Behind the Chaos: Kendi’s Antiracist Center Rocked by Financial Turmoil and Mission Confusion

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The Center for Antiracist Research: A Tumultuous History

The Center for Antiracist Research (CAR), founded by Ibram X. Kendi at Boston University, has been plagued by financial and administrative turmoil, casting a shadow over its mission to combat racism.

Financial Mismanagement and Lack of Clarity

Former staffers allege that the center’s finances were kept secret for months. Kendi also came under fire for partnering with Deloitte’s diversity arm, a move that many saw as a betrayal of the center’s values due to Deloitte’s work with police and prisons.

The absence of clear goals left employees confused about the center’s direction. Kendi’s vision of “fighting racism” was criticized for being too broad, leading to a lack of focus in its research.

Overwhelmed Staff and Lack of Resources

Employees reported being overworked, taking on multiple roles they were not qualified for. The center’s systems were inadequate, adding to the chaos. Yanique Redwood, the center’s former executive director, described the situation as “unbelievable” for an institution with so much attention.

Layoffs and Internal Dissent

In September 2023, the center dismissed 19 of its 36 staffers. This followed a period of internal dissent, with staff airing grievances about the center’s lack of direction and financial mismanagement.

In a retreat, sociologist Saida Grundy accused Kendi of having a shallow vision and called for a more focused approach. The center’s research output was also questioned, with only two original academic works produced by November 2023.

Internal Investigation and External Criticism

Boston University conducted an investigation into the center but found no evidence of financial misconduct. However, the center’s reputation was tarnished by the allegations and layoffs.

Kendi’s hardline views on race have also been a source of controversy. His belief in systemic racism and the need to “identify and describe it” has drawn criticism from those who question the efficacy of focusing on perceived racial injustices instead of individual accountability.

Despite its lofty aspirations, the Center for Antiracist Research faces an uncertain future amidst questions about its effectiveness, financial stability, and the wisdom of its leadership.