CSUB’s Kegley Institute of Ethics to host antiracism activist Ibram X. Kendi


Flyer for Ibram X. Kendi’s How to be an Antiracist. Flyer provided by Kegley Institute of Ethics

Jordan Fraizer, Contributor

  Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, best-selling author and director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research, will be discussing his New York Times best-selling book, “How to be an Antiracist,” with the CSUB community on Wednesday, April 14. This event is open to the public and begins at 6 p.m. via Zoom. CSU Bakersfield’s Kegley Institute of Ethics and Campus Programming are co-sponsoring this event. 

  “The heartbeat of racism itself has always been denial, and the sounds of that heartbeat has always been ‘I’m not racist,’” Kendi says in a Ted Talk posted to YouTube on June 17, 2020. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCxbl5QgFZw) 

  Kendi is a professor of humanities at Boston University, and is a leading antiracist scholar. Two of Kendi’s books that are on the New York Times Bestseller list are “How to Be an Antiracist” and “Four Hundred Souls.” 

  According to the Kegley Institute of Ethics website, its mission is to “Inspire our Community to Recognize the Value of Thinking About and Engaging in Ethics.”  Some of the past lectures that KIE has hosted include “The Long History of College-in-Prison: A Field at the Crossroads,” by the creator and executive director of the Bard Prison Initiative, Dr. Max Kenner. 

  This virtual event with Kendi will focus on how individuals should grasp how racism works and understand the subject of antiracism, said KIE Director Dr. Michael Burroughs. These events are usually held in the CSUB Doré Theatre, which can only hold up to about 500 people. This virtual event is open to all who want to attend, whether they are part of CSUB or the wider community. 

  Other faculty at CSUB are looking forward to the spring lecture by Kendi. 

  “Research that is generated from splendid Black male and female minds is rarely represented in our textbooks, seldom displayed in our classrooms, sparsely spoken about from our academics. It is important that Kendi speak at CSUB because he is brilliant on so many levels,” said CSUB communications professor Dr. Elizabeth Jackson. 

  According to Kendi in the TED Talk, for people to be considered antiracists, they need to take accountability for racism. An individual would be considered racist when not acknowledging the inequality that people face in this country. Kendi says slave holders did not view their practices as racist through minority groups. 

  “This construct of being not racist and denying one’s racism goes all the way back to the origins of the country,” Kendi says. 

  The Kegley Institute of Ethics is trying to bring about a greater understand of what is racism. 

  “We all enter daily lives with our perspective, and I think one thing we try to do as an institute is to bring diverse perspectives on pressing issues on our world and our region,” Burroughs said. 

  Access the Zoom event at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 14 at this link: https://csub.zoom.us/j/82440309975.