The incredible whiteness of being Katherine Kersten (
by Steve Timmer
Feb 7, 2021, 8:30 PM

The newspaper landed with an extra-heavy thud on Sunday

And just before that, the house shuddered a little, but it wasn’t from the cold. It was from Katherine Kersten’s op-ed on Minnesota’s new proposed social studies standards. And I have to say, she’s still got it. Whatever “it” is. “It” clearly isn’t empathy, generosity, or even curiosity. Kersten is all, Me and Jesus and screw the rest of you.

Kersten’s idea of social studies is a U.S. history catechism that begins:

In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He discovered America, and we’ve been improving real estate values ever since.

You can learn even more about Kersten the historian from the Jesus discovered America series here, at least a few of which should show up in the sidebar to this story. Just following in the footsteps of Herodotus, our Katherine. (And don’t fail to read Dogs are eating the dogfood, either; I love that story.)

Kersten reveals her colors — or lack of them — right upfront.

Your middle schooler will be drilled in how his identity is a function of his skin color.

Your high schooler will be required to explain how Europeans invented “whiteness” and that America’s 19th-century westward expansion was the shameful product of “whiteness, Christianity and capitalism.”

Kersten says that if the standards are adopted that students will not only be “uninformed,” but “scandalously misinformed.” I think Kersten picked a couple of bad examples, because I think they’re both true. Conservatives like Kersten bray about “not seeing race,” but by saying they ignore race, they are really saying it is okay to practice racism.

“You’re saying that I didn’t rent that apartment because the applicants were Black? Don’t be silly; I didn’t even notice that they were Black!”

The solution is not to deny that race exists, but rather figure out a way to keep it from being a factor in decisions about employment, housing, civil rights, and law enforcement, just to mention a few things. How to not be racist, in other words. You know, it’s hard. But as the tweet says: nobody is born racist. We all have to learn it, and efforts to not learn it have to be nipped in the bud, according to Kersten.

Race and racism are baked into our culture: that’s what institutional racism and critical race theory are all about. I’ll bet you see fifty examples of institutional racism every day.

When someone is turned down for membership in a social club or society, what do we call it? Blackballed.

When we keep some troll or spam artist out of our digital lives, what do we do? We put them on a blacklist. If someone is a good guy though, we put them on a whitelist.

Most of us never even think about this, but I’ll bet to a lot of Black youngsters — or adults, too — hearing these words is a stab to the heart. A dispiriting stab to the heart.

Kersten and her ilk are scared to death that their kids won’t grow up to be as bigoted as they are, so they need to stamp out any pockets of resistance anywhere they find them, especially in the educational system. Education is scary to these people.

The funny thing is, in general, Kersten’s brood was not even exposed to the public school system. Well, it’s not funny: there is a reason for it.

I think that education, though, has a duty to provide information to the tykes that frees them from the tyranny of their parents. That’s a revolutionary position, I know, but I believe it is true.

And consider this, from Kersten’s piece:

The standards were drafted by a hand-picked committee of 44 people, many of whom represent demographic special interest groups or “equity” organizations with an aggressive political agenda.

For example, Native Americans make up about 1% of Minnesota’s population, but nearly 20% of the committee.

Katherine likes her pesky Indians the traditional way: outnumbered and outgunned.

I can’t let the moment pass without mentioning that Katherine Kersten is employed, or sheltered in some fashion, anyway, by the Center of the American Experiment, which in turn is supported by the Minneapolis Foundation, the anti-public school outfit headed by former mayor R.T. Rybak, to the tune of a quarter of a million dollars over the past decade. [An earlier version of the story incorrectly reported a higher figure. I regret the error.]

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