By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Problems with antiracism center cast the Emancipator-Globe split in a new light

Ibram X. Kendi. Photo (cc) 2019 by Montclair Film.

In light of the problems (free link) that have become public at Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research, Scott Van Voorhis (sub. req.) asks a pertinent question: What really happened with the split between The Boston Globe and The Emancipator, which was a signature project of the center and its founder, Ibram X. Kendi? The Emancipator continues to publish solely under the auspices of the center, but it didn’t quite make sense earlier this year when the Globe announced that the partnership was ending after two years. Van Voorhis, who produces the newsletter Contrarian Boston, writes:

In announcing the move, the Globe characterized it as the end of a two-year partnership. Hmm. Back in March 2021, when the Globe announced it was teaming up with Kendi and the BU Center for Antiracist Research to launch the digital publication, there was no mention of a two-year deal, or of any time limit to the agreement, for that matter.

Van Voorhis urges the Globe to say more about what was behind the split, but I don’t know if it’s really all that complicated. Based on recent reporting, it’s pretty clear that Kendi was difficult to work with and that the center’s spending was not fully accounted for. That said, The Emancipator continues to do good work and — full disclosure — our Northeastern journalism students have partnered with the site, as in this series on restorative justice.

Also: Overdue kudos to BU’s independent student newspaper, The Daily Free Press, whose Sept. 21 deep dive represents the definitive account (for now) of what went wrong at the center. Reporters Molly Farrar and Lydia Evans began working on the story last December, according to their account. Student journalism rocks.

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  1. Ben Starr

    Is there not a question of whether the Globe had meaningful news that could have been reported far earlier.

    • dkennedy56

      You really can’t report on stuff that you know as the result of a business partnership.

      • Walt Wooton

        You can if there’s a wall between business and editorial.

  2. Calli Remillard

    Wow, that is an outstanding job by DFP’s reporters. Three cheers for student journalism!

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