A Wisconsin university’s decision to take down historic paintings of the interactions between white traders and Native Americans because of the risk they might have “a harmful effect on our students and other viewers” illuminates the problem with the new plague of microagressions.

It’s not just that they’re small, but that they’re absurdly insignificant compared with the kind of historical traumas they are supposedly echoing.

There is no denying the fact that American Indians experienced horrendous treatment at the hands of white settlers. War and forced assimilation have plagued their history. But is it really the case that paintings — one of a trading fort and the other of settlers and Natives paddling canoes — are capable of wreaking trauma on their viewers?

Under pressure from the school’s Diversity Leadership Team, University of Wisconsin-Stout Chancellor Bob Meyer said that because of the sensitive subject matter of the paintings, if they are to be displayed, it must be in “a controlled gallery space” that provides “context” for viewers.

One will be placed in the dean’s conference room. And the other will be available for viewing “by appointment.” Meyer insists he received complaints about the paintings from two Native American students.

Timothy Shiell, an English and philosophy professor at the university, told the National Coalition Against Censorship the chancellor didn’t consult the rest of the university faculty.

“Shrouding or moving the painting does not educate anyone or stimulate any learning or dialogue,” Shiell said, “American history and representations of that history can be ugly and offensive. But hiding them doesn’t change the past or the future.”

Indeed, pretending that Woodrow Wilson wasn’t a part of Princeton’s founding, or that Cecil Rhodes wasn’t a towering figure at Oxford University, will not change the past of these institutions. Breaking stained glass windows at Yale — as one cafeteria worker did recently upon finding a depiction of slaves — and hiding paintings at the University of Wisconsin in the basement is unlikely to alter 19th century American history either.

But what’s most appalling is the idea that statues and building names and paintings are at all responsible for the difficulties that racial and ethnic minorities face in America today.

It’s not historical artwork that’s responsible for the fact that the average black 12th grader scores in the 19th percentile on reading. Just as it isn’t paintings of fur traders that are responsible for the fact that only half of American Indians graduate from high school.

Yet denizens of the ivory tower keep suggesting that what Indians really need from the rest of us is more cultural sensitivity. Glenn Morris, a professor at the University of Colorado at Denver, is one of those leading his state’s protest against Columbus Day. He explains that the holiday is a “hegemonic tool . . . And it exists in part to advance a national ideology of celebrating invasion, conquest and colonialism.”

The American Sociological Association, meanwhile, passed a resolution calling for sports teams to cease using American Indian nicknames, logos and mascots. It claimed such use “harms Native American people in psychological, educational and social ways.”

But no one has established any causal relationship between the existence of these names and psychological harm to Native Americans. Just as no one has found that Columbus Day — or Thanksgiving for that matter — is causing American Indians any kind of psychic damage.

American Indians are the poorest racial group in the country. Young American Indians are more likely to suffer from alcohol-use disorders. They are more likely to be involved in gangs. And the rate of child abuse among Native Americans is twice as high as the national average. American Indian women are twice as likely to be sexually assaulted as the average American woman.

These are all problems that have been caused not only by a tragic history but also by misguided policies being promoted in Washington, DC, every day.

Indians on reservations don’t have property rights, the rule of law or access to a decent education. The fact that American Indians have a suicide rate significantly higher than the national average is in part a reaction to the extreme hopelessness of life on reservations.

That university administrators believe a painting can have a harmful effect on a student who has grown up in these kinds of conditions tells us less about the cultural sensitivity of academics and more about their utter obliviousness.

Naomi Schaefer Riley is a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.