Putting humans on display _ Paris museum asks why

November 28, 2011 - 9:10 AM
France Human Zoos

Former French international football player Lilian Thuram, answers reporter during an interview with the Associated Press, on the eve of the opening of a a new exhibition at the Quai Branly museum in Paris, Monday Nov. 28, 2011. Until less than a century ago, white people regularly put Africans, native Americans or Pacific islanders on display in circuses, expositions and shows. A new Paris exhibit, curated by former football star and anti-racism advocate Lilian Thuram, examines how this demeaning colonial-era tradition shaped attitudes that still linger today.(AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere)

PARIS (AP) — For centuries, white people regularly put Africans, native Americans, islanders or the disabled on display. A new Paris exhibit examines how this demeaning colonial tradition shaped discriminatory attitudes that linger today.

Curator Lilian Thuram, former football star and now anti-racism advocate, says in an AP interview that the exhibit made him reflect on his own prejudices about "the other." And he hopes it does the same for visitors to the Quai Branly Museum.

The exhibit, which opens Tuesday, is at times a queasy experience. It includes the projected silhouette of the buttocks of the so-called Hottentot Venus, and film of chained, unidentified tribal dancers performing in Paris to a white man's shouted instructions.