Smithsonian Blows Off Senator’s Demand For Explanation Of Taxpayer-Funded Racist Curriculum

Smithsonian Blows Off Senator’s Demand For Explanation Of Taxpayer-Funded Racist Curriculum

The Smithsonian blew off Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley’s demand that the taxpayer-funded museum explain why the institute released a racist curriculum earlier this month teaching Americans how to identify “whiteness.”

“Still waiting to hear back from the Smithsonian on this absurd and offensive chart,” Hawley wrote on Twitter early Thursday morning, the day after the July 22 deadline set in a letter to the institute’s secretary on Monday. “I want to know who came up with it and who signed off on it. So far, crickets.”

Hawley’s office confirmed to The Federalist that, by Thursday evening, the federal museum had still provided no answers on its reasoning behind the National Museum of African American History publishing racist material as part of its new “Talking About Race” initiative. In particular, Hawley requested information on the decision-making process behind the “Aspects & Assumptions of Whiteness & White Culture,” which was later removed from the museum website following backlash over its racist assertions, which include that the “nuclear family” and “self-reliance” are “white.”

“The ‘Talking About Race’ website claims the material is meant to provide an ‘opportunity to engage in thoughtful, respectful, and productive conversations’ about race in America,” Hawley wrote to Museum Secretary Lonnie Bunch. “However, the materials published under this initiative – some of which have recently been removed from public scrutiny – appear to embrace ideas likelier to foment racial division than mutual respect and understanding.”

Hawley identified multiple attributes that were removed from the brochure, which formerly identified positive behaviors as belonging exclusively to white people. They included “‘Self-Reliance,’ ‘The Nuclear Family,’ ‘Objective, rational linear thinking,’ ‘Hard work is the key to success,’ ‘Plan for the future,’ ‘Quantitative emphasis,’ ‘Intent counts,’ and ‘Be polite.'”

“The claim that these qualities and commitments – ideas Americans of all races have traditionally celebrated and strived to teach their children – are distinctive to white Americans would be troubling enough given its implication that they are foreign to Americans of color,” Hawley wrote. “However, the position of the Smithsonian, as suggested by the materials prior to their removal, appeared to be more troubling: that these attributes are actually emblems of ‘structural racism’ in American life to be rejected rather than embraced.”

Hawley also requested with a Wednesday deadline information on how the institute used public resources to promote this racism and outline payments to people the initiative credited for its creation, such as “White Fragility” author Robin DiAngelo, who reportedly took $12,000 for a single speech at the University of Kentucky.

Tristan Justice is a staff writer at The Federalist focusing on the 2020 presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at [email protected]
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