Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Cultural Divide

In Chicago, "Diversity lacking in crowds at large museums." And blah, blah, blah. The museums -- operating in their liberal-guilt mode -- are shouldering the blame for low attendance by minorities:

At the Museum of Science and Industry, officials already have a name for the phenomenon -- "the Glenview effect,'' after the largely white suburb that represents its highest single ZIP code attendance, said Valerie Waller, the museum's vice president of marketing.

"We see it on the floor -- our audience is not as diverse as what we see in the city of Chicago or the surrounding area,'' said Waller.

Speaking Wednesday at the Cultural Center, where the study was unveiled, Waller said, "The number of people not engaged in our institutions, with all the variety of programming and opportunities we have for them, is shocking.''

Waller wondered if minorities and the poor aren't aware of the institutions or not interested. "Is price a factor? Many of our institutions were free 15 years ago,'' she said. "Is it the hours we're open? [Are people] overscheduled with soccer practices and everything else?''

The real culprit -- which dare not speak its name -- is the bias within minority cultures against "acting white."

(Thanks to Tongue Tied for the pointer to the article about attendance at Chicago's museums.)