized the book for being "sloppily researched, insufficiently fact-checked, and occasionally self-contradictory." Kelefa Sanneh noted Kendi's "sacred fervor" in battling racism, but wondered if his definition of racism was so capacious and outcome-dependent as to risk losing its power.
COVID-19 and George Floyd protests
On May 27, 2020, Kendi appeared before the United States House Committee on Ways and Means about the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on African Americans, saying: “This is the racial pandemic within the viral pandemic.”
Kendi has been a long-time outspoken critic of police involved killings of black men and women. In 2020, speaking to The New York Times after How to Be an Antiracist saw renewed interest during the George Floyd protests, Kendi called the mood in the United States during the protests "a signature, significant distinct moment of people striving to be antiracist."
Before the protests, Kendi published a proposal for a Constitutional Amendment in the US to establish and fund the Department of Anti-racism (DOA). This department would be responsible for “preclearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won’t yield racial inequity, monitor those policies, investigate and be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.”
Comments on Amy Coney Barrett's children
Kendi provoked controversy when he tweeted about the relationship between Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's third Supreme Court nominee, and two of her seven children, who had been adopted from an orphanage in Haiti. Kendi said: "Some White colonizers 'adopted' Black children. They 'civilized' these 'savage' children in the 'superior' ways of White people, while using them as props in their lifelong pictures of denial, while cutting the biological parents of these children out of the picture of humanity. And whether this is Barrett or not is not the point. It is a belief too many White people have: if they have or adopt a child of color, then they can't be racist." His remarks were interpreted as criticizing interracial adoption. Kendi's statement was echoed by white supremacist Richard Spencer, who retweeted it, saying "Not wrong". A substantial backlash against Kendi ensued and he later said his comments were taken out of context and that he does not believe that white parents of black children are inherently racist.
In 2013, Kendi married Sadiqa Kendi, a pediatric emergency medicine doctor, in Jamaica in a ceremony officiated by Kendi's parents. The wedding ceremony ended with a naming ceremony of their new last name, "Kendi", which means "the loved one" in the language of the Meru people of Kenya. Kendi changed his middle name to Xolani, a Xhosa and Zulu word for "peace."
In January 2018, a colonoscopy indicated that Kendi had cancer. A further test revealed that he had stage 4 colon cancer that had spread into his liver. After six months of chemotherapy and surgery that summer, Kendi was cancer free.
Kendi is a vegan.
Honors and awards
- 2016: National Book Award, National Book Award for Nonfiction for Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
- 2019: Guggenheim Fellowship, Fellow, U.S. History
- 2020: Harvard University, Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study, Frances B. Cashin Fellow
Selected works and publications
- Rogers, Ibram Henry (November 2009). The Black Campus Movement: An Afrocentric Narrative History of the Struggle to Diversify Higher Education, 1965-1972 (PhD). Temple University.
- Kendi, Ibram X. (2012). The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965-1972. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-137-01650-8. OCLC 795781224.
- Kendi, Ibram X. (2016). Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. New York: Nation Books. ISBN 978-1-568-58464-5. OCLC 946615694. Wikidata page Wikidata (View with Reasonator)
- Kendi, Ibram X. (2019). How to Be An Antiracist. New York: One World. ISBN 978-0-525-50929-5. OCLC 1112221532.
- Reynolds, Jason; Kendi, Ibram X. (2020). STAMPED: Racism, Antiracism, and You. New York: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-45367-7. OCLC 1140447496.
- Kendi, Ibram X.; Lukashevsky, Ashley (illustrated by) (2020). Antiracist Baby. New York: Kokila. ISBN 978-0-593-11050-8. OCLC 1143836565.
- Rogers, Ibram (20 November 2008). "Required Service-Learning Courses: A Disciplinary Necessity to Preserve the Decaying Social Mission of Black Studies". Journal of Black Studies. 40 (6): 1119–1135. doi:10.1177/0021934708325734. S2CID 144489262.
- Kendi, Ibram X. (2014). "Nationalizing Resistance: Race and New York in the 20th Century". New York History. 95 (4): 537–542. doi:10.1353/nyh.2014.0000. S2CID 165487830.
- Kendi, Ibram X. (8 April 2016). "An Intellectual History of a Book Title: Stamped from the Beginning". Black Perspectives. African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS).
- Kendi, Ibram X. (22 January 2016). "Reclaiming MLK's Unspeakable Nightmare: The Progression of Racism in America". Black Perspectives. African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS).
- Kendi, Ibram X. (2 July 2017). "Analysis: The Civil Rights Act was a victory against racism. But racists also won". The Washington Post.
- Kendi, Ibram X. (13 November 2017). "Perspective: Trump sounds ignorant of history. But racist ideas often masquerade as ignorance". The Washington Post.
- Kendi, Ibram X. (13 January 2018). "Opinion: The Heartbeat of Racism Is Denial". The New York Times.
- Kendi, Ibram X. (15 July 2018). "Black Doctoral Studies: The Radically Antiracist Idea of Molefi Kete Asante". Journal of Black Studies. 49 (6): 542–558. doi:10.1177/0021934718786124. S2CID 149677943.
- Kendi, Ibram X. (6 December 2018). "This is what an antiracist America would look like. How do we get there?". The Guardian.
- Kendi, Ibram X. (10 January 2019). "What I Learned From Cancer". The Atlantic.
- Kendi, Ibram X. (19 June 2019). "There Is No Middle Ground on Reparations". The Atlantic.
- Kendi, Ibram X. (December 2019). "There is no such thing as race in health-care algorithms". The Lancet Digital Health. 1 (8): e375. doi:10.1016/S2589-7500(19)30201-8.
- Kendi, Ibram X. (4 May 2020). "We're Still Living and Dying in the Slaveholders' Republic". The Atlantic.
- Kendi, Ibram X. (1 June 2020). "The American Nightmare". The Atlantic.
Kendi, Ibram X. (16 December 2016). "Commencement Speech: Are you an intellectual?". University of Florida.
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