Ibram X. Kendi, author of “Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” will appear tonight at 6 p.m. at Loyola Marymount University to discuss his book and the ways that racism is woven into the fabric of American culture.
Kendi, whose work won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction, is a professor of history and the founding director of the Anti-Racism Center at American University in Washington, D.C.
In his book, Kendi argues that racism stems not from ignorance or hate, as is often claimed, but from centuries of effort by entrenched economic interests working to maintain their superiority, and that racist policies often led to a belief in inferiority among races, and not the other way around. He also takes on revered figures not frequently viewed as racist, such as W.E.B. DuBois or abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, and shows how their words and deeds at times supported racist views.
“That’s one of the reasons why I decided to write a book on racist ideas, as opposed to racists,” Kendi said in at 2017 interview with Truthout. “I wanted to show the complexity of the human mind: How people can hold both racist and anti-racist ideas, how people can express both types of ideas, in the same book, in the same speech, in the same paragraph.”
The event is co-sponsored by the African American Studies Department, Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts Office of the Dean, Office of Intercultural Affairs, Ethnic and Intercultural Services, the departments of History and Sociology, and Charles Mason of LMU’s admissions team.