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March 2, 2004
Someone's Confused

Warren Grantham, executive director of the Minnesota Education League, has resigned his position from both the MEL and apparently the Taxpayers' League due to an inflammatory e-mail he sent to various state legislators:

The executive director of the Minnesota Education League and an advocate of the No Child Left Behind law, resigned last Friday in a dispute over an e-mail he wrote that attacked several legislators for their opposition to the law. ... Grantham said the e-mail to legislators, which he characterized as "very, very critical, using some inflammatory images," led to a disagreement between him and his boss, Taxpayers League of Minnesota president David Strom. That led to Grantham's resignation.

The basics of this story are fairly straightforward so far -- Grantham wrote an e-mail that somehow offended its recipients, among them current Minnesota legislators opposed to the No Child Left Behind federal law, including some Republicans. His boss disagreed with his methods and Grantham resigned for what's known as "creative differences" in Hollywood. But there's apparently more to the story:

In an e-mail to the Star Tribune on Monday, Grantham noted that he was "the first and only black person to work for the Taxpayers League of Minnesota," the Education League's parent organization, and that he was "given the message on the last day of Black History Month that his services were no longer needed." ...

He insisted that the rift between him and Strom had nothing to do with race. But the e-mail to legislators did have racial overtones, Strom said. "I think the e-mail could be read in such a way as having accused them of being very insensitive to racial issues," Strom said.

So on one hand, Grantham insisted that his resignation had nothing to do with race, but announced it by noting that he was the "first and only black person" at the Taxpayer's League in a letter to the largest and leftist newspaper in the state, noting also that he resigned on the last day of Black History Month. So which is it? If it had nothing to do with race, why did Grantham make such a big deal about his ethnicity?

Strom and Grantham refuses to release the e-mail Grantham sent to the legislators so that his "inflammatory" comments can be dissected, but the Star Tribune describes it as equating legislative opposition to NCLB with pre-1954 racial segregation. In effect, he accused the Minnesota legislature of racism, a reckless charge that we're more accustomed to seeing from the hysterics on the Left. While one can argue with some merit that substandard public schools inordinately affect minority children, that has more to do with economic classes than racial demographics, and has nothing to do with intent; clearly, the intent of Jim Crow apartheid was to keep black Americans in a second-class status. It is possible to disagree with NCLB and not be racist, just as it is possible to oppose Affirmative Action and not be racist.

Grantham is either trying to play both sides of the street by holding himself out publicly as a racial martyr to the Left while assuring the Right that he holds no racial animus ... or he's just one confused fellow. In either case, Strom almost certainly acted in the best interest of the Taxpayer League in making this change. I predict, though, that the Star Tribune will make a lot of hay out of Grantham's termination and the racial issues that Grantham both stoked and disavowed in almost the same breath.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 2, 2004 3:24 PM

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