A portion of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture’s chart on “Aspects and Assumptions of Whiteness & White Culture in the United States” that was removed after backlash. (NMAAHC)
The image was chilling. It was the sort of thing you’d expect to find in a history book used to justify the racist Jim Crow laws. Yet there it was, brand new for 2020: An infographic developed as part of the new “Talking about Race” exhibit now showing at the taxpayer-funded Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC).
According to the NMAAHC, hard work, rational thought, the nuclear family, a respect for private property, and delayed gratification are all attributes of “whiteness.” That’s the polite way of promoting the defamatory racist stereotype of “non-white” people as lazy, incoherent, promiscuous, thieves hellbent on instant gratification.
The museum explained:
The exhibit did not launch as smoothly as its curators might have hoped. The very next day:
Mission accomplished. This short-lived graphic provided America with a truly teachable moment — a moment that calls out for a genuine reconsideration of the approach chosen by the NMAAHC and others.
Apparently, the highly professional, credentialed, trained staff of an institution dedicated to honoring African-American contributions to America and combating anti-black racism needed comments from the general public to notice that it was reinforcing some of the most damaging racist stereotypes in American history.
This shocking blindness is symptomatic of a deep problem plaguing America’s educational institutions — and a full generation of recent graduates….