My conservative cousin from New York has more to report on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s effort to impose leftist cultural orthodoxy on the City. He writes:
Mayor Bill De Blasio appears to be coasting towards a second term. He faces only token opposition in the Democratic primary. Polls show him running better than 3 to 1 against his likely GOP opponent, a relatively unknown State Senator who represents Staten Island, a GOP outlier in generally Democratic New York City.
Emboldened by his strong poll numbers, the Mayor is sprouting his Marxist wings. Like a good 21st century leftist, De Blasio has given up on the dream of an imminent proletariat revolt. Instead, he seeks to achieve a Marxist state by burrowing through the institutions. Control of cultural institutions is a vital step towards revolution.
Disguising his ultimate goal, the Mayor is targeting NYC’s cultural institutions with veiled threats to cut public funding unless they become more inclusive and welcoming towards “communities of color.” He wants these museums to set meaningful goals in the makeup of their staffs and boards because “we believe in fairness.”
DiBlasio explains that minorities who make up 68% of the City’s population feel unwelcome at these institutions. They’re too far away from minority neighborhoods, unaffordable to the poor, and generally make people of color feel unwelcome. These charges are all bogus.
Fifth Avenue’s Museum mile with the Metropolitan, Guggenheim, and numerous other cultural jewels is a 20-minute walk from Harlem and 15 minute subway ride from the South Bronx. The Planetarium and Natural History Museum are similarly close to heavily minority neighborhoods.
Outside Manhattan, the Brooklyn Museum is in African-American Crown Heights and the Queens Museum is in Corona, a Mexican neighborhood. Clearly, logistics are no barrier to residents from these areas visiting world renowned cultural meccas.
As for expense, most of these museums take a progressive approach. At the Art & Natural History Museums, patrons are urged to pay less than the suggested price if they choose. I must confess to having exercised this option several times without anyone so much as raising an eyebrow. Also, I have seen many “people of color” do the same.
A list of the exhibits now on display at these museums belies the Mayor’s claim that these institutions are unwelcoming to minorities. The Metropolitan’s current showings include Cristóbal de Villalpando: Mexican Painter of the Baroque, Arms and Armor from the Islamic World, Show and Tell Stories in Chinese Painting, and American Indian Art.
In Brooklyn, visitors can see exhibitions on The Legacy of Lynching and Black Radical Woman. The Queens Museum of Art features Rony Queveda –no hoy medio tiempo and the works of Patty Chang a prominent Chinese-American painter.
It’s not the skin pigmentation but the artist’s fidelity to Marxism that concern DiBlasio. He’s already tipped his hand with his book reading program where he urges New Yorkers to select from a menu of radical fiction.
There’s a very powerful case to be made against the Mayor’s cultural initiative. Unfortunately the heads of our leading museums have surrendered with anodyne statements about how they support the Mayor’s goals. Perhaps if one of the museums would offer His Honor’s wife a stipend to read her Black Nationalist poetry, all of this would blow away.