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Kendi’s ‘Antiracist’ center mostly fired black and Latino employees: analysis

ANALYSIS: Likely layoffs include four black employees and four Hispanics

Boston University Professor Ibram Kendi’s Center for Antiracist Research appears to have fired mostly racial minorities as part of its recent restructuring, according to a College Fix analysis of the layoffs.

The review found there are likely four black employees, four Hispanics, two Indians, one Asian, and one Middle Eastern employee who are no longer employed by the antiracist center due to layoffs.

One reason may be that the center was more inclined to hire non-white staff from the beginning.

But according to Kendi, any policy that results in racial disparities flows from and is proof of racism.

“A racist policy yields racial disparities,” Kendi previously stated in The New York Times. “An anti-racist policy reduces or eliminates racial disparities.”

“A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups,” Kendi also wrote in his book, “How to Be an Antiracist.”

The center staff page that previously listed 45 employees is now empty. The Fix used archived websites and other reported information to determine that the research team was likely cut as part of the layoffs.

Both the university’s communications coordinator McKayla Richardson and the center’s media contact, Tami Nguyen, did not respond to The Fix’s emails on Oct. 17 and Nov. 2 that asked about staff layoffs.

However, previous reporting indicates that the fired staff were from the policy and research teams and that the majority of the fired staff were minorities, including four black employees.

Phillipe Copeland, a clinical associate professor in the School of Social Work, told The Daily Free Press student newspaper in September: “If something was not sufficiently revenue-producing, then it wasn’t worth CAR’s [Center for Anti Racism Research] time.”

He also told the newspaper that at least one of the donors of the center was unhappy with the work being done and therefore pulled their funding earlier this year.

The university announced on Tuesday that there were no issues identified so far with financial management, but its investigation into grant reporting and the culture will continue.

MORE: Kendi hasn’t published a new paper in 4 years

The policy team is the other likely team to have been cut. The last reports from the policy team on the center’s website were from June 2022, more than a full year before the layoffs.

Additionally, Spencer Piston, the former faculty lead of the policy team, told the Daily Free Press that he was unsure if his job was secure.

Given these two teams as the likely subjects of the majority of layoffs, there were likely four black employees, four Hispanics, two Indians, one Asian, and one Middle Eastern employee who are no longer employed there.

Seven white people were also fired from the center. Neither Richardson nor Nguyen responded to The Fix’s emails about whether these numbers are accurate reflections of the demographics of the layoffs.

These staff are being replaced by the new fellows in the new fellowship model that the center is now employing.

The fellows page indicates that the first round of fellows will be two postdoctoral fellows that will be paid a stipend of $65,000 a year plus benefits and an additional $2,000 dollars for “research and project related expenses.”

The first round of the fellows should have already been hired by the center, and will continue from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025.

The university announced in September an investigation would look into the center’s management.

It came after several years of media outlets, including The College Fix, raising questions about the gap between Kendi’s promises and his results.

MORE: Kendi again cites ‘racist’ criticism of failing think tank

IMAGE: Aspen Institute/YouTube

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About the Author
Jonathan Draeger-- University of Wisconsin, Madison