Sunday blogging against racism #45–of museums and misconceptions

just wondering . . .

CORR Museum trip 8.2008

we went to the DuSable Museum of African-American History yesterday. Although I noticed more white folks later on in the day, when we first got there, I couldn’t help but notice that the majority of the people visiting the museum were themselves African-American.

So what’s the deal? Do white folks not need to know about the history of black Americans?

Although I aspire to be him someday, I’m also kind of lazy, so I’m going to let Tim Wise answer this one. And for those of you who won’t click on the link (ALTHOUGH YOU SHOULD!), here’s an excerpt:

Requiring African American history will be “divisive” they claim, further tearing the city apart, rather than uniting it. But what kind of argument is this? Are we to believe that standard American history has been unifying? The kind of history that largely ignores the contributions and struggles of persons of color in the U.S.? The history that too often paints an image of Africa suggesting there were no signs of civilization there before whites arrived, and thus that black history doesn’t begin until slavery? The kind of history that relegates black folks to one month out of the year, and even then only teaches about a few prominent figures: Dr, King, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and perhaps Rosa Parks?

Could it be that such a “standard” history has only been unifying for whites by and large, seeing as how it has presented history in a way that typically glorifies white leaders, European cultural contributions and traditions, and white perspectives on various historical events?