Though increasingly popular, antiracism remains a corrosive prescript that is only drawing us further apart. Worse, the extremist ideology has itself become a booming industry. Robin DiAngelo and Ibram X. Kendi — the main founders of the so-called antiracism movement — are profiteering off this bogus notion. Their books continue to sell out. Expensive workshops and speaking engagements dominate calendars. Corporations are donating millions to the cause. And now many, many more are trying to capitalize on the spurious trend.
Robin DiAngelo has built an empire on anti-racism
Beginning with her bestselling book, “White Fragility,” Robin DiAngelo continues to rake in millions of dollars as one of the most prominent advocates for antiracism.
As a part of the services she offers, DiAngleo insists that “racism is the foundation of Western society” and that “all white people benefit from the racial hierarchy, regardless of intentions.”
Kyle Smith of the National Review likens her to the “P.T. Barnum of our time,” a “televangelist” of sorts, and “a great American capitalist marketing genius, up there with the inventor of the pet rock or the people who figured out how to get rich by creating prestige brands of water.”
While Smith’s assessment of DiAngelo may verge on hyperbolic, the numbers certainly bear out. DiAngelo “was making up to $150,000 a month, on eight to ten gigs, even before the George Floyd killing…not counting book sales, which are prodigious.”
DiAngelo continues to make a killing in the emerging antiracism industry because her “business model is predicated on racism as unfixable,” according to Maureen Callahan of the New York Post. DiAngelo’s book, “White Fragility” has already “made her a reported $2 million so far,” and she apparently charges “$30,000-$40,000 for a few hours” of diversity training, depending on the client.
Reason reported that the University of Connecticut paid DiAngelo $20,000 in June 2020 for a three-day seminar on antiracism and “that DiAngelo and other diversity lecturers often charge in the $10,000 to $15,000 dollar range for a few hours of work.”
Even worse, the university did not hire DiAngelo for a public speaking engagement. She was hired to “train” school administrators in private “with the explicit expectation that they will put her recommendations into practice,” with little to no critical evaluation.
As so many on the Left and in academia dogmatically yield to DiAngelo’s spurious notions on race and racism, it’s imperative that we remind ourselves that her absurd assessments are, in fact, racist.
In a recent piece for City Journal, Coleman Hughes argues that DiAngelo’s work is “zealotry disguised as scholarship,” and treats people of color as “a homogenous mass of settled opinion with little, if any, diversity of thought — a kind of CRT-aligned hive mind.”
Not only are whites monolithic in all manner of thought and experience, so too are blacks and other minorities, according to DiAngelo. Needless to say, such vapid generalizations are the hallmarks of bias and prejudice.
Hughes continues: “The second unstated assumption in White Fragility — and this is where the book borders on actual racism — is that black people are emotionally immature and essentially child-like. Blacks, as portrayed in DiAngelo’s writing, can neither be expected to show maturity during disagreement nor to exercise emotional self-control of any kind. The hidden premise of the book is that blacks, not whites, are too fragile.”
John McWhorter, an esteemed black scholar and professor of linguistics at Columbia University, takes it up a notch and outright condemns DiAngelo’s work for “dehumanizing” and “infantilizing” black people in his piece for The Atlantic. He labels “White Fragility” a “racist tract” that “diminishes Black people in the name of dignifying us.”
“In 2020 — as opposed to 1920 — I neither need nor want anyone to muse on how whiteness privileges them over me.” McWhorter writes. “Nor do I need wider society to undergo teachings in how to be exquisitely sensitive about my feelings. I see no connection between DiAngelo’s brand of reeducation and vigorous, constructive activism in the real world on issues of import to the Black community. And I cannot imagine that any Black readers could willingly submit themselves to DiAngelo’s ideas while considering themselves adults of ordinary self-regard and strength. Few books about race have more openly infantilized Black people than this supposedly authoritative tome.”
In fact, many are now finding DiAngelo’s work comparable to the likes of white supremacist, David Duke. While, ideologically, they may seem at odds with one another, Jonathan Chait of the New York Intelligencer insists that their “extremes begin to functionally resemble each other despite their mutual antipathy” because DiAngelo and the antiracism industry “literally replicate anti-Black racism.”
Ibram X. Kendi and the Center for Antiracism Research
Unlike DiAngelo, Ibram X. Kendi can hide behind the curtains of academia to avoid growing criticism, aided further by virtue of being a person of color. As a result, his Center for Antiracism Research at Boston University continues to receive millions of dollars to promote its specious claims.
In August 2020, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey donated $10 million to the Center for Antiracism Research. The Rockefeller Foundation awarded the center $1.5 million in October of 2020. Vertex, a biotech firm, matched the Rockefeller Foundation with a $1.5 million donation of its own.
These are only a few of the notable donations, grants, and endowments the Center for Antiracism Research receives to promote its unintellectual and divisive agenda — ironic given just how storied a school Boston University is.
To be sure, Kendi’s work is — at best — anecdotal and filled with high emotion. Most often, it’s bereft of substance or sound argument. His claims certainly do not warrant an entire center for “antiracism research” at a prestigious university.
In fact, in his review of Kendi’s bestselling book, “How to be an Antiracist,” Coleman Hughes titles his piece, “How to be an Anti-Intellectual,” reinforcing the argument that antiracism has little to no intellectual or academic merit whatsoever.
Hughes contends that it’s nearly impossible to “interpret Kendi’s arguments as factual claims subject to empirical scrutiny or as diary entries to be accepted as personal truths,” and that “the book reads like a seeker’s memoir or a conversion story in the mold of Augustine’s Confessions” rather than a work supported by evidence and scholarship. Such a fundamental lack of academic rigor explains why “Kendi also cherry-picks his data” to exhaustion and is unable or unwilling to even cite his sources, according to Hughes.
“Worse than the skewed approach to data in Kendi’s book are the factual errors. Citing an entire book by Manning Marable (but no specific page), Kendi claims that in 1982, ‘[President Reagan] cut the safety net of federal welfare programs and Medicaid, sending more low-income Blacks into poverty.’ I could not find any data in Marable’s book showing that the black poverty rate rose during Reagan’s tenure. In fact, the opposite appears to be true, according to the Census Bureau’s historical poverty tables: the black poverty rate decreased for every age group between 1982 and the end of Reagan’s tenure in 1989.”
That such egregious errors litter Kendi’s work should be genuine cause for alarm given his meteoric rise in popularity and the millions of dollars his Center for Antiracism Research continues to receive.
The emerging, lucrative role of antiracism influencers
Now that the likes of DiAngelo and Kendi have shown that antiracism can be a lucrative venture, many more are seeking to capitalize on it. Various influencers on social media and elsewhere have positioned themselves as so-called “allies” in the antiracism cause in the hopes of profiting from the destructive trend in the form of online courses, workshops, and seminars.
Chrissy Rutherford and Danielle Prescod have used their tremendous influence in the fashion world to further champion the works of Kendi and DiAngelo, and now seek to monetize it.
The two women claim to have “extensive, first-hand experience encountering racism in the industry,” according to the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
Both women “experienced viral moments” on Instagram speaking out in support of the antiracism ethos, garnering upwards of 5 million views “thanks to the support of celebs like Ariana Grande.”
Rutherford echoed Kendi almost word for word in her Instagram post: “It’s not enough anymore to just be like, ‘I have good intentions. I’m not racist.’ You need to actually take the time to educate yourselves to be antiracist. And that’s where white people are falling short right now,” she told her followers. “Antiracism is the name of the game right now. And that’s it.”
Taking advantage of the moment, Rutherford and Prescod “had a mutual epiphany” regarding their burgeoning roles as “allies” in the antiracism movement: “We need to teach them — and charge them,” according to Elle.
The profile piece on the two fashion influencers in Elle goes on to boldly state that though “America’s economy is crumbling…the business of allyship is booming.”
Rutherford and Prescod have now formed 2BG (2 Black Girls), a “consulting agency…which aims to guide brands towards becoming more equitable and inclusive,” according to Harper’s Bazaar.
Certainly, Rutherford and Prescod are not alone in their antiracism endeavors, particularly as a business venture.
Claiming to be a “highly sought-after anti-racism educator,” Monique Melton offers a series of courses — ranging from $97 to $497 — on antiracism. She also offers a Black Liberation 21 Day Challenge “designed to build a daily practice of anti-racism,” as well as a “12-week interactive online course” for $3500.
The tech-savvy are jumping on board as well. The Nudge, a messaging app that provides a series of encouraging reminders to its users, now offers one geared specifically toward antiracism.
“For $5,” Elle details, “participants could sign up for something called The Ally Nudge, a monthlong antiracism education program developed in collaboration with longtime diversity and inclusion consultant Akilah Cadet. During its first month, over 10,000 people signed up for The Ally Nudge in 1,700 cities.”
One can also subscribe to Check Your Privilege, “a shame-free space for white folx to show up learn and be held accountable on their anti-racism journey.” The site offers courses ranging from $20 to $1800.
Lost in all the “allyship” and advocacy is just how deleterious the very notion of antiracism is fast becoming to our society. The likes of Kendi and DiAngelo have built influential empires that are infinitely more analogous to the pernicious effects of televangelism than the heroes of the Civil Rights era. Many now seek to follow in their dangerous wake and profit off of the cause to our collective detriment.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.