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troubleinharlem's avatar

How do you feel about the still-to-be-built Smithsonian Black History Museum?

Asked by troubleinharlem (7951 points ) February 24th, 2012

I was talking to my cousin earlier today and she mentioned how she felt about the museum. Basically, her point was this:

I am not sure how I feel about this. We keep saying we want to be included in the history of this country. Is this a step in the right direction? Opening up a museum that is specifically about the Black history? Then we aren’t included in the overall history, but a different set apart history. Will there now need to be a Mexican history museum? Or maybe a Japanese history museum where we show their contributions to our society that have long been overlooked? Yes, African American’s have a significant history in this country that has been ignored and overlooked, but shouldn’t it be included in the American History Museum rather than a separate but equal Black History Museum? This is why I’m not sure how to feel about it.

Here’s the article if you want to read it.

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15 Answers

Blackberry's avatar

There are musuems for pretty much every ethnic culture. I agree we need to forget about race altogether, but that’s not how things are now, so I see no problem with it.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Your cousin’s viewpoint is valid. However, the contribution of African-Americans to the US is substantial and deserves a place among the greatest museums we have as a nation.

DrBill's avatar

It will be a positive influence to foster racial discrimination. If it were US history, that would be one thing, but specifically centering on one race over all others is nothing but discrimination. If they were to propose an all white theme, the black community would be screaming to high heaven.

CaptainHarley's avatar

If it makes my black brothers and sisters feel better about themselves and their place in history, I’m all for it.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Well, I kind of feel like your cousin. “Separate but equal” is what we have been fighting against for decades. I would hope that all museums would showcase any person or event, regardless of color. That is the direction we are trying to go, anyway. To be truly color blind, we need to see ourselves as Americans, not separated by color.

The other unfortunate thing about a black history museum is that the clientele would be blacks, mostly. The whole idea is for all cultures and races to get to see it, but if it is separate, I am not sure that people of other races would go see it.

saint's avatar

Your friend is correct

Nullo's avatar

I think it would be better to amplify the existing museums, myself. Not by adding Black History wings, but by integrating hehe it into the presentation of the rest of History.

bea2345's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt : is that the clientele would be blacks, mostly.: are most of the visitors to the Holocaust Museum Jews? (not to mention homosexuals and Romany).

filmfann's avatar

One of the highlights of any visit to Washington DC is the Holocaust Museum. I am not Jewish, but I wouldn’t miss a chance to go there again!

A Museum of Black History would have the same compelling story to tell. I wouldn’t miss it!

bea2345's avatar

@SkaggfacemuttI am not sure that people of other races would go see it.: If this is a true observation, then race relations is in a worse condition than I thought.

elbanditoroso's avatar

So what? Washington is full of other museums – the American Indian museum, the Holocaust Museum, the Shakespeare Center, the Art Museum. What’s one more or one less?

People who are opposing this museum are just being petty for political purposes.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

@bea2345 I wasn’t trying to be disrespecful. I am not Jewish, but the holocaust and WWII is a subject that would make me want to visit the museum. I don’t think I would be inclined to visit a Black History Museum if it was standing on it’s own. If it was integrated into a regular museum, then I would. Tourists have to pick and chose where they are going to go and what they are going to see due to time and money restraints. I am just saying that I think more people would see it if it was integrated into the regular museum, but if I am wrong, then making a separate museum would be just fine.

saint's avatar

Is it going to teach me something that I do not already know? If I have reason to believe so, I will go. If not, I will not.

bea2345's avatar

@Skaggfacemutt – I gave you a Great Answer not because I agree with you but because your reply was quite reasonable. The injury inflicted upon Africans was real, cruel and lasted a long time. It has consequences to this day. Other races have had their versions of a Holocaust but what makes the blacks different is that as of now, Africans (and Afro-populations everywhere) are pretty low in people’s ratings. Like the Romany, but for different reasons we blacks are not as readily integrated as other, non-black races, are. And because we are not easily assimilable, we are the outsiders. Just look at recent history. I understand that there is some hostility to sending the US army personnel into Uganda to help with the effort against the Lord’s Army. Lawdy, Lawdy, do I see a tint of anti-black racism here?

Nullo's avatar

@bea2345 If you choose to frame every issue in terms of racism, then everything will appear racist. There may well be other reasons than melanin count – for instance, there’s a growing sentiment that the U.S. ought to generally stop meddling in other people’s business. Some people may be reflecting on the various other times that the government has set up or aided organizations.

People are complicated.

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