Michelle Obama Says Black Children Are Unwelcome In These Public Places
Michelle Obama got back on her soapbox of racial inequality recently in a speech given at the opening of the Whitney Museum in New York City.
The museum's new location, in the Meatpacking District of Manhattan, was marked by an address by Obama, where she said that black children and other children of color don't feel welcome in public places like museums.
Michelle went so far as to say that museums and concert halls "don't welcome non-white visitors" and that young people who live in proximity to the new Whitney Museum likely won't feel like it's a public place that they can attend and enjoy.
Despite using personal examples from her own growing up years in Chicago when she felt unwanted in similar public space settings, Michelle Obama cited no statistics or facts in her denouncement of museums and relied solely on anecdotal stories.
Furthermore, it's unwise and disgraceful for Obama to place the blame for a feeling of unwelcome-ness on the museums, or to use the label "non-white" as if white persons were the ones who weren't allowing racial minorities to feel welcome.
Welcome-ness is something that comes from a sense of community and belonging. Someone feels welcome in a place where they feel like they can learn and grow in a safe environment. The fact that communities made up of racial minorities haven't accepted public spaces like museums and concert halls as acceptable places reflects more on those communities, than the people who are funding the museums.
It will take far more than a smiling door-greeter in a museum for a black kid to feel welcome there if there is a stigma and stereotype that associates public spaces like that museum with "white people." The stigma can only go away when all members of a community, from all racial backgrounds, accept a public space as theirs.
Michelle, whining about "non-white" people feeling unwelcome isn't where the change needs to happen.