‘We’re not looking to be punitive,” Tom Finkelpearl, New York’s commissioner of cultural affairs, told The New York Times in 2015 regarding the city’s decision to survey local arts and cultural institutions about the diversity of their boards and staffs. “The administration is committed to diversity as a general goal,” he explained reassuringly.

Well, so much for that. Last week the de Blasio administration announced that any city government funding for these institutions would actually be tied to their diversity.

Let this be a lesson, then, if you instinctively dismiss as paranoid concerns about the government collecting information without a clear purpose. While there’s no formula for exactly how much money will be redirected, Mayor de Blasio explained that the fact that only 26 percent of senior staff members at cultural organizations are people of color is a problem that needs immediate attention.

The mayor has a tendency to use the city’s cultural institutions for his own political purposes. See, for instance, his January staging of a fraudulent photo exhibit of New York past and present at the Brooklyn Museum to show how his administration has made the city safer. But rarely does he actually visit these institutions or highlight their impressive work the way his predecessor did.

And now he’s at it again. He never explains why it matters that the senior staffs of such organizations are majority white. The exhibits themselves don’t have a diversity problem. Take the Metropolitan Museum, one of the older and presumably whiter institutions in the city. Its current exhibitions include American Indian Art, Japanese Bamboo Art, Asian Art at 100, Collecting the Arts of Mexico, Arms and Armor from the Islamic World and PS Art 2017: Celebrating the Creative Spirit of New York City Kids.

The city’s goal, in part, seems to be reaching a broader audience, and officials want to increase funding for smaller neighborhood institutions rather than giving all the money to the usual suspects. According to CreateNYC, the cultural plan the mayor’s office released, higher-income New Yorkers are 20 percent more likely to participate in cultural institutions than lower income ones.

So what? They’re also more likely to visit the gym, but apparently the mayor hasn’t decided to pay for a New York Sports Club in Bed-Stuy. Yet.

The report also cites the fact that three quarters of city residents wish they could participate more often. But museums’ affordability and staff racial diversity aren’t what’s keeping them away. It doesn’t cost any more to visit the Brooklyn Museum than it does to go to the movies. Were there not enough New Yorkers able to afford a ticket to Wonder Woman?

Unfortunately, New York City isn’t alone in trying to collect such information. GuideStar, the charity evaluator that recently tried to attach a “hate group” label to various conservative nonprofits, also recently launched an effort to collect diversity data. And a number of larger philanthropies have supported such efforts. The Ford Foundation actually provided much of the funding for the CreateNYC plan.

But these, at least, are private entities. There is nothing compelling nonprofits to provide Ford or Guidestar with such information.

That’s not true for the city. “Any moment for equality and inclusion doesn’t come easily,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “There are people who will resist, who will resent, who will obstruct,” in what sounds like a veiled threat against those who don’t like the plan.

Still, there may be some hope. Ten years ago, the California legislature debated a bill that would’ve required the state’s private foundations to report publicly to the percentage of their dollars given to “minority-led” organizations and the percentage of their boards and staffs made up by racial and ethnic minorities. Even progressive foundations balked at this infringement on their autonomy and privacy. The bill was ultimately dropped, and not another peep has been made about it since.

The mayor might face a similar dynamic with some of the most powerful and well-established (albeit left-leaning) arts and cultural leaders in the city. In making his announcement, de Blasio told reporters: “We’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got more work to do.” To which these leaders might reply: What do you mean “we”?

Naomi Schaefer Riley is a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.