Tuesday, April 13, 2021

He ‘redefined casteism’. Now he is trying to build a news room.

Dr. Kendi’s book, a memoir argues that Americans of all races must confront their roles in a racist system, has attracted attention, and disputes, clarifying matters as a hypercharge away from their current use of the term “racist” Is pulled as reserved for. . He thinks the term should be associated with verbs, not people, and is used to describe supportive policies – such as standardized tests – that produce racially disparate results. Focus on results led to Dr. Helped put Kendy at the center of a long-running argument about the roots of inequality. But when he published his book, he said, he was daring the criticism from the left. It had become an axiom in some circles that Black Americans, by definition, could not be racist. But in his book, people doing racist acts include President Barack Obama himself and Dr. Kendy included.

And so Dr. Kendy’s work has deservedly influenced a growing newsroom debate using the term, rather than asserting policy, as a personal charge. The 2019 book, and the intense focus on racism following the assassination of George Floyd next year, Drs. Kendy became a mainstream best-selling author from a well-regarded but low-key academic network whose book has been sold at Logan’s Airport. He has become one of his friends in what he calls “Captain Black America” ​​- a black academic or journalist who becomes a lightning rod for the babysitter and the object of white liberal adoration, as Ta-Nehi Coats noted in his 2014 Did for the Atlantic article. Compensation

“If he didn’t exist, his critics would need to invent him, because he’s a man they could target,” said New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb.

Dr. Self-promotion does not come naturally for Kendi. But on Thursday at home to put her daughter to bed, she posed for a brief interview in the lobby of the Boston University building, wearing double masked and three layers of wool against cold rain. While I was waiting, I read on Twitter about Alexei McCondond, a young black woman who was forced Resign as the new editor of Teen Vogue She dispatched as a teenager after a controversy over racist tweets about Asians. I asked him how his view is that “racist” is not a permanent label for an individual class with a dysfunctional social media culture and a growing corporate culture that has translated their work into formal training sessions – topic A recent critical opinion piece In The Globe.

Dr. Kendy said he would not “police” how people use their work. People should be held accountable for being racist, but I think people should be able to repair the damage, ”he said. “I don’t see ‘racist’ as a definite category.” He said he did not believe that “if anyone said 20 years ago or even two days ago that right now, even in this moment, they are also racist.”

It is not the case that most Americans, or most journalists, use the term. But it has a clarity and flexibility that makes it valuable no matter where you dr. Buy into Kendy’s broader worldview, which includes widespread criticism of American capitalism. And The Emancipator is interesting in part because it is an opportunity to put his ideas into journalistic practice.

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