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Fri May 24, 2019, 05:33 PM

Boston Museum of Fine Arts Apologizes for Alleged Racist Behavior Toward Black Students

Source: ABC News

12 hrs. ago. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is apologizing after a teacher posted publicly that her middle school students were the subjects of racist behavior during a visit last week.

Marvelyne Lamy, a seventh-grade teacher from Davis Leadership Academy in Dorchester, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, posted on her Facebook page on Monday that the school group was "racially profiled" during a trip to the museum on May 14. The class was made up entirely of black and brown students, she wrote.

"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 walk through, 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. Lamy said she spoke to staff as they were leaving, but "they just looked on with pity." She said all they were offered were tickets to return to the museum and did not receive an apology. -MORE...



Read more: https://abcnews.go.com/US/bostons-museum-fine-arts-apologizes-alleged-racist-behavior/story?id=63249160



The museum did give that apology two days after teacher Lamy's post; it addressed the incident in a letter to the school, posted on its website, on Wednesday. "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."
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- BBC, "Boston Museum Sorry for Racist 'No Watermelons' Remark," May 24, 2019.

Why is 'watermelon' a racist term in the US? When slavery was abolished at the end of the 1860s some black people grew and sold watermelon to provide for their families. The fruit went on to be used as an excuse to characterise an entire section of the population as being lazy and content with simple pleasures and, therefore, flaunting their independence. Minstrel shows, caricatures, songs and cartoons were used to used to dehumanise and denigrate the black community.

In 2014 The Boston Herald was forced to apologise for a cartoon after an intruder broke into the White House during Barack Obama's presidency. The cartoon showed a man sitting in the bathtub referring to "watermelon flavoured toothpaste". In another separate incident in 2014 an American football coach in South Carolina was first fired and then re-instated for allowing players to smash a watermelon while making ape-like noises in a post game celebration https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-48402601



The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

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Reply Boston Museum of Fine Arts Apologizes for Alleged Racist Behavior Toward Black Students (Original post)
appalachiablue May 24 OP
BumRushDaShow May 24 #1
appalachiablue May 24 #4
madaboutharry May 24 #2
appalachiablue May 24 #5
dalton99a May 24 #3
appalachiablue May 24 #7
dalton99a May 24 #9
appalachiablue May 24 #10
Honeycombe8 May 24 #6
appalachiablue May 24 #11
CTyankee May 24 #8
geralmar May 24 #12
appalachiablue May 24 #13
geralmar May 24 #14
Kind of Blue May 25 #16
Kind of Blue May 25 #15

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Fri May 24, 2019, 05:36 PM

1. Saw this story earlier today

and it was too heartbreaking to even post.

Another generation learns what the deal is in the U.S. and what it means to be a "2nd class citizen".

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Response to BumRushDaShow (Reply #1)

Fri May 24, 2019, 05:51 PM

4. It's just sickening, been visiting museums all my life

and worked for 30 years as a museum educator in art and history museums in the DC area. Never heard anything like this disgrace.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Fri May 24, 2019, 05:38 PM

2. A museum staff person said "No watermelon"

to minority kids. WTF is wrong with people?

I am so sick of hearing about people being assholes.

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Response to madaboutharry (Reply #2)

Fri May 24, 2019, 05:53 PM

5. Shocking and disgraceful to a museum professional here.

MFA, Boston Collection Highlights https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museum_of_Fine_Arts,_Boston



(American) John Singleton Copley, "Watson and the Shark," 1778.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Fri May 24, 2019, 05:51 PM

3. Is the staffer related to this guy




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Response to dalton99a (Reply #3)

Fri May 24, 2019, 08:07 PM

7. A powerful image but I don't recognize it. Can you provide some

background? TY.

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Response to dalton99a (Reply #9)

Fri May 24, 2019, 08:35 PM

10. What an ugly era, the Boston busing crisis and much more,

Wiki, 1976, Boston: The Soiling of Old Glory is a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken by Stanley Forman during the Boston busing crisis in 1976. It depicts a white teenager, Joseph Rakes, assaulting a black man—lawyer and civil rights activist Ted Landsmark—with a flagpole bearing the American flag (also known as Old Glory).

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Fri May 24, 2019, 07:24 PM

6. About the watermelon comment....WTH? Wow.

As for following them around, I wonder if they always do that for kid groups. They might. Especially in that age group. If that's the case, their materials should state that, or they should tell the teacher that when they start the tour.

UPDATE: I checked the written rules for school tours. There are rules about staying a foot away from the art, being noisy, using lasers or pointing with ink pens, etc. And one chaperone for every 10 students is required. But it doesn't say museum staff accompany the groups.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #6)

Fri May 24, 2019, 09:55 PM

11. There's no excuse for this. Middle Schoolerers, staff knows

what to expect...heads will roll and should.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Fri May 24, 2019, 08:13 PM

8. I love that museum. I am going to be in it in a week or so for a visit with my daughter.

This museum has one of the finest collections of art in our country. It is shocking to me that one of its staff would make such an outrageous statement. I hope that person is gone from that museum's staff like yesterday.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)


Response to geralmar (Reply #12)

Fri May 24, 2019, 10:24 PM

13. This incident happened over a week ago; news articles are

still coming out with the same info.

I noticed that 'aware' comment too, but the people involved have been questioned and IF there was some error about the offensive 'watermelon' comment (ie 'water bottles' ? instead) it would have been corrected by now.

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Response to appalachiablue (Reply #13)


Response to geralmar (Reply #12)

Sat May 25, 2019, 03:35 PM

16. Wow, as if it's probable that anyone will readily admit,

before or once they're exposed, utterly failing these children. The kids also observed white students touching prohibited displays without reproach. It's disheartening that these academically exceptional kids, let alone any kid is treated this way and disbelieved without even checking for further proof that one's unquestioned belief about lying kids is correct.

As the students progressed through the museum, Lamy claimed the situation worsened. “We were instructed not to touch any of the artifacts in the museum, yet white students there touched the displays several times while security looked on without saying anything,” Lamy wrote on Facebook. “The minute one of our students followed suit, the security guards would yell at them…Throughout our walk through, they followed us.”

Lamy added that she addressed the issue with one of the museum’s security guards, but to no avail. “When I told him I did not appreciate him following our students, he said that he was just doing his job.”
http://time.com/5595544/mfa-schoolchildren-racism/

Prestigious Boston art museum bans 2 of its members for 'racist comments'

The museum said in a May 24 message on its website that it looked into the complaints and found two instances of two of its patrons making "racist comments" to students.

"We have identified the patrons who made the disparaging remarks and revoked their memberships, banning them from the Museum's grounds," the museum stated. "We will serve them with a no-trespass cease-and-desist notification."
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/prestigious-boston-art-museum-bans-2-its-members-racist-comments-n1010286

If the museum relied on security cameras to definitively confirm or disprove what the kids say, there's no doubt their statement about the staffer is also true.

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Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2019, 02:55 PM

15. Yeah, posted this in the A-A group yesterday.

I struggled a little to do so because it's distressing. Had to because at least the most vulnerable of us are believed unlike in my day and that's a good thing.

Thanks for posting, appalachiablue.

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