We're all white supremacists now
One of the most disturbing things about our already unsettling times is the way the left is forcing ugly binary choices on Americans. The most obvious example is how the phrase "all lives matter" is being twisted to mean "I hate blacks" or "I'm a white supremacist." The latest manifestation of the charge that refusing to recognize black supremacy is proof that someone is a white supremacist comes from San Francisco. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art ("SFMOMA") has forced out its senior curator for the crime of refusing to ban white artists entirely from the museum's collection.
If you happen to find modern art attractive, SFMOMA is an excellent place to see it. The building is itself a decent example of contemporary architecture, and the collection offers solid examples of late 20th-century and early 21st-century art. And of course, because it's a San Francisco institution, SFMOMA has been all over the Black Lives Matter movement.
At the very top of its home page, right under the "we're closed because of the Wuhan virus" announcement, the museum promises that it has "Ongoing Commitments to Diversity and Inclusion." On the page dedicated to that promise, the museum assures everyone that it's been talking a lot about "diversity, equity, and inclusion" because the country is steeped in "fundamental systemic racism built into museums and this country's origins." One of the many things SFMOMA promises to do is require "anti-racist and implicit bias training for all staff" (along with contemplating "gender-neutral restrooms"). The museum also promises a full racial analysis of all people working for it.
It turns out, though, that "diversity, equity, and inclusion" do not extend to white people. Instead, whites are to be the victims of systemic discrimination, whether as artists or employees. Reason details how Gary Garrels, a senior curator, was forced out of the museum because he has said that deliberately excluding white artists is itself be a form of wrongful discrimination:
Until last week, Gary Garrels was senior curator of painting and sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). He resigned his position after museum employees circulated a petition that accused him of racism and demanded his immediate ouster.
"Gary's removal from SFMOMA is non-negotiable," read the petition. "Considering his lengthy tenure at this institution, we ask just how long have his toxic white supremacist beliefs regarding race and equity directed his position curating the content of the museum?"
This accusation — that Garrels' choices as an art curator are guided by white supremacist beliefs — is a very serious one. Unsurprisingly, it does not stand up to even minimal scrutiny.
The petitioners cite few examples of anything even approaching bad behavior from Garrels. Their sole complaint is that he allegedly concluded a presentation on how to diversify the museum's holdings by saying, "don't worry, we will definitely still continue to collect white artists."
Garrels has apparently articulated this sentiment on more than one occasion. According to artnet.com, he said that it would be impossible to completely shun white artists, because this would constitute "reverse discrimination." That's the sum total of his alleged crimes. He made a perfectly benign, wholly inoffensive, obviously true statement that at least some of the museum's featured artists would continue to be white. The petition lists no other specific grievances.
Garrels, as a good Democrat, accepted his sin of white privilege and meekly acquiesced to his ouster:
In a statement announcing his decision to step down, Garrels apologized for the harm his words caused, only slightly disputing the absurd charge against him. " I do not believe I have ever said that it is important to collect the art of white men," he said, according to artnet.com. "I have said that it is important that we do not exclude consideration of the art of white men."
A principled person without the Stockholm syndrome that currently characterizes all white Democrats would have forced SFMOMA to fire him and then sued the institution into bankruptcy for violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
What's chilling about Garrels's experience is that he's obviously not a white supremacist. Instead, he is the victim of a movement that labels as a "white supremacist" anyone who refuses to be a black supremacist.
This is totalitarianism. In Nazi Germany, people who were slow with their "Heil Hitler" salute found themselves in concentration camps as enemies of the state. Here, they find themselves erased from their careers.
It's fine to quote Martin Luther King about the content of a person's character versus the color of his skin. Still, people who have to put food on the table or pay a mortgage can easily be bullied into going along with this coerced speech about black racial superiority.
What we're seeing here is, weirdly, a "Spartacus moment" for Americans. We can yield to the un-American, fascist, eugenicist demand that we accept one race's superiority over all others, or we can stand up and make the unexceptional (indeed, laudatory) statement that "all lives matter," adding, "If that makes me a white supremacist, so be it."