The 'Stand United, Fight Hate' lectures feature prominent leaders and scholars of diversity, equality, and justice. These speakers represent UMass Amherst's dedication to stand united against hatred and bigotry and in defense of diversity and inclusion.
Inaugural Speaker: Ibram X. Kendi on "How to be an Antiracist"
New York Times Best-Selling Author Dr. Ibram X. Kendi delivered the inaugural ‘Stand United, Fight Hate’ Lecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on November 7, 2018 at the Fine Arts Center Concert Hall from 6:00-7:30pm.
His talk was based in part on his forthcoming book How to Be an Antiracist. “Many people are craving a concise message on how to be an antiracist at this time, in this very moment,” Kendi says. People are searching for candid directions about how to pour their passion into building an antiracist society.”
According to Kendi, in order to actually be an anti-racist, one must actively work to dismantle the discriminatory policies in the United States, and the racist rationale given to defend those policies, to change the practices that perpetuate inequality among different racial groups.
“The source of racist policies is not ignorance and hate — it’s self-interest and power,” Kendi said. “Fundamentally, this racial struggle has always been a power struggle at its core. To be an anti-racist is to be engaged in the power struggle and to realize that the way we build empathy in society is not by convincing and persuading millions of people — it’s getting into positions of power where you can change policy to create equity.”
Kendi also addressed the recent incidents on the UMass Campus. “I understand that we’ve had some activity recently here,” Kendi said shortly after taking the stage. “It’s critical for us to recognize the purpose of racial terror; it makes people fear. But, it’s important to consistently blame the policies, not the people,” he urged.
As a part of his visit to UMass, Kendi met with students to revisit his book The Black Campus Movement and its relevance for ongoing racial struggles impacting campuses across the country today.
This event was sponsored by the UMass Amherst Office of Equity & Inclusion and Five Colleges, Incorporated and was free and open to the public.
About Ibram X. Kendi
Ibram X. Kendi is widely regarded as a leading scholar of racism and discriminatory policy in America. He is a Professor of History and International Relations and the Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. He is an Ideas Columnist for The Atlantic and has been a frequent contributor in publications such as Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, The Root, Salon, The New York Times, Time, The Huffington Post and The Washington Post.
At the age of 34, Kendi became the youngest person to win the National Book Award for Nonfiction for Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. Reviewers have called the book “required reading,” with Forbes stating it “should be on every young leader’s bookshelf.” Stamped From the Beginning will be available for purchase and an opportunity for book signing will follow Kendi’s talk.
Kendi is also the author of The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965–1972, a groundbreaking and award-winning work illustrating the impact of African-American student activism on college and university campuses.