The Chicago Art Institute has fired all its museum guides because too many of them were young, rich, white women.
News has broken that the venerable museum fired all its guides — who are called docents — because they were all whites. The reason it has taken this long for the news to come out is because the museum told its fired employees not to talk about the situation.
Per the Wall Street Journal:
In museum-speak, a docent is a trained volunteer who greets visitors and guides them through the collection, filling in details of the artists’ lives, speaking to the visual elements of the work on display and adding art-history context. The Art Institute used to have more than 100 docents, 82 of them active, until Veronica Stein, an executive director of learning and engagement, sent a Sept. 3 email canning all of them. In gratitude for their long, unpaid service—averaging 15 years each—the Art Institute offered the involuntarily retired guides a two-year free pass to the museum.take our poll - story continues below
The apparent problem was that the Art Institute docents were mostly older white women of above-average financial means and with plenty of time on their hands. The institute needs to go to a more professional model, Ms. Stein explained, “in a way that allows community members of all income levels to participate, responds to issues of class and income equity, and does not require financial flexibility.”
A blistering Sept. 27 editorial in the Chicago Tribune criticized the Art Institute’s actions as shameful and done in a “weaselly” way. It was one of the few mentions of the story in Chicago-area media. In reply, Robert Levy, chairman of the Art Institute, defended the decision of his “professional staff” to dismiss the amateur volunteers. Though the docents were given no warning before being fired, Mr. Levy insisted that the plan had been in the works for 12 years: “Critical self-reflection and participatory, recuperative action is required if we are to remain relevant to the changing audiences seeking connection to art.”
On of the people the paper spoke to was a black docent who was upset over the whole situation.
One would think that this is perfect grounds for a lawsuit. Of course, you can bet nearly all these fired women are leftists and suffer from so much white guilt that they will probably be alright with the job loss.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.