Home Magazine "Talking About Race"

After the trauma given by COVID-19, images entered each of our homes that we never expected. The scenes of the last few days in the United States, with protests over the killing of African American George Floyd after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, knelt on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes while Floyd was handcuffed face down in the street. Protests are continuing in many American cities: from New York to Los Angeles and also Washington. 

Related articles: Beauty comes from diversity: the world of Alighiero Boetti-Divided Horizons of Common Skies-21 Black Female Painters

Why did George Floyd’s case inflame America? The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington through its new project ‘’Talking About Race’’ is trying to offer a range of culturally valid answers: an online platform dedicated to the themes of racism and racial identity. Hundreds of videos, scholars' articles, role-playing exercises and other multimedia resources are available to users, which, in this phase as delicate as it is crucial, not only for the United States but also, reflexively, for the western world, they could help define a new idea of society.

“This moment in time provides people with an opportunity,” says Candra Flanagan, director of teaching and learning for the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). “Adults might want to turn off the TV or be silent. But kids are getting their information and understanding from other places. It makes it that much more important to have these conversations so they aren’t getting outside messages different from what [parents] want them to have.”


The exterior of the Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History and Culture, courtesy of NMAAHC Architectural Photography.


The museum, whose permanent building was designed by the archistar David Adjaye, has already presented the initiative in the early September 2016, during a ceremony attended by the ex-President Barack Obama. But recent events, including the murder of George Floyd and the one - less known outside the USA - of Breonna Taylor, killed on March 13, in her apartment, following a raid by the Louisville police, have prompted to speed up its publication, have accelerated the development of the platform.

A few days ago, Lonnie G. Bunch III, the first director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, explicitly declared his anger and disgust about the recent events of violence against black people: "Not only have we been forced to deal with the impact of the pandemic, but we also had to deal with the reality: we are still a nation torn by racial inequalities and divisions. The situation of our democracy is fragile and precarious ».

"By inaugurating the new portal today, the museum aims to help individuals and communities to carry out a constructive discussion on one of the most urgent topics for the whole nation, racism and its corrosive impact," reads the Smithsonian statement Museum. "We recognize how difficult it's to start this conversation. But in a nation still grappling with the legacy of slavery and white supremacy, this difficult conversation needs to be carried on in order to have any hope of turning the page. This new portal is a step in this direction ".

Cover image: Talking about race. Courtesy The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Written by Elisabetta Rastelli

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.

Kooness Recommends