People across the country are being fired or rejected by employers for not belonging to the more desirable demographic groups. Few of these stories are more infuriating than that of the Art Institute of Chicago, which has just fired its entire docent corps for being too white. This shockingly counterproductive move appears to have been motivated by little more than the racial prejudices of one of the museum’s new executives.
Unpaid volunteers fired for being too white
The Art Institute of Chicago has made what a rational person would know to be an incredibly stupid decision in almost every way.
These docents were unpaid volunteers, mostly retirees who are very knowledgeable and passionate about the art displayed by the museum.
Few people know the Art Institute better than these docents, who have all devoted years of their lives to teaching others what they have learned about art. They do this purely because they love art and they are enthusiastic about teaching the public to share that love.
Most of the docents have, despite efforts to recruit from other demographics, turned out to be white. Not much enthusiasm for Rembrandt and Delacroix in Chicago’s West Side it seems.
Now the museum will be hiring paid guides to replace the fired docents. These replacements will be both significantly less passionate and knowledgeable about the art and they will cost the museum money. They will, however, be suitably diverse.
Veronica Stein, a new director of learning and engagement at the AIC, apparently made the decision to fire the docents en masse for being too white.
Art museum not too interested in art these days
It doesn’t take much speculation to come to the conclusion that Stein and the rest of the Art Institute of Chicago’s leadership isn’t too concerned about art.
If art and education were the priority then they would have chosen to take advantage of the fact that they had an eager and experienced supply of people who did not want to be paid for their time.
Instead the AIC will spend money on inferior guides. Money which could have acquired or conserved more art will instead be spent on lower quality guides for visitors.
The fired docents are yet another batch of white people punished for little more than being white. Because this is taking place at the second largest art museum in the United States the entire country will suffer from this purge.
Anyone who finds themselves at the AIC wishing to know a little more about Beata Beatrix, American Gothic, or, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte will now be out of luck, as the people who could tell them what they wish to know have been fired.
People like Veronica Stein exist to leech as much joy and beauty as they possibly can out of the world and replace it with a monotonous, gray, unremarkable (but diverse!) future devoid of genuine passion and excitement. Mission accomplished at the AIC.