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Medical school application asks for 'lessons learned' about systemic racism to show 'sociocultural humility'


'Right now is a watershed moment in American history'

iStock/Getty Images Plus/SIBAS_minich

Medical school applicants at the University of Minnesota are now being asked to share their "lessons learned" about systemic racism in the wake of recent racial unrest.

What are the details?

According to the Daily Caller News Foundation, an optional question on the application asks students to reflect on the recent deaths of black people, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks.

The question reads:

Right now is a watershed moment in American history and this country's reckoning with race, racism, racial injustice, and especially anti-black hatred. If you feel comfortable, we welcome you to please share with us your reflections on, experiences with, and greatest lessons learned about systemic racism that is receiving international attention with the murders of numerous Black, Indigenous, and People of Color including but not limited to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Vanessa Guillen, Rayshard Brooks, and Elijah McClain.

A spokesperson for the school, Katrinna Dodge, explained that the question was included to demonstrate a potential student's "sociocultural humility."

"Committee members can use the responses to supplemental questions, and several other parts of the application, to inform their evaluation of sociocultural humility," Dodge told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

"This seeks to identify evidence of a candidate's ability to treat others with respect, interact with others from diverse backgrounds, recognize bias, adjust behavior in response to others' needs, and their awareness of how sociocultural factors impact diverse groups of people," she added.

However, not responding to the question will not affect admission, Dodge claimed.

"[A]n application cannot be rejected based on choosing not to answer this question or based on how it may be answered," she said.

Anything else?

In light of the racial unrest triggered by George Floyd's death, universities and teachers are seemingly placing greater emphasis on addressing systematic racism.

In fact, one Iowa State University professor told her students in a syllabus that they could be "dismissed" from her English 250 class if they argued against Black Lives Matter, a movement controversial for the political ideology of some of its top leaders.

"GIANT WARNING: any instances of othering that you participate in intentionally (racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, sorophobia, transphobia, classism, mocking of mental health issues, body shaming, etc) in class are grounds for dismissal from the classroom. The same goes for any papers/projects: you cannot choose any topic that takes at its base that one side doesn't deserve the same basic human rights as you do (ie: no arguments against gay marriage, abortion, Black Lives Matter, etc). I take this seriously," the professor declared.

Fortunately, that syllabus was amended by university administrators, and the professor was assigned First Amendment education.

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