History 15/01/20 “Human zoos”: why do Europeans put people in cages for animals

Curiosity is one of those qualities, which traditionally earn the representatives of show business. Now the role of human zoos in some measure performed various reality shows, and before the era of the television to watch other people could be on special exhibitions. In addition to circuses with bearded women, dwarfs and Siamese twins, in Europe in the late XIX — early XX century enjoyed great popularity so-called ethnographic exhibition. It was possible to see the indigenous people of other continents.

Racist overtones

to satisfy your curiosity and learn how to look and live people on the other continent, it is sufficient to find the desired station. But before that specially caught the natives in the jungle, the Prairie or the expanses of the Savannah. Some of the living exhibits were slaves, others were paid for participation in such entertainment shows.

From December 2011 to June 2012 in Paris the exhibition Inventing the Savage (“Inventing the savage”), which told about the evil practice of human zoos, which were clearly racist overtones. Journalist Hugh Schofield filmed the opening of this exhibition for BBC News, called: “Human zoos: when real people were exhibits”.

According to the organizers Inventing the Savage, about 1 million 400 thousand inhabitants of Berlin, London, Paris and other European cities visited human zoos. These mass entertainment greatly contributed to the development of racism, because the venerable Germans, French or British literally instills the idea of savagery and underdevelopment of Africans, Indians or Asians. Often in these ethnographic exhibits of people exposed close to the monkeys, emphasizing their similarities.

Such a contemptuous attitude towards members of other races kuwas litvinovas Europeans consciously. The ideology of racial superiority helped justify the brutal colonial policies that European powers exercised in America, Africa, Australia and Asia.

Sometimes the curious audience were improvised villages, where black people in exotic outfits danced ritual dances, played scenes of fighting or hunting. The last such an ethnographic exhibition, which was presented to the Congolese village together with inhabitants was held in Brussels at the international exhibition EXPO-1958. Former player of team France Lilian Thuram after visiting the exhibition Inventing the Savage said to BBC News: “This information allows people to understand why in society there are still stereotypes based on skin colour”.

Saarti Bartman

extraordinary people always cause an increased interest. Suffice it to recall the unfortunate dwarfs and midgets, forced to serve as jesters in the courts of European kings. Often, these stories are real people, torn from his usual environment for one reason or another.

for Example, a resident of South Africa by the name of Sarti Bartman (Sarah Baartman — according to another version), born circa 1790, was kidnapped by the British. Before this she worked as a maid in the house of some of the Boer (Dutch) family members who are in Cape town. And in 1810 it was put up for public display in London.

Saarti Bartman was steatopygia genetic feature associated with increased deposition of fat on the thighs and buttocks. Women with such prominent bulges are real beauties in the tribes of Bushmen, Hottentots and the Zulus. They attract the attention of men, including Europeans.

the South Africa later moved from London to Paris, where it was carefully studied by local anthropologists. These scientists believed Saarti Bartman representative of a certain transitional form between apes and modern humans. They even gave the woman scientific nametion “Venus Hottentot”. And in the catalog of ethnographic exhibitions were told that this exhibit “buttocks of the mandrill”.

And even after his death, which happened in 1815, Saarti Bartman not left alone. Until recently, her skeleton was exhibited the Museum of man (Paris). Now the remains of the unfortunate interred at home. This was written by the journalist, Lucille Devi, in the article “Sarah Baartman finally resting”. The personal tragedy of yuzhnoafrikansky affected by elevated curiosity for European men is just one small episode in the history of human zoos.

OTA Benga

Publicist Andrei Mikhailovich Burovskii in his book “the Burden of white. Extraordinary racism” was called the most striking example of discrimination against people by the color of their skin contents the representatives of the “primitive races” in zoos. But this practice was a reality until 1935 in Basel and until 1936 in Turin. It is known that popular in Germany of the exhibition of people banned personally by Adolf Hitler after coming to power.

M. A. Burovskii described the tragic fate of the Congolese pygmy named OTA Benga (1883-1916 about gg.). His entire family was killed by the Belgians, who colonized Central Africa. In 1904, the diminutive black man has exhibited at the world exhibition in St. Louis, and since 1906 he was kept in the Bronx zoo (new York).

American scientists believed pygmies are very primitive, placing them in an evolutionary hierarchy below the highest Africans. Some time, OTA Benga spent in the same cage with the orangutan, exposed to constant ridicule of the audience.

to confirm the thesis that the undersized black people are the intermediate link between apes and man, the anthropologists have made illiterate Congolese, bad understanding of the English language, pass a standard IQ test. And then in the official report it was written that the pygmies on the level of intelligence is comparable to “retarded people who spend to test a huge number time and make a lot of stupid mistakes.” And although blacks priests rescued the unfortunate, achieving his release from the cage in the Bronx Zoo, realizing the hopelessness of their situation, OTA Benga shot himself with a revolver.

there were many

In the early twentieth century, zoos 15 European cities showed indigenous Africans. Their physical and mental state nobody cared. For example, in Hamburg from 1908 to 1912 died 27 live exhibits. It is noteworthy that along with animals, black people were kept in the zoo of Warsaw, but Poland was then part of the Russian Empire.

However, not only Africans were subjected to such discrimination. This fate has not escaped the Indians, the Polynesians, the Greenlanders, the Indians of different tribes, the inhabitants of exotic Islands and the Saami (Lapps) the indigenous people of Northern Europe.

the author of the book “burden of the white. Extraordinary racism” mentions the Baltic States, which in 20-e years of the twentieth century against their will, kept in the ethnographic exhibition, located on the territory of East Prussia. These people were forced to cast the ritual scenes in front of Germans and tourists from other countries, fulfilling the role of the “ancient Prussians”. As a result of such events in the public’s mind created the image of the savage, which must be joined to the culture, and at the same time and you can seize the natural resources of other countries, because “primitive people” still do not understand.

Origanum Tanatarova

© Russian Seven

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