Saturday, January 17, 2009

Good intentions

Here is the question for the day: Is segregation okay if the intentions are good? On NPR the other day I heard that there is going to be a new museum at the Smithsonian for African American History. One of their displays is (I think) Miles Davis's trumpet. I was bothered by this story because it seems to me that in placing this artifact in the African-American museum instead of the (plain old) American History museum, we are taking him away from the rest of America and emphasizing that he is different from "us." Instead of the focus being on his trumpet virtuosity, the focus is on his blackness.

They also plan on placing some shackles from the Middle Passage in this new museum. Now, I am an unashamed American patriot, but I know we have made many mistakes as a country, slavery only being the biggest. Does this new museum mean slavery is taken out of the American History Museum? Do we just get America's successes in the American History Museum? Are we relegating America's mistakes to a more specialized museum? I think in order for us to really come together as a country, we can't segregate our history, even though the intentions are unquestionably good. At least, that's how I see it now.

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