Black and brown school children came there to learn but got a lesson in racial profiling instead.
The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is apologizing today for alleged racist behavior perpetrated upon a group of middle school kids last week, according to reports.
Marvelyne Lamy is a seventh-grade teacher at Davis Leadership Academy in Dorchester, just south of Boston. On Monday she went to Facebook and posted about how her group of black and brown students were racially-profiled during a trip to the museum on May 14.
“At the very beginning of the tour, one of the staff gave an overview on what to expect and told the kids no food, no drink, and no watermelon,” Lamy wrote, saying chaperones were not aware of the watermelon comment until after the visit. “Throughout our walkthrough, they followed us. Many of our students grew agitated. At the end, we went through the gender-bending exhibit where the security guard followed our every movement.”
“It got so bad that I started gathering our students so we could leave,” she added.
She said she spoke to staff as they were leaving, but “they just looked on with pity.”
Lamy said all they were offered were tickets to return to the museum and did not receive an apology.
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Museum of Fine Arts in Boston apologizes after a teacher posted publicly that her middle school students were the subjects of racist behavior during a visit. https://t.co/GjqRvXzTaa
However, the apology from the museum came two days after the post.
“Last week, a number of students on an organized visit encountered a range of challenging and unacceptable experiences that made them feel unwelcome,” the museum wrote. “That is not who we are or want to be. Our intention is to set the highest of standards, and we are committed to doing the work that it will take to get there.”
In the letter, signed by seven executives with the Museum of Fine Arts, they pledged to conduct an investigation into the incident and said that Makeeba McCreary, the museum’s chief of Learning and Community Engagement, has been in contact.
“We want to apologize specifically to the students, faculty, and parents of the Davis Leadership Academy,” the museum’s letter concluded. “We deeply regret any interactions that led to this outcome and are committed to being a place where all people trust that they will feel safe and treated with respect. We look forward to the ongoing conversation and commit to using this situation as an opportunity to learn and create a culture of unwavering inclusion.”
The thing about these situations is, everybody is all apologetic and conciliatory when they are busted, but give it a few months and security will be up to their racist shenanigans once again. That’s just how these things tend to go. We’ll see though. But these behaviors amount to questioning the humanity of black and brown children who came to the museum to learn. The assumption of criminality or rowdiness in black and brown babies is something all the training in the world won’t alleviate.