NY Times slams Museum of African Diaspora

Last Thursday’s New York Times featured an article critiquing the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. The article, entitled Anecdotal Evidence Of Homesick Mankind(written by Edward Rothstein), pretty much blasts the museum and its innovative exhibits, disregarding the gougeous architecture and downplaying the museum’s most provocative display -an MoADenormous mural of an African Child, constructed of thousands of smaller pictures- descrbing it as “awkward” and misplaced. I’ve been the MoAD before, and it’s a beautiful structure, and an important piece of Black history and culture. One of my colleagues and a fellow Blackademic thinker (and my sister) Maya Freelon has more to say about the article…

It’s like some white people can’t understand when something doesn’t involve them completely. Some people will never see Africa as beautiful, or a source of origin. I think Edward Rothstein didn’t particularly like the museum, not because of its questionable historical accuracy, but because it celebrates the best of what it means to be part of the African Diaspora, which he considers to be “so broad as to be meaningless.” When articles like this are printed, it only further insinuates that in white eyes we must acknowledge white dominance and oppression to be authentic. I find this problem in my artwork as well. People love the ‘questioning Blackness,’ ‘intra-racial racism’ and ‘identity artwork,’ but can’t stand to look at something abstract or not objecting the Black body. If we don’t enter this discourse in opposition, then what is written may become ‘truth.’

It’s sad that now that we have MoAD, a safe place to enjoy our Unity (Umoja), outside critics can’t even fathom the validity and importance of such an elaborate celebration.

Right on, sister.

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Published on July 27, 2006 at 7:13 pm. 10 Comments.
Filed under black culture,mainstream culture,racism.