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MOMA, New York. Photo: MOMA

New York: Mayor to cut subsidies for ‘too white’ museums

A study commissioned by the Big Apple's mayor, Bill de Blasio, prompted him to ask the city's cultural institutions to take steps to encourage more racial diversity within the city. In essence, the city's museums are too white, he believes.

Published: August 3, 2019, 8:58 am

    New York

    According to the New York Times, in the racial representation at cultural institutions in New York there are not enough people from ethnic minorities included. Two-thirds of New Yorkers are not white, while two-thirds of the people who run its cultural institutions are.

    The study was commissioned by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, showing that white people are overrepresented in cultural institutions (museums, theaters, zoos, botanical gardens, etc.) of the city.

    Those who do not benefit from the funds allocated by the city, are under-represented. As a result, the city demands a plan to correct the latter state of affairs, reported the New York Times.

    The study was conducted by Southern Methodist University (Southern Methodist University) and funded by Deutsche Bank. It revealed that white women represent 65 percent of employees and the disabled 8 percent, more than the norm, according to the American newspaper.

    In contrast, only 11 percent of art workers are Hispanic and 10 percent black, although they represent 29 percent and 22 percent of the total New York population, respectively.

    The municipality therefore has threatened the institutions with less aid allocated to them if they do not correct this differential. The city, however, did not set any scale or quota, and neither is there a deadline.

    ” We’re really careful to show that we do not encourage quotas, but rather practices that diversify the workforce,” said Tom Finkelpearl, the commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

    Several of the bodies concerned have already announced that they have taken action. All cultural institutions, including museums and performing arts centers, said they will be drawing up plans to make their staff and board members less white.

    The study, conducted from August to October of 2018, included a look at the racial representation at the Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    “This is what our city looks like, and this is what we should look like,” said Shanta Thake, the senior director of artistic programs at the Public Theater. She said no more than 50 percent of the staff will be white by 2023. At the moment almost 60 percent are white.

    But because no organisation was forced to divulge real demographics, there may be more whites employed than the figures suggest.

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