During his launch of the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance in New York City this afternoon, President Obama made some of his most explicit remarks on race and opportunity in America.
Much less publicized but equally potent were the first lady’s remarks at the dedication of the $420 million Whitney Museum last week. Much as her husband described himself as “lucky” to have had second and third chances despite being “lost and adrift,” Michelle Obama spoke of growing up thinking museums were not a place “for someone who looks like me.”
“You see, there are so many kids in this country who look at places like museums and concert halls and other cultural centers and they think to themselves, well, that’s not a place for me, for someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood. In fact, I guarantee you that right now, there are kids living less than a mile from here who would never in a million years dream that they would be welcome in this museum.
“And growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I was one of those kids myself. So I know that feeling of not belonging in a place like this. And today, as First Lady, I know how that feeling limits the horizons of far too many of our young people.”
Today, WNYC public radio’s Arun Venugopal reported on “Museums as White Spaces,” a story about “why many museums are off-limits to people of color.”
Meanwhile, in reality: