Culture

Twitter CEO gives $10 million to anti-racist center at BU whose leader believes 'capitalism is racist'

Twitter's Jack Dorsey has given $10 million to anti-racist author and activist Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and the Center for Antirasict Research at Boston University.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn, NY
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Twitter's Jack Dorsey has given $10 million to anti-racist author and activist Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and the Center for Antirasict Research at Boston University.

Dorsey said that "this research will inform and fuel much needed and overdue policy change," and went on to praise Kendi and his work, expressing gratitude for his contribution.

Kendi's books, How to Be an Antiracist among them, are hailed along side Robin DiAngelo's White Fragility, part of a genre of books intended to wake people up to systemic racism, white privilege, and their culpability in contemporary racist practices.

In accepting the $10 million donation from Twitter founder and CEO Dorsey, Kendi said that the money will allow the organization "the resources and flexibility to greatly expand" their "antiracist work."

Often, anti-racist activists will argue that solving the problem of system racism requires a "systemic" approach.

BU Today notes that the money comes with "no strings attached" for the fledgling, six-week old organization. Dorsey gave the money through his own foundation, Start Small.

BU President Robert A. Brown was overwhelmed by Dorsey's gift, saying "What is amazing is just the generosity of Jack Dorsey and that it give the foundation to the center." He said that because the funds are unrestricted, and can be used for any initiative that Kendi's organization deems fit, it "gives the director endless discretion about how the income from the gift will be used over time to advance the center."

Brown went on to call the gift a "tribute to Kendi and his vision for antiracism and for the vision of building a center around scholarship and policy that actually has a positive impact going forward."

Kendi calls racism an "original sin," and has actively called for adding an "anti-racist amendment to the US Constitution." His plan, which could easily be part of his new center's mission, would be to enshrine some sort of quota system into the nation's governing documents. He notes that the "amendment would make unconstitutional racial inequity over a certain threshold, as well as racist ideas by public officials." He notes that those things would be "clearly defined." However, there is no clean consensus today on what racism actually means.

Kendi believes that "there is no such thing as a not-racist idea,' only 'racist ideas and antiracist ideas.'" On policy, he has said that "Every policy in every institution in every community in every nation is producing or sustaining either racial inequity or equity."

One wonders what Dorsey would think of Kendi's claim that "Capitalism is essentially racist" and "racism is essentially capitalist," given that his entire fortune is based in his success in a capitalist marketplace.

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