By Kate Haysen | The Washington PostIn the early morning hours of April 1, 2014, Michael Johnson found himself with a dilemma: he wanted to work in a museum and could not afford to pay $30,000 for a six-month contract.

The 36-year-old from North Dakota had applied for a position with the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, but had been told that the museum would not hire a black man.

“I’m white, so what is this place for?”

Johnson said.

“I was just looking for the best opportunity.”

After months of searching, Johnson finally landed a six week contract that included $30 an hour plus benefits, including a stipend for food and transportation.

But it was the first time Johnson had been asked to wear a turban in public.

His first step was to find a suitable religious affiliation.

“At first, I was thinking, I’m white,” Johnson said, “but then I found out that they were also hiring people from a Muslim community.”

Johnson had been attending a Muslim religious retreat in Wisconsin and was excited to learn that his new job would be a place to pray.

He contacted the museum’s human resources department and requested that he be put on a list of qualified applicants.

He was then offered a spot that would pay $90 an hour.

The day before the hiring, Johnson, who was Muslim, had been invited to a religious ceremony at the Smithsonian that was attended by several hundred people, including President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, first lady Michelle Obama and others.

“When I came in, I saw that I wasn’t the only one who was interested,” Johnson, a native of Nebraska, said.

“It was a big moment for me.”

Johnson and his friends began to learn about the museum, which had just opened its doors in late 2014, and its diverse diversity.

“They were welcoming, very inclusive,” Johnson recalled.

“The day of the ceremony, it was so exciting,” he said.

Johnson said he had heard about the Smithsonian’s commitment to diversity for years and he hoped to be able to work there someday.

But he had not been able to find out why the Smithsonian didn’t hire a woman in her position.

“All I know is that I didn’t get a job.

I was looking for something else,” he told The Washington and Lee Morning News.

Johnson’s experience, combined with that of hundreds of other applicants, created a backlash on social media.

“This is not a good time to be hiring,” the Washington Post editorial board wrote in a blog post.

“People should be looking for jobs that match their talents and qualifications,” the editorial board said.

For some, the backlash was an opportunity to speak out.

“We can do better,” a woman on Twitter, identified as Ms. Zayna, wrote.

“We can be more inclusive of diverse cultures, not just black and brown people.”

Another person wrote, “The National Museum is an opportunity for diversity.

This is not the time for discrimination.”

The Smithsonian said it was “committed to promoting inclusion, inclusion and diversity at all levels of our work, and we welcome diverse candidates to join us.”

It said it would “continue to review the experience” of any applicants who were “unable to participate” because of the “discriminatory nature” of their previous job application.

“While we are disappointed by the negative response we have received to this opportunity, the National Museum does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other protected characteristic,” the museum said in a statement.

“Our goal is to hire the best and brightest.

Diversity is the foundation of our diverse workforce.

We want everyone to be treated with respect, and every opportunity to apply for employment at the National Center is one that we actively seek to hire.”

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