A museum entirely staffed with white people announced eradicating racism among its ranks (graphic by Hrag Vartanian/Hyperallergic)

Citing the purchase of a single Kehinde Wiley painting, the entirely White staff of a local museum congratulated themselves on solving racism this week.

“We did it, we really did it,” said Chad Whitley-McGovern, the rich, White chair of the museum’s board, which is 100% comprised of other rich White people. Whitley-McGovern emphasized that the process was especially difficult since there were no actual people of color on the staff or advisory board, but “we were able to imagine what it would be like.”

A proposal to diversify staff by placing qualified people of color in key curatorial and high administrative positions would have made waves, but no one proposed that, so everything was fine.

“We think this one Kehinde Wiley painting is going to do the trick,” said Chief Curator Victoria Bentley-Monopoly. “If it seems like racism is on the verge of coming back, we can look into acquiring a piece by Kara Walker.”

“But nothing too controversial,” the curator hastily added.

The museum also has plans to create a more inclusive workplace culture, with upcoming lunch-and-learns including “What to Do If You See a Black Person (Don’t Panic!!),” “Recontextualizing the Collection to Avoid Overt Colonial Overtones,” and “Performative Allyship.”

Whitley-McGovern said these changes have been a long time coming, and demonstrate the important ways that White people can address racism without giving power to or needing any direct input from people who experience it.

“It was uncomfortable at times, but we had some tough conversations about what greater diversity would look like for our institution,” he said. “We all agreed it would look fine and we will definitely keep an eye out for it in case it comes up.”

There are no current plans to display the Wiley painting, as the museum feels that “owning it is the main thing.”

Sarah Rose Sharp

Sarah Rose Sharp is a Detroit-based writer, activist, and multimedia artist. She has shown work in New York, Seattle, Columbus and Toledo, OH, and Detroit —...

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