Where Is The Humanity?

Where Is The Humanity?

12440482_1145901395420847_82258998423300351_oKen Burns has recently been “tapped” by the National Endowment for the Humanities to give the Jefferson Lecture–on Race in America:


Shame on the NEH.

What would it be like if we could rely on our national cultural institutions to be leaders in the struggle to end racism and inequality?  As the artist Hank Willis Thomas recently said in a video for the Ford Foundation: “whoever holds the frame gets to create the context.” Does it really need to be said that selecting a white male to be the face and voice of a high-profile national humanities lecture on Race in America is misguided and unjust?

The persistent indignity of all-white Academy Awards reflects a culture of inequality and exclusion that permeates Hollywood. It is itself inhumane. We call on the National Endowment for the Humanities to examine its core values and think deeply about who is upheld to tell this story, who is invited to the podium to give this esteemed lecture. The wounds of racial injustice in this country are raw and bleeding. It is time for white people (especially those with privileged, ongoing access to our Public Broadcast System) to step back and listen for a change.

What would you like to say to the NEH about this issue? Post a comment here, link to a photo, or video you’ve made–NAMAC will aggregate the content and send it to the powers-that-be at the NEH. Our voices will be heard.

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