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Smithsonian Targets ‘Whiteness,’ Lists Issues Like Rational Thinking and ‘Self-Reliance’ as Problematic

Smithsonian Targets ‘Whiteness,’ Lists Issues Like Rational Thinking and ‘Self-Reliance’ as Problematic

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture published a document entitled, “Talking About Race: Whiteness,” contending that white dominated U.S. culture is systemically racist.

According to the Smithsonian, people of color in the U.S. face the problem of “whiteness (and its accepted normality).”

It is characterized by “everyday microaggressions toward people of color. 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.”

“Thinking about race is very different for nonwhite persons living in America. People of color must always consider their racial identity, whatever the situation, due to the systemic and interpersonal racism that still exists,” the Smithsonian contends.

Using data from “Some Aspects and Assumptions of White Culture in the United States” by Judith H. Katz, an infographic lays out traits that characterize whiteness, or the “white dominant culture.”

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The traits include: rugged individualism (self-reliance), the Protestant work ethic, a future orientation (which entails a willingness to delay gratification), an emphasis on scientific/objective thinking, the nuclear family, respect for the rule of law grounded in individual rights (as bequeathed from English Common Law), and holidays based on Christian tradition.

These traits undeniably remain important in American culture.

Thomas Jefferson, the primary drafter of the Declaration of Independence, said he was trying to capture the “American mind,” when he wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

The idea that these beliefs are universally true and apply equally to all races in the U.S. does not seem to be accepted by the Smithsonian.

“In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate,” the museum quotes the late African-American author Toni Morrison as observing.

Except for the sad example of African slaves during the colonial period and in the early decades of the republic (until 1808 when the importation of slaves was banned under President Thomas Jefferson), people of all races have come to the United States by choice, making it among the most diverse countries in the world.

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For many years, the United States has averaged over 1 million immigrants per year coming into the country, and the vast majority of them are from non-European nations.

In 2018, over 112,000 came from Africa and 180,000 from Caribbean countries.

Asian immigrants accounted for another 383,000, Mexicans for 160,000, and Central America for 58,000.

Pew Research Center reported, as of 2016, the black immigrant population was over 4 million, a fivefold increase since 1980.

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., spelled out his desire in his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech that people not be “judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

People of character seemingly would have the ability and the desire to be self-reliant, work hard, think about and plan for the future, and respect the rule of law.

Ryan Williams, president of the Claremont Institute, lamented tax dollars being used by the Smithsonian to address the “whiteness” problem in America.

“I can’t believe I only just found this,” he wrote. “Your tax dollars at work promoting divisive propaganda.”

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