Now then: Note to the Smithsonian: This is actually racist. Not to mention stupid. Excerpt:
Witness last week’s contretemps at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum, which bills itself as “the only national museum devoted exclusively” to educating the public on these topics, recently debuted the online guide “Talking about Race.” The guide included a chart cataloguing the “aspects and assumptions” of “white culture” that “have been normalized over time and are now considered standard practices in the United States.”
What are these sinister aspects of “white culture,” you ask? Well, according to the Smithsonian, values like “hard work,” “self-reliance,” “be[ing] polite,” and timeliness are all a product of the “white dominant culture.” Indeed, it turns out that conventional grammar, Christianity, the notion that “intent counts” in courts of law, and the scientific method and its emphasis on “objective, rational linear thinking” are all proprietary to “white culture.”
There are several things that might be said about all this. But the place to start may be by observing just how insidious it is to teach black children to reject intellectual and personal traits that promote personal and civic success — in the U.S. or anywhere else. After all, in what land are students well-served when they’re encouraged not to work hard, make decisions, think rationally, or be polite and on time? Among the extraordinarily accomplished people honored by the museum, those such as Frederick Douglass; Harriet Tubman; Jackie Robinson; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Toni Morrison; John Lewis; Oprah Winfrey; Michael Jordan; Condoleezza Rice; and Barack Obama might be surprised to learn that hard work and rational thinking are somehow alien to black culture.
Don’t take my word for it. Here’s the actual chart:
What a condescending pile of crap. Let’s look at a couple of the most egregiously stupid bits:
As opposed to what? Dependence? On whom? Or what? This is particularly demeaning, as it implies that “people of color” (whatever that means) are somehow less capable of self-reliance. That’s utter horseshit.
- Objective, rational, linear thinking
As opposed to what? Subjective, irrational, scattered thinking? That’s not thinking at all. That’s just feeling. That’s no way to live a life, and it’s sure as hell no way to decide a policy at any level of government.
- Plan for future, and
- Delayed gratification
As opposed to what? Disregarding the future and only doing what feels good now? These two items are critically important life skills. Especially if one ever harbors any notions of a peaceful retirement.
Most of the attributes listed in this aggregation of racist horseshit aren’t “white” values. Most of them are values of responsible, thoughtful adults. They apply evenly and equally to everyone who takes responsibility for their own lives.
The Smithsonian should be ashamed of themselves for putting out this crap.