The Art Museum of Chicago last month fired all of its volunteer guides, who were mostly elderly white women, in an effort to “racially diversify” the museum’s staff.
The Art Museum usually has over 100 guides, 82 of whom were involved. These guides had an average of 15 years of experience in the museum without remuneration. But in early September, Veronica Stein, the museum’s executive director of education and public affairs, sent them an email announcing they were all fired.
The media speculate that the layoffs were due to the fact that most of the tour guides were “financially secure” white women. “We must find new ways to involve our community members of all income levels in our museum and respond to the challenges of class and financial equality,” Stein emphasized.
Museum director Robert Levi said that plans for “diversification” had been developed over the past 12 years and that “no one has fired anyone.” “We thought we had clearly presented our plan, but somehow it was subjected to unfounded accusations of ‘reverse racism,’” Levi said. “We just suspended the volunteer education program and in no way wanted to diminish their contributions. This should not be the basis for stirring up a war of cultures. “
“Variety” instead of common sense