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The National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) has removed its controversial chart on whiteness from one of its webpages, telling people on Thursday that it didn’t contribute to a “productive conversation” about racial issues.
“Since yesterday, certain content in the ‘Talking About Race’ portal has been the subject of questions that we have taken seriously. We have listened to public sentiment and have removed a chart that does not contribute to the productive discussion we had intended,” the museum said in a statement.
Fox News reported yesterday that some described the chart as racist since it categorized things like “decision-making” and “delayed gratification” as part of whiteness.
The museum’s graphic broke the “aspects and assumptions of whiteness” into categories such as “rugged individualism” and “history.” For example, under “future orientation,” the graphic listed “delayed gratification” and planning for the future as ideas spread by white culture.
Conservative author Ben Shapiro, who called out the chart, told the NMAAHC that its problems went beyond the chart.
“The problem ain’t the chart.” Shapiro said. “The problem is the entire propagandistic critical race theory effort.”
The conservative commentator didn’t specify what, exactly, is “propagandistic” in the portal — which contains a wide range of information.
For instance, that information includes potential microagressions that could be committed by White people. “Acts of microaggressions include verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs or insults toward nonwhites. Whether intentional or not, these attitudes communicate hostile, derogatory, or harmful messages,” the site reads.
It also tells readers that “if you are white in America, you have benefited from the color of your skin.” The website also maintained a video from “White Fragility” author, Robin DiAngelo — whose book has been touted as a go-to in the wake of protests against racism ignited in part by the death of George Floyd.
According to DiAngelo, white people have a hard time admitting their privilege. The portal reads: “Dr. Robin DiAngelo coined the term white fragility to describe these feelings as ‘a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.’ Since white people ‘live in a social environment that insulates them from race-based stress,’ whites are rarely challenged and have less of a tolerance to race-based stress.”
One of the embedded videos is a TedTalk with the title: “White Men: Time to Discover Your Cultural Blind Spots.”
In describing the portal, the museum said: “The site’s intent and purpose are to foster and cultivate conversations that are respectful and constructive and provide increased understanding. As an educational institution, we value meaningful dialogue and believe that we are stronger when we can pause, listen, and reflect—even when it challenges us to reconsider our approach. We hope that this portal will be an ever-evolving place that will continue to grow, develop, and ensure that we listen to one another in a spirit of civility and common cause.”
Located in Washington, D.C., the museum opened to the public in 2016. Congress established the museum in 2003 and, according to its website, is “the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture.”