Campus Life

Historian Ibram X. Kendi to discuss how to be an antiracist at virtual event

 Ibram X. Kendi will discuss his book “How to Be an Antiracist” from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18.  Credit: Stephen VossAll Rights Reserved.

Ibram X. Kendi, one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist voices, will discuss his book “How to Be an Antiracist” from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18. The free, live-streamed event will feature a moderated conversation with Kendi, followed by Q&A. A Penn State login will be required to view the live stream online at

NOTE: Penn State alumni who previously had access accounts, will need to reactivate their accounts online at  Alumni who did not have access accounts will be prompted to create new accounts with the limited capabilities for authentication.

Kendi is a National Book Award recipient and New York Times’ No. 1 best-selling author. His 2019 book “How To Be An Antiracist” was described by The New York Times as “the most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.”

In the book, Kendi shares his own experiences with racist thinking. He writes, we must “return the word ‘racist’ back to its proper usage… the only way to undo racism is to constantly identify it and describe it — and then dismantle it. The attempt to turn this usefully descriptive term into an almost unusable slur is, of course, designed to do the opposite: to freeze us into inaction.”

The book’s central message is that the opposite of racist isn’t “not racist.” The true opposite of racist is antiracist. Kendi writes, “Denial is the heartbeat of racism.”

Kendi is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University and founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research. A contributing writer for The Atlantic and a CBS News correspondent, Kendi is also the 2020-21 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for the Advanced Study at Harvard University.

TIME magazine named Kendi as one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2020 for providing concrete and actionable steps and recommendations that we all can take to wipe out the vestiges of racism and bigotry.

Dean Kump, John Leone Dean in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, will open the virtual event, which is being presented as part of EMS’s 125th anniversary commemorations, and it will be moderated by WPSU’s Cheraine Stanford, content strategy director at WPSU.

The event is sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences’ Office of Multicultural Affairs, College of Arts and Architecture, Smeal College of Business, Donald P. Belisario College of Communications, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Health and Human Development, College of Information Sciences and Technology, College of Medicine, The Graduate School, School of International Affairs, Dickinson Law, Penn State Law, College of the Liberal Arts, College of Nursing, Eberly College of Science, Schreyer Honors College and Penn State University Libraries.  

For more information about Kendi, visit

Last Updated April 15, 2021