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Sickening: Darwinian Racism Alive and Well in California

John G. West
Photo credit: Tony Webster from San Francisco, California, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons.

Yesterday in Los Angeles, California, black gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder was threatened by a mob on a campaign stop. According to Elder, “my security detail was physically assaulted, shot with a pellet gun and hit with projectiles.”

What stood out to me in the altercation was that one member of the mob — apparently a white woman who threw an egg at Elder — was wearing a gorilla mask.

Now why would she do that? 

As we’ve discussed before, the vile trope that blacks are somehow closer to apes than other races has deep roots in Darwinian biology and social theory. Charles Darwin himself made the argument in The Descent of Man. You can find more about the history of this dehumanizing and racist idea by watching my documentary Human Zoos.

The blacks-as-apes trope is used by some on the right and left alike. In 2018, we called out actress Roseanne Barr’s loathsome comparison of Obama Administration official Valerie Jarrett to an ape.

Now we call out a progressive white activist in California who is trying to stigmatize a conservative black man as an ape.

Whether coming from the alt right or the loony left, these comparisons are vile and have no place in our society. Alas, they show just how entrenched some remnants of Darwinian racism are in our culture. 

John G. West

Senior Fellow, Managing Director, and Vice President of Discovery Institute
Dr. John G. West is Vice President of the Seattle-based Discovery Institute and Managing Director of the Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Political Science and Geography at Seattle Pacific University, West is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker who has written or edited 12 books, including Darwin Day in America: How Our Politics and Culture Have Been Dehumanized in the Name of Science, The Magician’s Twin: C. S. Lewis on Science, Scientism, and Society, and Walt Disney and Live Action: The Disney Studio’s Live-Action Features of the 1950s and 60s. His documentary films include Fire-Maker, Revolutionary, The War on Humans, and (most recently) Human Zoos. West holds a PhD in Government from Claremont Graduate University, and he has been interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Fox News, Reuters, Time magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post.

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apesblacksCaliforniaDarwinian racismevolutiongorilla maskgovernorHuman ZoosLarry ElderLos AngelesObama AdministrationPoliticsprogressiveRacismRoseanne BarrThe Descent of ManValerie Jarrettwhites