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Ibram Kendi inadvertently 'blows up entire life's work' in now-deleted tweet, then claims criticism is 'violent'

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Michael A. McCoy/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Boston University professor Ibram X. Kendi, a prominent advocate of anti-racism, deleted a tweet on Friday after his critics pointed out that it may have inadvertently refuted his ideology.

What are the details?

On Friday, Kendi shared a news article of a recent survey that discovered more one-third of white students lied or misrepresented their race on college applications.

Four-fifths of white students who admitted to lying or misrepresenting their race said they did so to improve their chances of being accepted. Half of those students who admitted to lying explained they did so to improve their chances of being awarded financial aid earmarked for minority students.

"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," Kendi wrote on Twitter.

Kendi later deleted his tweet.

What was the reaction?

Kendi's deletion incited an avalanche of mockery. In sharing the news article, Kendi's critics said he was undermining what he believes about white privilege and systemic racism in America.

As the Post Millennial wrote, "[I]f white privilege is so prevalent and persuasive, why would white kids feel the need to disguise their whiteness in order to gain admittance to college and aid to help them attend? Could it be that these white students felt that as opposed to giving them an edge, their whiteness was a hindrance to admittance?"

  • "'White kids are lying about being black so they can get into college' doesn't make the point Kendi thinks it does," Noam Blum pointed out.
  • "Kendi deleted this tweet after a bunch of people pointed out it undermines his whole worldview that the US is an incredibly racist country where the system is rigged exclusively for White people," one person said.
  • "Kendi admits it's not actually a privilege to be White in America?" James Lindsay reacted.
  • "Race activist Ibram Kendi tweeted out a report claiming high numbers of white students falsely identify as people of color to reap benefits. He deleted the tweet after realizing it didn't advance his argument that whites are privileged in every way," Andy Ngo said.
  • "Collapsing your entire worldview into a giant sinkhole," Chad Felix Greene pointed out.
  • "[That feeling when] you accidentally blow up your entire life's work in a tweet and have to delete," Alex Griswold mocked.

How did Kendi respond?

Kendi accused one critic of lying about what he had said. That critic, Jack Posobiec, then responded that he "broke" Kendi.

In response, Kendi said that Posobiec's "broke" remark "has a long history within racist structures." Kendi then claimed criticism from white people is "violent."

"Jack couldn't deny his lies so this is how he responded. And his 'broke' reference has a long history within racist structures. White enslavers boasted of *breaking* Black people (when they did not *break* Black people)," Kendi said. "The resistance never stopped then and it won't stop today."

"A White man is attacking a Black person with lies (which are violent). The Black person resists. The White man keeps attacking until he declares he 'broke' the Black person," Kendi responded to one person on Twitter. "That's the context. Seek a book about slavery."

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