Readers took The New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg to task for defending “anti-racist” activist Ibram Kendi after his anti-racist center at Boston University faced layoffs.
Goldberg attempted to defend Kendi by saying the downfall of the BU Center for Anti-Racist Research was a result of a “failed funding model,” rather than his own shortcomings.
“It’s almost hard to blame right-wingers for their delight; Kendi’s mistakes played right into their hands. But for the rest of us, it’s important to understand that the center’s seeming breakdown is more the result of a failed funding model than a failed ideology,” Goldberg wrote. “It exemplifies the lamentable tendency among left-leaning donors to chase fads and celebrities rather than build sustainable institutions.”
Goldberg’s readers did not buy her argument, saying it is not just conservatives who disagree with Kendi’s beliefs.
“It’s the opposite,” one person said, according to Hot Air. “This isn’t just a failure of implementation. Kendi’s ideas are unpersuasive to those of us on the center-left and even many liberals. We just don’t make much of a fuss about them, because of politeness (or fear), save for people like Michelle’s colleague John McWhorter. To portray it as if only right wingers disagree with his advocated policy solutions is not reflective of attitudes more broadly.”
“Kendi is a false prophet of the most damaging kind,” a New York resident wrote in the comment section. “As someone who studied critical race theory in the 90s in law school led by authentic intellects, I’m still floored that people fell for his grift for as long as they have. He has done more harm than good to the theory. Anyone who claims that if you disagree with any of their ideology, you are a racist, is flat out disingenuous. His “solution” of a federal department of anti racism run by people trained by him was authoritarianism at its worst.” (RELATED: Ibram Kendi’s ‘Antiracist’ Center In Disarray Despite Raking In Millions Of Dollars)
I actually kind of respect Michelle Goldberg as at least creative in her writing. But this piece is wildly stupid. Ibram Kendi is simply a scammer. No one on the right thinks the project failed because its foundation was weak. It was just a fraud. pic.twitter.com/TabSbbetsp
— Eddie Scarry (@eScarry) September 26, 2023
Another New Yorker wrote, “no, Michelle, it’s not simply a failed funding model. It’s a failing set of ideas, and maybe the realization that the religious model (a set of unprovable beliefs, evildoers, victims, martyrs, etc) is not a great foundation for an academic center. Liberals and moderates have had a few years now to take a look at all of this and formulate a reasonable reply, and it is mostly, ‘NO.'”
“Goldberg lets Kendi off far too easily. Sure, it is an indictment of the donors: fools are their money are soon parted,” a California resident wrote. “But it’s also an indictment of Boston University, agreeing to accept so much money with so little oversight. Mostly though, it’s an indictment of Kendi. Many of those of us who care about the underlying problems have found Kendi’s oeuvre to be intellectually vacuous. And apparently, he’s as good at managing money and an organization as he is a writer.”
Another blamed Kendi’s “juvenile ideas” have been detrimental to a person’s psychology, according to the outlet.
“Progressives’ eagerness to cry racism or Tom-ism at those who questioned the academic quality of Kendi’s work is one reason why they can’t coordinate as well as conservatives do. Insults and fear-mongering don’t garner meaningful support. Also, Kendi’s juvenile ideas refute the basic tenets of cognitive behavioral therapy: avoid black and white thinking, avoid catastrophizing, embrace individual agency. Meanwhile, Kendi is laughing all the way to the bank.”
One mother said she was “horrified” by Kendi’s “cancellation-style measures” for elementary school-aged children allegedly susceptible to demonstrating “racist behavior,” according to Hot Air.
“Dr. Kendi addressed my kid’s elementary school a couple of years ago. I listened in (all on Zoom) and was horrified by what I heard. He spoke approvingly of harsh cancellation-style measures for young children who demonstrate ‘racist behavior.’ While I understand that such behavior is distressing, it is nonetheless neurotypically normal – irresistible even – for some young children to push on boundaries to find out what happens next. Of course such behavior needs remediation, but cancelling them is not the answer.”
One San Francisco resident called Kendi a “deeply flawed reasoner” and an “embarrassing narcissist,” according to Hot Air.
“Kendi, in short, wants a totalitarian body composed of “formally trained experts on racism”–that is, people like himself–to exert total power over our laws and public officials. Why doesn’t anyone ever mention this?” another wrote, according to the outlet.
Kendi broke his silence on the “Anti-Racism Center” layoffs by saying he made tough decision to lay off many staff members “to ensure our long-term sustainability and impact” in a Friday statement.
“I had to make the hardest decision of my career and lay off a number of talented and committed staff from the BU Center for Antiracist Research to ensure our long-term sustainability and impact. We are doing our best to support our affected colleagues during this difficult time of transition, and we welcome Boston University’s inquiry into the Center’s operations,” Kendi said.