Culture & Ethics Icon Culture & Ethics
Evolution Icon Evolution

On Chicago’s Ted Williams TV Talk Show, Human Zoos Sparks Discussion of Scientific Racism

David Klinghoffer

Human Zoos

Recently John West was on the Chicago TV program Change with Ted William III to talk about his documentary Human Zoos, which is out now on YouTube. Wow, this is very interesting.

Williams is chairman of the Social Science Department at Chicago’s Kennedy-King College. His other guest is a colleague in that department, Daniel Davis, who recognizes Human Zoos for “spreading the information” that “shockingly a lot of people don’t fully understand.” The nature of this conversation is, I think, a testament to the film’s power to stir fresh reflections. See it here:

They consider the “use and abuse” of science, the interest that led Dr. West to this subject in the first place, the question of whether Social Darwinism can be disentangled from the scientific theory of Darwinian evolution, the relationship between scientism and tyranny, Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts on racial inferiority, Christian resistance to such beliefs, Margaret Sanger and the Ku Klux Klan, race as a “biological myth,” and more. One takeaway is that, despite assurances to the contrary, modern evolutionary theory is not easily separated from malign currents in American history, currently exemplified by the Alt-right.

Dr. Davis offers a provocative view that long before Americans free ourselves from caustic racial stereotypes, poor whites and poor blacks will find themselves united by economics as they come to see themselves as equally exploited by a social and political elite. I wouldn’t deny that that is a possibility.

If you’ve already watched Human Zoos, you will recognize Dr. Williams for his role in a historical reenactment in the film. He leads a very thoughtful and wide-ranging discussion in just a half hour. Worth watching!