Human Zoos

Human Zoos

2018, Society  -   14 Comments
Ratings: 7.72/10 from 36 users.

The missing link was unveiled to the public during the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. The scientific community devised a "human zoo" consisting of thousands of indigenous people who had been imported from remote regions in Africa. Darwin's influential theories on evolution had been published less than a half a century before, and many legitimate media outlets and professional scientists viewed this display as a groundbreaking extension of his work. These Africans were studied and exploited as members of the lowest rung on the evolutionary ladder - a link between the monkey and the fully developed human species. Human Zoos explores this shameful and largely forgotten chapter of racist history.

One of the earliest proponents of this twisted science was esteemed anthropologist William McGee. He propelled the notion that the black race was the closest relative of the apes, a theory that was widely embraced by his colleagues. In fact, McGee's theories were drawn from his deeply embedded prejudices against the African American and the Jewish populations. Under the protective umbrella of respectable science, he nurtured a campaign of unspeakable dehumanization.

Two years after the St. Louis exhibit, nearly a quarter of a million visitors bore witness to a similar display at the Bronx Zoo. Only the religious community stood in protest and protested the abuses suffered by these human beings.

In addition to Pygmies from the African Congo, the community also imported natives from Japan, South America and the Philippines. One large sector of the scientific community placed these subjects to a series of tests to measure their intelligence, physical features and pain thresholds. Others studied the brains of the subjects who had deceased.

The film memorably explores how even the most admired and dependable fields of science were burnished by such blind hatred and discrimination.

Human Zoos presents an astounding piece of history that has fallen under the radar. The film argues that the legacy of that history is far from a distant memory. Modern-day political movements promote a perverted view of Darwinism in order to deepen divides and promote their cause of white supremacy.

Directed by: John G. West

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14 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Susan

    it was the way they acted is why they got their reputation. Same as today, I want I want, give me give me, more more more, you owe you owe you owe, free free free. What else would a person think.

  2. Moo lee yom

    Amy lee.. The US is the greatest country. Name another where there is a better way of life? If you find one, let me know. I may take my family & move there.

    1. Robert

      Finland, Denmark, Sweden... everyone has healthcare, most people are happier, there's much less poverty and there's real opportunity to succeed.

    2. Stuart Hales

      Haha, are you having laugh ?!

    3. Rui Goncalves

      lolol you should review your readings, USA is only considered a developed country because of the army, otherwise is like a 3rd world country, health care? education? racism? crime? what else you need? any country in europe is way better than USA, but wait!! stay where you are, rednecks we dont want here!

  3. Jean Michel

    Such ideas, of course, coupled with the absolutely intense antisemitism occurring in Nazi Germany, caused such horrors, such as tying together a jewish woman's legs when they're about to give birth, thus killing her and her baby(ies), is what happens when hate subsumes love, and loving-kindness, to our fellow man ( and women )

  4. Max

    Anyone that spouts racism, from any racial perspective, is divisive and seeks no harmony for their own prejudice bias. This film is enlightening and should be shown in schools...forever. Eugenicists should be, perhaps, sterilized and turned to streets to see how well these epitomes of evolution can survive.
    Great film.

  5. Devil Travels

    So some extent, society has evolved as has science.
    We can only hope that trend will continue such that future societies will look at the early 21st century as foolishly primitive ideas.

  6. Alv Vatzdal

    This is horrible, and it can be seen clearly how Social-Darwinism was the delusion that allowed the dehumanizing and inhuman thought-patterns that allowed Nazi-Germany to kill 10 million people in death-camps, in order to "purify" the "Aryan race".

  7. Rui Goncalves

    why rate this doc so low USA is the scum of the planet, and is a fact they think other races are inferior when in fact they are the ones lower level, the average stupidity over there is something!

    1. asdf

      USA is not a race. Educate yourself before spouting ignorance around the net.

    2. Moo lee Yom

      Rui... you clearly don’t own & original thoughts. You spout nonsense someone told you or from some 3rd rate site. US has our problems, but the US is the greatest country

    3. AmYLeE

      @Moo lee Yom.....that comment is just HILARIOUS!! 🤣 HOW (and why) EXACTLY are WE, theUSA, the "greatest country"!?!? 🤣 (btw, American here)
      How can one be the "greatest" when they are awful at health care (can't even survive a virus over here), affordable education (which is a good enough argument in itself), Womens Rights; and TOP in the rise of far-right extremists/inland terrorists, homophobia, bigotry, hate, ignorance, mass murders (I COULD go on....and on.....and on).....then, on top of it ALL, having the shittiest&most embarrassing perverted ***hole POS as "president" that has yet been seen 👏 Wow....THAT sounds SO GREAT 🙄😆

    4. Moo lee yom

      You don’t appear to know what your talking. All you’re doing is repeating what other ignorant people are saying. Plus you have a def prejudice to the US.