Minnesota college helps 'white students only' deal with 'the nasty little racist inside them'

Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota held an event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day designed exclusively for white students. 

The event, titled “How to Embrace Your Inner Racist: A Session for White People” was designed to help attendees “recognize and acknowledge that there is a nasty little racist inside them,” according to a description found on the college’s website.  The session also aimed to help students learn  how “the skills of psychological flexibility can help white people recognize and acknowledge their own racist tendencies.” 

“This session is for White people only,” the event description said, adding that “while we won’t stop people of color from attending, they should know that their presence in the room is likely to interfere with the effectiveness of the session.”

The session employed “Acceptance and Commitment Training (or ‘ACT’),” according to the college. 

[RELATED: Prof who said white people ‘take up space’ now says whites can’t decide what’s racist]

This ACT method is also known as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and seeks to employ psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy in order to inspire behavioral change, according to Psychology Today

The event was led by Ahmed Afzaal, a Concordia professor of Religion and Social Activism who has published such works as “Free Speech Comes with a Price Tag,” and an essay about the peaceful application of jihad in the modern world.

Campus Reform spoke with Gabe, a student at Concordia, who asked that his last name not be used for fear of backlash. 

Gabe said that the event was well attended by exclusively white students: 

“The room was packed with people sitting on the floor,” he said. “There was only white people there.” 

He estimated seeing about 70 students in attendance during the morning session he attended.

In addition to hosting this event designed exclusively for white students, Concordia also put on several other events aimed at calling out alleged racism by whites. Concordia Professor Karla Knutson who co-directs the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, led a session designed for white women called “And You Call Yourself an Ally.” 

Knutson’s event was designed to “encourage white women to confront and analyze their participation and/or complicity in racist systems of oppression” and “create a foundational experience of exposure to white women’s microaggressions,” according to a description found on the college website. 

[RELATED: University announces ‘White Awake’ safe space for white students]

Students who attended “And You Call Yourself an Ally” were asked to prepare by reading an article about Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who identifies as black and once headed up her very own NAACP chapter. 

Concordia’s MLK Day celebration also included an event titled “Anti-racism for White People,” headed up by Professor Jason Askvig who asked students to “engage in advancing awareness of whiteness, what it means, and how it operates.”

Professor Matthew Lindholm led an event on “Race and Environmental Justice,” and Professor Tess Varner led a session called “Can We Stop Being Polite?” which examined “the appropriate role of anger or of bold behaviors in dismantling racist systems.”

Campus Reform reached out to Afzaal and Concordia College but did not hear back in time for publication. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @KyleHooten2