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After Rittenhouse Acquittal, Ibram X. Kendi Says Trump Supporters Are ‘Fighting To Maintain White Male Supremacy’
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 10: Ibram X. Kendi visits Build to discuss the book Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You at Build Studio on March 10, 2020 in New York City.
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Critical Race Theorist and Boston University professor Ibram X. Kendi attributed Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal to a desire to “maintain white male supremacy.”

Rittenhouse — a teenager charged with murder for fatally shooting two men and injuring a third while defending himself during a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin — was declared not guilty on Friday afternoon. Following the verdict, Kendi said on Twitter that he is “thinking about” an article he wrote last year in The Atlantic.

“They are fighting to maintain white male supremacy,” he quoted from the article. “Which is to say, they are defending law and order. Defending their America — where white men can rule and brutalize without consequence.”

The article, which discusses the summer of 2020 as the “summer of Trumpism,” denounces Trump for claiming that Rittenhouse was acting in self-defense — a conclusion supported by evidence revealed during the trial. As Kendi wrote:

The summer ended on August 25, when Kyle Rittenhouse borrowed an AR-15-style assault rifle from a friend and allegedly fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony M. Huber and injured Gaige Grosskreutz. These three people had been demonstrating in Kenosha, Wisconsin, against the police shooting of Jacob Blake two days earlier. Trump suggested that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. “He was trying to get away from them,” Trump said. “And he fell and then they very violently attacked him … He probably would have been killed” if he didn’t defend himself with lethal force.

The violence of Chauvin and Rittenhouse bookended the summer of Trumpism. The three long, hot months from May 25 to August 25 compressed 413 years of American history into a cellphone video in which anyone could easily see the history for what it has always been: the violent “self-defense” of white male supremacy. Colonialism, capitalism, slavery and slave trading, Indian removal, manifest destiny, colonization, the Ku Klux Klan, Chinese exclusion, disenfranchisement, Jim Crow, eugenics, massive resistance, “law and order,” Islamophobia, family separation — all were done in the name of defending life or civilization or freedom.

Following the verdict, Washington Post politics reporter Eugene Scott also quoted from the article: “Whenever white male supremacy shoots, assaults, violates, devastates, exploits — no matter what, there is the projection of innocence. Gun residue on his hands. Innocent. Blood on his hands. Innocent. Stolen life savings in his hands. Innocent.”

Last month, Kendi posted and later deleted a tweet that accidentally refuted the entirety of his left-wing worldview.

Kendi shared an article from The Hill observing that many white students applying to college falsely claim that they belong to racial minority groups — specifically, “to improve their chances of getting accepted” or “get minority-focused financial aid.” Kendi commented: “More than a third of White students lied about their race on college applications, and about half of these applicants lied about being Native American. More than three-fourths of these students who lied about their race were accepted.”

Social media users noted that the article upended Kendi’s belief in a “systemic racism” that inherently disadvantages minority students. Kendi then posted another Twitter thread reaffirming his narrative.

“The anti-CRT crusade has spread this belief that White Americans are the victims of racism. As I posted last week, more than a third of White students lie about their race when applying for college, according to an online survey,” he wrote. “And there’s hardly any accountability — three-fourths of the White students lying on their applications about their race are receiving acceptance letters in return.”

Kendi also lambasted “disinformation operatives” for “distorting” the deleted tweet’s “implications.”

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