FLOTUS: Museums Not Welcoming to ‘Someone Who Looks Like Me’

 

Michelle-Obama-WhitneyNew York’s elite dedicated a $420 million building for the Whitney Museum on Monday. The event featured various luminaries and politicians, including Mayor Bill de Blasio, celebritect Renzo Piano, and Michelle Obama. [Editor’s note: Welcome, Rush listeners! if you’re reading this article, you ought to be a Ricochet member. Join up here today].

Instead of merely congratulating the museum staff and praising their mission, the First Lady decided to lecture them about diversity. One of her claims struck me as quite odd:

“You see, there are so many kids in this country who look at places like museums and concert halls and other cultural centers and they think to themselves, well, that’s not a place for me, for someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood. In fact, I guarantee you that right now, there are kids living less than a mile from here who would never in a million years dream that they would be welcome in this museum. And growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I was one of those kids myself.”

In a story on her speech, public radio station WNYC identified the vast majority of American museums as “white spaces” that are inherently unwelcoming to minorities.

I have been to several Chicago museums on many occasions. Whether I was at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, or the Museum of Science and Industry, the bustling crowds were made up of every ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Buses brought in schoolkids from each neighborhood in Chicago and every ‘burb surrounding it. I’m sure a young Michelle Obama participated in similar field trips many times.

And it’s not as if she grew up in poverty, relegated to the South Side’s infamous housing projects like some of my friends. The First Lady had a thoroughly middle-class upbringing in a stable, nuclear family. Her excellent grades got her into Chicago’s superb Whitney Young Magnet High School where she was given one of the finest secondary educations in the state.

Did this smart, successful student actually think Chicago’s many popular museums were closed to “someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood?” Did she “never in a million years dream” she would be welcome in these cultural centers, even though her school must have had field trips to most of them? I find this very hard to believe.

Michelle Obama has had a remarkably successful life. From all accounts, she was a happy, high-achieving child, earned degrees at Princeton and Harvard, was the wife of a U.S. Senator and now lives in the world’s most famous mansion. She graces magazine covers, is lauded on television shows, and even gets invited to speak at the dedication of high-end art museums.

So why does she continue to identify herself and “people like her” as oppressed, aggrieved victims rather than strong, capable winners? I know it’s de rigueur to make every issue a “teachable moment,” but is there any indication that America’s many museums are “off-limits to people of color?”

There are 101 comments.

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  1. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: So why does she continue to identify herself and “people like her” as oppressed, aggrieved victims rather than strong, capable winners?

    “Reinventing oneself as a champion of the working man is the surest way to avoid becoming one.” – Jack Dunphy

    • #1
    • May 6, 2015 at 4:46 pm
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  2. Member

    Obviously the batteries in the brain implant have not run down yet.

    • #2
    • May 6, 2015 at 4:49 pm
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  3. Member

    You know where those young kids who look like her are not welcome?

    The University of Chicago Hospital Emergency Room.

    In fact, a certain Senator’s wife was paid quite handsomely to make sure they knew it.

    • #3
    • May 6, 2015 at 4:50 pm
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  4. Member

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: So why does she continue to identify herself and “people like her” as oppressed, aggrieved victims rather than strong, capable winners?

    Because it works for her politically. As long as there are victims with which to identify and grievances to be remedied, there will be progressives to ride to the rescue.

    • #4
    • May 6, 2015 at 4:51 pm
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  5. Member

    The museums are off-limits to people of color as long as people of color tell people of color that people of color going to the museums are “acting white.”

    • #5
    • May 6, 2015 at 4:52 pm
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  6. Inactive

    There is no such evidence. Anyone can go who has an interest in going, and everyone knows that, including La Obama.

    But that doesn’t mean that a black kid won’t get a lot of grief from his peers for acting white by going to a museum, or even wanting to go. I have a hard time imagining a group of inner city black kids discussing a trip to the museum.

    • #6
    • May 6, 2015 at 4:53 pm
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  7. Member

    Great post, John. I am reveling vicariously in your recent fame on twitter. Ricochet now has its own Iowahawk. Usually it takes 40 or 50 comments before someone nails a comment so well that there isn’t much else to say. I think Billy just did that.

    • #7
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:02 pm
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  8. Thatcher

    Michelle grew up on the South Side. She grew up in easy reach of the Field Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, and the Chicago Art Institute. I went to all those places many times and there were people of all races in each of them.

    What the hell is she talking about?

    • #8
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:06 pm
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  9. Contributor

    Michelle Obama said:

    “You see, there are so many kids in this country who look at places like museums and concert halls and other cultural centers and they think to themselves, well, that’s not a place for me, for someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood.

    I don’t know any white kids who want to go to a museum.

    Worst class trip ever.

    I remember my 8th grade vote being to go see the diving horse in Atlantic City, but noooooo! Teacher had to get her way.

    Let me ask a question: At what point do white people stop politely accepting false allegations of racism? When do we say enough is enough and fight back?

    I’m so tired of it.

    • #9
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:08 pm
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  10. Member

    She’s talking about the power that comes from divisiveness.

    • #10
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:10 pm
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  11. Member

    Funny that she would feel out of place. American art museums are largely devoted to taking a generic hostility to American culture, values and history and bringing that sentiment into actual expression and practice which is exactly what the Obamas do every day.

    • #11
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:10 pm
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  12. Member

    I’m going to be catty and off topic here and say, that dress/shirt she is wearing in the headline photo looks like an ancient Chinese vase, or wallpaper. If I looked like her they wouldn’t let me in a museum either, except as an exhibit.

    cats car

    • #12
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:15 pm
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  13. Member

    Percival:Michelle grew up on the South Side. She grew up in easy reach of the Field Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, and the Chicago Art Institute.I went to all those places many times and there were people of all races in each of them.

    What the hell is she talking about?

    Well, to be fair to FLOTUS, I think they used to chain up black kids to work in the Museum of Science and Industry’s model coal mine. Maybe that’s what she’s remembering.

    • #13
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:16 pm
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  14. Inactive

    Ugh. And we’re going to be seeing her on the news for decades. Probably running for office as well.

    • #14
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:19 pm
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  15. Moderator
    She

    This is utterly unsurprising in a world where parents who read bedtime stories to their kids are seriously targeted by someone who, on paper, is a credible academic, who worries about the

    “curious situation that arises when a parent wants to do the best for her child but in the process makes the playing field for others even more lopsided.”

    and who notes that

    “the difference between those who get bedtime stories and those who don’t–the difference in their life chances–is bigger than the difference between those who get elite private schooling and those that don’t.” 

    A rational person might conclude, here, that a rising tide which encourages ALL parents to read to their children, and to pay a little more attention to them at all times of the day and night, might lift all boats, and thereby improve everyone’s lot (in much the same way that encouraging all children, no matter how deprived, and all parents, no matter how timid, to try out the local museum on a weekend, might elevate the tone of conversation at the dinner table).

     BUT, NO!!!!

    What we realised we needed was a way of thinking about what it was we wanted to allow parents to do for their children, and what it was that we didn’t need to allow parents to do for their children, if allowing those activities would create unfairnesses for other people’s children. . . (emphasis added).

    Why would anyone think that Michelle Obama would opt for anything other than the lowest common denominator and the soft tyranny of low expectations?

    Her constitution (small “c”), and that of others of her ilk, is not capable of understanding, or promoting, anything better.

    • #15
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:21 pm
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  16. Member

    Percival:Michelle grew up on the South Side. She grew up in easy reach of the Field Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, and the Chicago Art Institute.I went to all those places many times and there were people of all races in each of them.

    What the hell is she talking about?

    Me too. Perhaps Great America and Santa’s Village amusement parks were less diverse, but then again those were in far suburbs and cost more to enter than any of the museums.

    All the museums (and there are many) and both zoos have always had diverse attendance ever since I started noticing when I was a kid in the ’80s.

    • #16
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:23 pm
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  17. Contributor

    Ask anyone in the inner cities of America if the Obama presidency has substantially made their lives better.

    Black unemployment under Obama has run anywhere from 4-6 percentage points above the median of the Bush years. Less than 2% of SBA loans have gone to black-owned businesses. Under Bush it averaged four times that. More blacks live in poverty now than when Obama took office and the income gap between whites and blacks is at a 24-year high.

    When you have that kind of record all you have is your own victim rhetoric.

    (Stats: BlackPressUSA)

    • #17
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm
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  18. Inactive

    I suppose she would say that the library is another “white space” where blacks are unwelcome.

    • #18
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:26 pm
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  19. Inactive

    I’m sick of her wannabe sixties radical crap. Almost as much as I’m sick of her husband’s narcissistic crap.

    • #19
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:49 pm
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  20. Member

    Strange, museums don’t welcome people that “look like her”? Usually museums are used to welcoming people that look smug and self-satisfied.

    • #20
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:49 pm
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  21. Moderator
    She

    Man With the Axe:I suppose she would say that the library is another “white space” where blacks are unwelcome.

    I’m pretty sure you’re right . . .

    • #21
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:53 pm
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  22. Contributor

    To assuage FLOTUS The Whitney will be renamed The Whitney Houston. Bathtub seating for everyone.

    • #22
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:56 pm
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  23. Member

    We visited a (fairly-local) presidential museum this past weekend. The entire museum, while mostly focusing on this President’s military life and presidential years, sure spent a lot of display space dedicated to inclusiveness: minorities, gays, and women and the roles they played during those years while he was in office.

    If anything, I think museums and other educational institutions are spending a great deal of space and money to showcase history so those kids can see and learn that people who look exactly like them played major roles in our American history.

    Michelle, on the other hand, has never been proud of this country and nothing, not even the election of her husband, will change that.

    • #23
    • May 6, 2015 at 5:56 pm
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  24. Member

    Obama just transitioned his foundation My Brother’s Keeper from public to private. It is lavishly funded now (200 million) and it will be the Obama’s eternal party fund.

    I bet they’ll give more to charity but it’s high on the hog for the Obamas til the bitter end.

    The purpose of this foundation is to give money to anyone who isn’t white. Really. She’s a racist pig.

    • #24
    • May 6, 2015 at 6:05 pm
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  25. Moderator
    She

    EJHill:To assuage FLOTUS The Whitney will be renamed The Whitney Houston. Bathtub seating for everyone.

    Isn’t the bathroom seating section named for that woman with green lips and Froot Loops?

    • #25
    • May 6, 2015 at 6:09 pm
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  26. Member

    Jesus, she looks like a long day….

    • #26
    • May 6, 2015 at 6:13 pm
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  27. Member

    I could certainly see museum operators raising their eyebrows if some middle schooler from a depressed neighborhood walks in looking like a powerful, wealthy, middle-aged woman.

    • #27
    • May 6, 2015 at 6:13 pm
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  28. Member

    I gotta say I’m pretty much sick to death of this whiny race baiting garbage from the First family.

    Editor’s note: Who ever stenciled the podium spelled whitey wrong, just a heads up.

    • #28
    • May 6, 2015 at 6:17 pm
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  29. Thatcher

    It’s wonderful that we’re paying this simpering clown to lecture us on what’s wrong with everything, which is, obviously, racism, because everything is racism. Breathing is racism. Speaking is racism. Simply existing is racism.

    Michelle swims in a deep blue sea of victimhood, but oddly, and much like other massive, gigantic, earth-shattering *ssclowns, she makes millions off it – and will continue to live the very best of lives while telling us all she’s not welcome in places she’s clearly never walked into.

    So: Make yourself a victim, or sympathetic to people ready to be perceived as victims, and you get a) votes! and b) millions!

    See how easy that was? Almost like buying a house you clearly can’t afford from another convicted felon, and land a high-paying job at a college that you don’t work very hard in, and the school doesn’t backfill it when you leave, and so, yeah, that’s whitey for ya.

    • #29
    • May 6, 2015 at 6:47 pm
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  30. Member

    People see what they want to see.

    • #30
    • May 6, 2015 at 6:49 pm
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