Race/Related: Dr. David Pilgrim in The New York Times
“Everyone who walks in that door,” he told me when we met at the museum, “they’re not just coming to the objects. They’re bringing themselves and their racial luggage – and in some cases, baggage – to the objects.”
Dr. Pilgrim, who is multiracial but identifies as black, acknowledged that many people feel disgust, pain and outrage when they visit the museum or see these items. He said that’s understandable. Especially for African-Americans – especially now at a time of increased racial tension – the playful portrayals of racism and racist violence often conjure up horrific real-life experiences.
Still, Dr. Pilgrim said, the items have value because they force us to not only confront the ubiquity of racism – from government policy to kitchen tables – but also to talk about the many ways that’s experienced, or not experienced by some of us, often for many years or an entire lifetime..."