Award-winning historian and New York Times bestselling author Ibram X. Kendi will give the 2018 Martin Luther King Day keynote address, “Stamped from the Beginning,” which is also the name of his most recent book that won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Kendi puts forth a simple definition of a racist idea: “any concept that regards one racial group as inferior or superior to another racial group in any way.” Kendi tests this definition against the real-world effects of policies, norms, and prominent figures that have shaped U.S. thinking on race. One of the great challenges posed by Kendi’s analysis is that, historically, champions of racial justice in the U.S. have been just as committed to narratives of African-American racial inferiority as have been their overtly anti-black counterparts. Kendi positions this myth as central to understanding centuries of U.S. racial politics and inequality.
Kendi is a professor of history and international relations and the founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University.
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