This week, First Lady Michelle Obama helped inaugurate the Whitney Museum's new building in downtown Manhattan, and she said something profound — and troubling — about who visits museums like the Whitney, and who doesn't.
"I guarantee 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," said Obama. "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."
That idea — that black kids from poor neighborhoods might not feel welcome or comfortable in a museum — surprised Hiawatha Bray, who covers technology for The Boston Globe.
Hiawatha Bray, technology writer for the business section of The Boston Globe. He’s also author of the new book, “You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves.” He tweets @GlobeTechLab.
- "It’s hard to imagine that someone as smart and attractive as her would ever feel unwelcome at an art museum. Or is it that she’s black? Well, me, too, and I practically camped out at the Art Institute of Chicago during my teen years. If Obama had felt a bit more welcome there, we might have met and maybe hit it off, and thereby subtly changed the future of the world. Or not."
This segment aired on May 29, 2015.