Minnesota newspaper attacked for column calling ethnic studies 'extremist boot camps' before MLK Day
Martin Luther King Jr. Monument

The Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a column Sunday by white conservative Katherine Kersten, who claims that colleges and universities teaching any kind of ethnic studies is actually an underground "extremist boot camp."

Kersten has a history of being called out for racism in her columns. One counter to a 2020 story of hers claiming racial justice was a "religion," claimed that she simply can't admit her own racism.

"Kersten denies this. In fact, she rejects the existence of 'white privilege' and 'white supremacy' and rails against the very idea of 'systemic racism,'" wrote Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. "She claims that 'racial justice' is a new 'secular religion' with followers guilty of 'Puritan-style intolerance.' Ironically, her denials illuminate her racism as well as the reasons for my own confession."

Her weekend column addressed a 2020 essay from an appointed committee member of the Minnesota Department of Education drafting standards for social studies classes. Jonathan Hamilton, along with lead author Brian Lozenski, argues that avoiding talking about racism throughout history just ignores the reality.

"What we are taught in school maintains the status quo of racial hierarchy in our thoughts and actions," the authors explained. Indeed, history in K-12 comes overwhelmingly from white teachers, white authors and from the white perspective, even when talking about the history of slavery or the Native American genocide.

Now, the far-right are rushing to ban the teaching of slavery, civil rights, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks under the guise that talking about those historical events could make white students feel sad. Parents are concerned that their children shouldn't be forced to hear about bad things people did decades before them.

Kersten just outright claims that teaching about people of color, like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is some sort of madrassa move to turn students into terrorists.

The part some took issue with, however, is that the Star Tribune ran the column days before Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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