Posted on July 21, 2004

Getty Apologizes for Docent-Related Incident

Cynthia Daniels, L. A. Times, Jul. 20

Getty Center officials apologized Monday for an incident in which a volunteer tour guide at the art museum last month rubbed two black students’ heads and, in a discussion about textures, described their hair as rough.

Parents and teachers said the students, who were on a field trip to the Brentwood center, thought that they were being ridiculed and that the docent was invoking racial stereotypes.

Referring to the incident as “unfortunate and unintentional,” Getty officials pledged to provide more sensitivity training for staff.

“She started talking about smooth and rough textures and she grabbed the head of one of my black boy students and rubbed his head and said ‘This is rough,’ “ Shakir said. “The kids were in shock. It was like she had just ripped out their spirits.”

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