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A year ago, the city of Philadelphia selected an artist to design a statue of Harriet Tubman that would stand in front of City Hall. However, the sculptor, Wesley Wofford, was unable to complete the statue. The city fired him shortly after his selection.
Philadelphia fired him for being white.
According to the New York Times, “incensed artists and community members argued that the city should have used a public selection process rather than awarding a commission, in part because the artist Philadelphia had selected was a white man.”
The critics demanded Philadelphia find a black sculptor instead, no matter their qualifications. The city ultimately acquiesced.
Philadelphia opened a call for submissions after firing the white man for his skin color. It then reviewed over 50 applications of only black artists. No white, Hispanic, or Asian sculptor was considered.
You’d think the black sculptors in contention to now design the Tubman statue would be ashamed, knowing they are only in the running because of their skin color.
But they aren’t.
Vinnie Bagwell, 65, is one of the five black semifinalists for the Tubman statue. And they are proud to see a white man lose his job over being white.
Bagwell said Philadelphia made the right choice because Tubman is “personal” to black people.
Artist Basil Watson also praised the decision to limit the applicants to only black artists.
“Some say that artists should have the freedom to pursue their vision on any subject regardless of their race or ethnicity, while others believe that identity and expression are inextricably linked and that art about Black people should only be created by someone who has shared their history,” added the Times.
Wesley Wofford, the fired white man, obviously disagreed, saying:
“Art is supposed to be a universal language that transcends gender, race and culture.”
Wofford’s firing cost him $500,000. That sum will now go to the eventual black artist the city selects. The cost of being a DEI causality, no doubt.
What the city exhibited here is an example of Excused Racism, which presumes that society must discriminate against white people to reach racial impartiality.
Excused Racism is often the result of those in charge caving to pressure. As it was here. The city of Philadelphia caved to the backlash. It discriminated against an artist to ease the outrage.
Philadelphia saw what happened in New Orleans earlier in the summer, when vulture-like protesters intimidated the Whitney Museum of American Art for appointing a white woman as its curator of African art.
Racial intimidation works.