What could be more wholesome or innocent than a visit to the zoo? You may ask that now. However, little more than a century ago it was a quite a different state of affairs.
Join us on May 8, 7:30 pm at the Woodland Park Zoo, for the Seattle premiere of a new documentary, Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism. Written and directed by Discovery Institute Senior Fellow John West, the film has been raking in awards. It’s a “racially charged story that will mesmerize you,” raves the Oregon Documentary Film Festival: “You have to see it to believe it and then wonder why they didn’t teach you this chapter in history class.”
Yes, you do have to wonder about that. Maybe the reason is that the story of human beings displayed in United States zoos is another story of Darwinism and its poisonous cultural consequences:
Human Zoos tells the shocking story of how thousands of indigenous peoples were put on public display in America in the early decades of the twentieth century. Often touted as “missing links” between man and apes, these native peoples were harassed, demeaned, and jeered at. This award-winning documentary explores the heartbreaking story of what happened, shows how African American ministers and other people of faith tried to push back, and reveals how some people today are still drawing on Social Darwinism in order to dehumanize others.
The event is free, but to make sure your space is reserved, I strongly suggest that you register here now. You can view the new trailer on YouTube:
There will be a Q&A with Dr. West after the screening of the film, which includes interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winner Pamela Newkirk, who wrote the disturbing historical account, Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga, and historian Richard Weikart, author of From Darwin to Hitler and other books.
The new Human Zoos website includes educational resources, including about the background of eugenics and racial pseudoscience, and the cover up that has sought to hide this chapter in scientific, and American, history from public awareness.
If you can’t make it to Seattle, your other upcoming opportunity to see Human Zoos will be in South Africa, May 1 and 5, where it will have its premiere on that continent at the Africa World Documentary Film Festival.