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Biden's choice to head the Civil Rights division of DOJ, advanced racism, anti-semitism at Harvard

Kristen Clarke came under fire on more than one occasion during her undergraduate career

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Kristen Clarke
Kristen Clarke
(Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)
Updated: January 13, 2021 - 9:37am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

President-elect Joe Biden's choice to lead the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division is coming under fire for several positions she held during her undergraduate years at Harvard University.

Kristen Clarke, named by Biden earlier this week, spent her college days writing about the racial superiority of blacks, in addition to inviting anti-semitic speakers to campus lectures.

In a piece written in the Harvard Crimson in 1994, Clarke and a coauthor wrote about the "genetic differences between Blacks and whites," in response to political scientist Charles Murray's then-recently published book "The Bell Curve." 

"Melanin endows Blacks with greater mental, physical and spiritual abilities – something which cannot be measured based on Eurocentric standards," wrote the pair, implying that the varying levels of melanin between blacks and whites account for differences in brain power, physical power, and spiritual ability – claims which have no basis in science. 

Clarke also became the subject of criticism by her Jewish classmates during her undergraduate career when, as president of the Black Students Association, she invited anti-Semitic academic Tony Martin to campus. Martin, who was then a professor of Africana studies at neighboring Wellesley College, disseminated the false narrative of a Jewish cell's involvement in the global slave trade. At the time, Martin has recently self-published his book, titled "The Jewish Onslaught," which a majority of his colleagues would go on to condemn as anti-Semitic.

In response to her critics, Clarke wrote that "Professor Martin is an intelligent, well-versed Black intellectual who bases his information on indisputable fact.