White Woman Sues Diversity Program for ‘Discrimination’

Samantha Niemann

*Well here’s a real switch-a-roo for ya. Black folk are accustomed to being pushed out of the running for jobs, education, and whatever else based solely on the fact that they are not white. But whites rarely…make that never, face the same because they are not black.

Until now.

At least this has been alleged by Samantha Niemann, an undergraduate at Southern Utah University, who is suing the Getty Foundation for discrimination, claiming they wrongfully barred her from an internship program because it aims to increase diversity in the arts.

Niemann filed the lawsuit last Friday in Los Angeles’ Superior Court.

In it she accuses the Foundation of “harassment, discrimination, and retaliation” because they failed to hire or consider her for an internship.

 According to a description of the program, “The internship positions are intended specifically for students who are members of groups traditionally underrepresented in the staffs of museums and visual arts organizations…”those of African-American, Asian, Latino/Hispanic, Native American, and Pacific Islander descent.”

The reality facing this underrepresented group has not been exaggerated. In fact,  analysis of 2012 U.S. census data found that nearly four out of five people who make a living from art are white. Arts administration jobs also skew overwhelmingly white.

A National Endowment for the Arts study of cultural institutions found that “91 percent of board members were white, 4 percent were African-American or black, 2 percent were Hispanic, and 3 percent were in the ‘Other’ category.”

Still, all of this is lost on Niemann, who insists she qualifies based on her  3.7 GPA from Southern Utah college.

But “despite Plaintiff’s qualifications, Plaintiff was not hired and excluded from consideration,” Niemann’s lawsuit reads, adding that the Getty Foundation and its staffers “harassed, discriminated, and retaliated against Plaintiff due to and substantially motivated by Plaintiff’s race/national origin.”

Outside of Getty’s decision to not hire the woman, there is no evidence of “harassment.”

The Daily Beast reports, The Multicultural Internships, available at a number of arts centers in Los Angeles, offer a $4,500 stipend for students enrolled in the 10-week program. Niemann is seeking damages “including, but not limited to loss of earnings and future earning capacity, medical and related expenses for care and procedures both now and in the future, attorney’s fees, and other pecuniary loss not presently ascertained.”

Niemann also seeks a stiff penalty under California’s anti-discrimination code, which could require offending parties to pay her $25,000 each for every damage she allegedly suffered. The fee could pay nearly six interns’ stipends.

The Getty stands firmly behind its program and issued this statement.


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