Thursday, February 22, 2024

Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Black History Month Keynote

The Ethics of Anti-Racism

Eddie Glaude Jr., James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor at Princeton University

What does it mean to commit oneself to deconstructing the idea of whiteness and the way in which it determines the distribution of advantage and disadvantage? How does one do that when the language of racism comes to us as naturally as language itself? For Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr., anti-racism isn’t about making a list of action items and then checking off some boxes. It is a highly ethical position — the reflection of a committed, moral choice to reject the idea that some people should be valued more than others. Calling on audiences to engage in an ongoing critique of racism’s manifestations, he challenges all of us to work together to create the conditions for people to think more carefully and systematically about the issues that we confront. As James Baldwin wrote in 1962: “The trouble is deeper than we think, because the trouble is in us.” According to Glaude, eliminating racism will take a lot more work than checking off some boxes. It’s going to take nothing less than a moral reckoning.

The program is sponsored by the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Office of the President, and the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues. It is also part of the Clarke Forum’s Leadership in an Age of Uncertainty Series.

Topic overview written by Layla Ilarraza ’26

Biography (provided by the speaker)

photo of Eddie Glaude Jr.One of the nation’s most prominent scholars, Dr. Eddie Glaude, Jr. is an author, political commentator, public intellectual and passionate educator who examines the complex dynamics of the American experience. His writings, including Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, In a Shade of Blue: Pragmatism and the Politics of Black America, and his most recent, the New York Times bestseller, Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for our Own, takes a wide look at Black communities, the difficulties of race in the United States and the challenges we face as a democracy. His forthcoming book, We Are the Leaders We Have Been Looking For (Harvard University Press) is due April 16, 2024. In his writing and speaking, Glaude is an American critic in the tradition of James Baldwin and Ralph Waldo Emerson, confronting history and bringing our nation’s complexities, vulnerabilities and hope into full view. Hope that is, in one of his favorite quotes from W.E.B. Du Bois, “not hopeless, but a bit unhopeful.”

Glaude is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and the former chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University from 2009 to 2023. He is also on the Morehouse College board of trustees. He frequently appears in the media, as a columnist for TIME Magazine and as an MSNBC contributor on programs like Morning Joe and Deadline Whitehouse with Nicolle Wallace. He regularly appears on Meet the Press on Sundays. Glaude also hosts Princeton’s AAS podcast, a conversation around the field of African American Studies and the Black experience in the 21st century.

A highly accomplished and respected scholar of religion, Glaude is a former president of the American Academy of Religion. His books on religion and philosophy include An Uncommon Faith: A Pragmatic Approach to the Study of African American Religion, African American Religion: A Very Short Introduction, and Exodus! Religion, Race and Nation in Early 19th Century Black America, which was awarded the Modern Language Association’s William Sanders Scarborough Book Prize.

Some like to describe Glaude as the quintessential Morehouse man, having left his home in Moss Point, Mississippi at age 16 to begin studies at the HBCU and alma mater of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He holds a master’s degree in African American studies from Temple University and a Ph.D. in religion from Princeton University.