“Antiracist” activist and author Ibram X. Kendi took to X to complain about the removal of Harvard University President Claudine Gay, who resigned after more than 50 allegations of plagiarism were levied against her. Kendi blamed “racist mobs” for Gay’s resignation while sidestepping the plagiarism allegations in a lengthy tirade.
Gay’s resignation was announced on Tuesday afternoon after plagiarism allegations against her continued to stack up. The former president has been accused of copy/pasting works from others in more than 50 academic papers, including including her 1997 doctoral dissertation, which was corrected after Harvard determined that it contained “duplicative language without appropriate attribution.”
In a letter announcing her resignation, Gay blamed calls for her resignation on “racial animus” and “personal attacks.”
Harvard President Claudine Gay faces six new plagiarism allegations, totaling nearly 50. An article from 2001 shows significant unattributed borrowing from scholar David Canon. The controversy highlights disparities in academic plagiarism standards. pic.twitter.com/vb8Vb2ornw
— Lavrion Mining (@LavrionMining) January 2, 2024
Ibram X. Kendi echoed Gay’s unfounded accusations of racism in a lengthy X thread, blaming her removal on “anti-black mobs.”
“When a racist mob attacks a Black person, it finds a seemingly legitimate reason for the attack that allows for it to accrue popular support and credibility, and which allows the growing mob to deny they are attacking the person in this way because the person is Black,” Kendi wrote. “That’s how anti-Black racist attacks have been justified.”
He then seemed to absolve Gay of the plagiarism allegations, instead arguing that people only care about it because she is black. “The question is whether all these people would have investigated, surveilled, harassed, written about, and attacked her in the same way if the Harvard president in this case would have been White,” he continued. “I. Think. Not.”
That’s how anti-Black racist attacks have been justified. The seemingly legitimate reason, in this latest case at Harvard, is primarily academic misconduct or plagiarism. The question to assess whether this was a racist attack isn’t whether Dr. Gay engaged in any misconduct. 2/4
— Ibram X. Kendi (@ibramxk) January 2, 2024
Kendi rose to national prominence after his book, How To Be An Antiracist, became a New York Times best seller in the wake of the George Floyd riots. “Anti-racism” is an ideology that commands people to not only stand against “racism” and “racist systems,” but actively seek to dismantle them. This is especially true for white people, who benefit from “racist systems” regardless of their socioeconomic status or upbringing.
Kendi — who has made millions of dollars from lecture circuits and “antiracism” consulting — has struggled to define racism in the past. “Racism is a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalizes racial inequities,” Kendi writes on page 18 of his book, using a circular definition.
In recent months, Kendi has found himself in trouble of his own due to financial irregularities stemming from his “antiracism center” at Boston University, which was founded in 2020.
Complaints began in 2021, with former employees alleging financial mismanagement and a toxic work environment. Saida Grundy, an associate professor of sociology who worked at Kendi’s center, filed a complaint in 2021 alleging that the think tank was collecting grant money with no intention of carrying out research projects. Grundy then alleged that the university retaliated against her for raising the issue.