African American History Museum Publishes Graphic Linking ‘Rational Linear Thinking,’ ‘Nuclear Family’ to White Culture

·2 min read

The National Museum of African American History and Culture has published a graphic on its website that suggests concepts such as “rational linear thinking,” the “nuclear family,” and an emphasis on “hard work” are specific to “white culture.”

The article, titled “Talking About Race,” delves into white privilege and “the way that white people, their customs, culture, and beliefs operate as the standard by which all other groups” are “compared.”

“Whiteness and the normalization of white racial identity throughout America’s history have created a culture where nonwhite persons are seen as inferior or abnormal,” the article reads.

The accompanying graphic describes “white culture” as adopting certain aspects and assumptions, such a “work before play” attitude and the belief that “hard work is the key to success.” The “nuclear family,” described as a mother, father, and 2.3 children, is the “ideal social unit” embraced by white culture, the graphic says.

White culture also emphasizes respect for authority, delayed gratification, self-reliance, independence and autonomy, the value of property rights and ownership, progress, planning for the future, politeness, and decision-making, according to the graphic.

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The graphic cites data from a 1990 paper by Judith H. Katz titled, “Some Aspects and Assumptions of White Culture in the United States.”

Since 2007, Katz has worked as an advisor for a nonprofit organization called Net Impact, which says it partners with some of the country’s most powerful companies, including ExxonMobil, 3M, McDonalds, the Coca-Cola Company, Starbucks, Microsoft, the Walt Disney Company, Bank of America, Monsanto, and Nestlé Waters North America.

The company also partners with the U.S. National Park Service, which the group listed as having contributed more than $100,000 to the organization during fiscal year 2013.

Net Impact focuses on promoting “equity and inclusion” and “working across sectors for a more just and sustainable world,” and runs chapters across the globe on university campuses, in cities, and in companies.

“We believe in the power of the business sector to drive social and environmental change, and we welcome a variety of companies to partner with us,” Net Impact says on its website.

The National Museum of African American History & Culture did not respond immediately to a request for comment on whether it stands by the assertions made in the graphic.

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