Frequently Asked Questions
When was the Center for Antiracist Research Founded?
The Center started in June 2020 through the efforts of the founder, Ibram X. Kendi, and a small team. The Center began its work during a pandemic and worked almost entirely remotely for more than a year. It also commenced its work during historic racial justice uprisings in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breanna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. In spite of challenges and a dynamic racial landscape, the Center established a firm foundation and has grown to encompass numerous antiracist initiatives and over two dozen staff dedicated to the mission.
Why Boston University?
Boston University is the historic home of notable figures who worked for justice in their day. The list of notable people includes Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, influntial theologian Howard Thurman, and Martin Luther King, Jr. who received his PhD from BU. The university had inclusion as part of its purpose from the very start. The university’s first president insisted the school would serve students “without respect to creed, or race, or sex.” BU’s medical school was the first to admit women, in 1873. Today Boston University is a world-class research university with access to the extensive resources of the academy. Situated in the heart of downtown Boston, the city also has a prominent place in the history of abolition as the home of the voice of the American abolitionist movement, The Liberator. For these reasons and more, Boston University makes a great home base for the Center for Antiracist Research.
What is the mission and vision of the Center?
The Center’s vision is to create novel and practical ways to understand, explain, and solve seemingly intractable problems of racial inequity and injustice. The mission of CAR is to convene varied researchers and practitioners to foster exhaustive racial data collection, research-based policy innovation, solutions-focused narrative change initiatives, and practical advocacy campaigns. Together, these efforts power real-world antiracist change and impact.
What kind of work does the Center for Antiracist Research do?
The antiracist impact of the Center is constantly growing through its growing portfolio of initiatives. In the Center’s first year alone, the staff began an innovative partnership with The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project to build the first-of-its-kind COVID Racial Data Tracker to trace the impact of the virus by race. In March of 2021, we announced a partnership with the Boston Globe opinion: The Emancipator, a periodical that carries forward the legacy of nineteenth century antislavery newspapers in updated form for antiracism in the twenty-first century.
This year we began laying the foundation for the Antiracist Society which brings together individuals and organizations on a national level to fight racism just as the nineteenth century Antislavery Society did. We have begun developing a Racial Data Tracker (RDT) and Racial Policy Tracker (RPT). The Racial Data Tracker will track, visualize, and analyze racial inequities to highlight historical and current trends, while also training generations of racial data scientists. See the information under each of our Offices for more details about various projects and initiatives.
What makes the Center for Antiracist Research different from other academic centers?
Existing race-related institutes tend to focus on racism in a particular social sector, geographic region, disciplinary perspective, research methodology, or from a particular scholar. Instead, the Center fosters an interdisciplinary approach to identify comprehensive solutions beyond the reach of most academic institutions that primarily focus on research.
The Center for Antiracist Research is a full-service organization that translates antiracist ideas into action by unifying research, policy, narrative, and advocacy efforts. We take a rigorous, research-based, and integrative approach to transforming a racist society to an antiracist one. We achieve this goal by conducting original research, developing policy solutions, translating scholarly data into a form policymakers and the general public can utilize, and launching coordinated advocacy campaigns to alter the racial landscape of our nation. CAR is where academic research meets antiracist action.
How can I get involved in the work of antiracism and the Center?
As the work of the Center continues to evolve, more opportunities to get involved will emerge. To stay informed about how you can be part of antiracist change, subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll let you know what we’re up to, tell you about upcoming events, and tell you about ways you can participate in various efforts. Our Center is growing, so please check out our open positions and consider applying to become a part of our team. If you would like to support the work of the Center, please consider making a donation to help provide the resources we need to keep moving forward.