The National Museum Of African American History & Culture on January 11, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Jared Siskin/Getty Images
The National Museum for African American History and Culture removed a chart listing “whiteness” attributes after receiving criticism from Donald Trump Jr and conservative media.
The chart listed “hard work,” “respecting authority,” and “objective, rational linear thinking” as some of the attributes of “white dominant culture, or whiteness.”
Donald Trump Jr. criticized the graphic earlier this week, tweeting: “These aren’t ‘white’ values. They’re American values that built the world’s greatest civilization. They help you succeed here, no matter your color.”
Museum officials issued an apology on Thursday, saying they “need these types of frank and respectful interchanges as we as a country grapple with how we talk about race and its impact on our lives.”
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The Smithsonian National Museum for African American History and Culture in Washington DC has removed an online chart listing “hard work” and “rational linear thinking” as attributes of white culture after criticism from Donald Trump Jr. and the conservative media.
The chart was in the “Whiteness” section of the museum’s “Talking About Race” online portal and listed “objective, rational linear thinking,” “hard work,” “respecting authority” as some of the attributes of “white dominant culture, or whiteness.”
Another trait listed in the chart was being in a nuclear family where the husband is the “breadwinner” and the wife is a “homemaker.”
The graphic came under fire this week after both Donald Trump Jr. and political commentator Ben Shapiro criticized it on Twitter, according to the Washington Post.
Trump Jr. tweeted on Wednesday: “These aren’t ‘white’ values. They’re American values that built the world’s greatest civilization. They help you succeed here, no matter your color. So make no mistake, Biden’s radicals aren’t coming for ‘whites,’ they’re coming for the entire American way of life.”
Shapiro also said that the chart “suggests all pathways to success — hard work, stable family structure, individual decision-making — represent complicity in white supremacy,” the Post reported.
Museum officials issued a formal apology on Thursday, writing in a statement that they have since removed the chart from their website.
“It is important for us as a country to talk about race. We thank those who shared concerns about our ‘Talking About Race’ online portal,” the statement said, according to the Miami Herald. “We need these types of frank and respectful interchanges as we as a country grapple with how we talk about race and its impact on our lives.”
Interim director Spencer Crew added that the graphic, which had been up since May 31, was not racist. “We’re trying to talk about ideology, not about people,” he said, according to the Post. “We are encouraging people to think about the world they live in and how they navigate it. It’s important to talk about it to grow and get better.”
The apology comes amid a national movement sparked by the death of George Floyd that is calling for better race relations in the country.
The museum’s “Talking About Race” portal was launched as a response to this movement and features exercises, videos, and research links to explore themes such as race and racial identity, being anti-racist, and systems of oppression.
“The whole idea behind the portal is how do we give tools to people to have these conversations that are vital to moving forward. This was one of those tools,” Crew said, according to the Post. “We have found it’s not working in the way we intended. We erred in including it.”
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