“Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism”

By Erin Telesford

“Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism”

How the Erasure of History Affects a Society

“Human Zoos: America’s Forgotten History of Scientific Racism” is a documentary investigating the shocking exploitation of Darwinism as a means of justifying racism. The growth of scientific and evolutionary discovery in the 1850s led to the belief that a specific group of Africans was the so-called “missing link” between apes and humans. Due to the racist connections between the body shape of Africans Pygmies, a group of tribal ethnicities who tend to have short stature, scientists formed theories
proposing anthropological typologies that support the idea of people of color represent racial inferiority while white people are the superior race.

This award-winning documentary is written and directed by John G. West, a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington, who also serves as Vice President for public policy and legal affairs at its Center for Science and Culture. Included in this documentary is Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Pamela Newkirk, Catholic University of America philosopher Jay Richards, Nigerian scholar Olufemi Oluniyi, and California State University historian Richard Weikart who explains that, “eugenicists believe people of non-white races are a drag on the human race…” These eugenicists justified their propositions for racial discrimination and racial extermination in the name of Darwinian evolution.

“Some things should never be forgotten because things that are forgotten have a way of coming back,” West expresses in his documentary which provides information relating to the, mostly hidden and locked away, history of the imported indigenous peoples from around the world that were put on public display. The American Museum of Natural History and the Bronx Zoo hope to keep this history private and forgotten, just as the scientific community wishes to keep eugenics, and the now debunked theories that arose from it, away from common knowledge.

This is proved to be a terrible mistake on the part of these officials as West explains the return of public belief in eugenics as a justification for racism in the form of white terrorism and hate groups like the alt- right organization. “One reason we should remember the sins of the past is to help us avoid making the same mistakes again.”

This documentary is “A racially charged story that will mesmerize you….,” according to the Oregon Documentary Film Festival. It holds awards for Best Editing by the Oregon Documentary Film Festival, Best In Show by the Cinema WorldFest Awards in Toronto, Award of Excellence by the Impact Docs Awards, and Award of Excellence by the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards.

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