After racism uproar, MFA bans two visitors, pledges to change protocols

25 Mai, 2019, 03:53 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • Museum of Fine Arts Boston. ELAN FLEISHER  REX  SHUTTERSTOCK

The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston is apologizing after a teacher posted publicly that her middle school students were the subjects of racist behavior during a visit last week.

The incidents first attracted attention after Marvelyne Lamy, a seventh-grade English teacher at the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy in Dorchester, Massachusetts, described their visit in a Facebook post, writing that her students were followed closely through the museum by security guards and that the field trip began with a staff member telling the class that "no food, no drink, and no watermelon" would be allowed on the tour.

Lamy said a student told her that at the very beginning of the tour a staff member told the kids "no food, no drinks and no watermelon".

On their way out of one of the exhibits, Lamy said one of her female students told her that a patron made a disparaging comment to her when she was dancing to music being played in the museum.

She said the students are "angry they are still not being heard". "The security guard is literally just in our face". Many of our students grew agitated.

"It got so bad that I started gathering our students so we could leave, ' she said, adding that she tried to question staff on their way to the exit but 'they just looked on with pity". She adds that she had been teaching her students about racism, and that the experience made those lessons real.

In the immediate aftermath of the event, Lamy said the museum did not apologize, though they did offer the teachers and students free tickets to return.

An internal investigation has been launched about the matter, said Makeeba McCreary, the MFA's chief of learning and community engagement, which could result in consequences for those involved, she said Wednesday.

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"We were upset hearing that", Lamy said.

"This lady walks in and she's like, 'these f-king Black kids are in the way, '" Lamy explained.

In its Friday statement, the Museum said the spaces the students visited during their trip were patrolled by 13 security guards.

"That is not who we are or want to be", the statement read. "Our intention is to set the highest of standards, and we are committed to doing the work that it will take to get there".

Lamy said both she and the students became so uncomfortable they abruptly ended the outing.

On Friday, the MFA released its findings regarding four specific allegations of racism, announcing that it had served "no-trespass, cease-and-desist letters to two visitors who used offensive and inappropriate language when they came into contact with the students".

"We're in the process of rolling out some new training next month, so we're figuring out how to expedite that and maybe bolster it with more", Katie Getchell, the museum's deputy director, told local television station WBZ. I can not stress to you enough, I WILL NEVER GO BACK TO THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS. We deeply regret any interactions that led to this outcome and are committed to being a place where all people trust that they will feel safe and treated with respect, ' the letter continued.

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