Author, historian, activist and professor Ibram X. Kendi will be the keynote speaker Thursday evening at the “How to be an Anti-Racist” presentation hosted by the Utah State University Access and Diversity Center (ADC).
His speech and Q&A session begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Eccles Science Learning Center auditorium, with a book signing directly after from 8-9 p.m. His book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, is for sale in the campus store.
“Right now I’d say he’s the expert on racist ideas in America,” said Christian Stettler, a multicultural program coordinator for the ADC. “He looks at racist ideas and where they came from and why people might still have them today, even if they’re not aware of them.”
Stettler said he liked how, rather than pointing fingers and talking about who’s racist and who’s not racist, Kendi instead looked at the ideas themselves.
Stettler organized the event after reading Kendi’s book.
“It just changed the way I looked at things,” Stettler said. “I thought he had some perspectives that were worth sharing with other people.”
At first, a few people were concerned that the event would be too political or radical, since much of the planning took place immediately after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that began a national debate about racism.
But Stettler said once people looked up Kendi and saw that he was not controversial, the concerns were settled.
“We can grow together by learning about ourselves,” Stettler said.
Photo courtesy of USU’s Access and Diversity Center