[Ed. – Like taking Kendi from a baby]
Back in 2000 in my Losing the Race, I wrote of seeing a young black graduate student of African-American Studies at a conference whose training did not seem to be exposing him to much beyond a certain Racism-Is-Everywhere bubble. I wrote that I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at a conference ten years later bristling at being asked real questions.
I never did happen to encounter this particular guy. But in a way, I have – in the form of Kendi.
The purpose of African-American Studies departments is officially to explore blackness. However, too often, the reality is less exploration than mission: to identify the operations of racism, as I expanded upon here a while ago. This mission is compact. It isn’t exactly hard to find and describe racism in the past when it was overt and unquestioned.