The Critic Magazine

Memoirs of a Microaggressor

TO UNDERSTAND OUr current moment, start with public apologies. Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, surely thought he was on safe ground when he came out in favour of delaying a Philip Guston exhibition because it included depictions of the Ku Klux Klan. Walker’s language, however, was unforgivably retrograde: he said that showing the paintings would be “tone deaf” during a moment of racial unrest. To the uninitiated, the argument was debatable, but Walker’s language was inoffensive. To those steeped in the culture of social justice, on the other hand, the case for delaying the show was self-evident, but the real issue was Walker’s use of ableist language.

The entire ritual — a slight so minor that most missed it, “outrage” seeming only to exist on social media, an elaborate public

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