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Latino Daily News

Monday May 16, 2011

Congressman on Ethnic Museums in D.C.: That’s Not What America is All About

Congressman on Ethnic Museums in D.C.: That’s Not What America is All About

Photo: Washington National Mall in D.C.

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Currently, a Native American museum sits on Washington’s National Mall, with an African-American museum expected to open in 2015, as well as a museum dedicated to Latinos. But one controversial congressman believes that additional ethnic museums will not be financially successful, and says they will break up the “American story into separate narratives based upon specific ethnicities.”

At an Appropriations Committee hearing, Democratic congressman Jim Moran said, “Every indigenous immigrant community, particularly those brought here enslaved, have a story to tell and it should be told and part of our history. The problem is that much as we would like to think that all Americans are going to go to the African American Museum,  I’m afraid it’s not going to happen.” The Virginia Rep added, “The Museum of American History is where all the white folks are going to go, and the American Indian Museum is where Indians are going to feel at home. And African Americans are going to go to their own museum. And Latinos are going to go their own museum. And that’s not what America is all about.”

Rep. Moran added that aside from overcrowding the National Mall, additional malls would put financial burden on Congress.

“It’s a matter of how we depict the American story and where do we stop?” said Moran. “The next one will probably be Asian Americans,” said Moran. “The next, God help us, will probably be Irish Americans.”

Rep. Jose Serrano (D- Puerto Rico) disagreed with Moran saying that Smithsonian should include American history told through the eyes of a number of cultures.

“This generation has been called on to remedy a lot of stuff that happened in the past,” Serrano said. “We have to take care of it.”