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College VP: MLK session ‘for whites’ meant to be provocative

January 22, 2020 GMT

MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — Concordia College in Moorhead is defending a Martin Luther King Jr. Day session titled “How to embrace your inner racist: A session for white people.”

An online description says “attendees will be able to recognize and acknowledge that there is a nasty little racist inside them.” The description says the session was intended for “white people only” but people of color would not be stopped from attending.

“The description of the session itself was designed, certainly, to bring some attention. It was a bit provocative. It was a bit edgy” according to Karl Stumo, Concordia’s vice president for enrollment and marketing. Stumo told KFGO-AM the session was designed for students “to ask tough questions of themselves and other people.”

“It will be effective most for white folks, but everyone was invited to participate in that” Stumo said. “The learning environment at Concordia really is designed to get in a room and debate tough subjects. Free speech is really important here.”

The session description sparked criticism. One commentator on KFGO’s Facebook page said, “King Jr. would NEVER put on a talk like that!”

The session was moderated by Ahmed Afzaal, an associate professor of religion at Concordia, a four-year liberal arts college.