A Chinese Museum Was Forced to Pull This Racist Exhibit Comparing Africans to Animals

The Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhanin was forced to pull an exhibit that juxtaposed black subjects with wild animals.

A museum in China just gave new meaning to the phrase "exhibiting racism."

Brazen anti-blackness was on full display at the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhanin over the week, where a photography exhibit showed images of black people juxtaposed with photos of wild animals.

In the exhibit, called "This Is Africa" by Yu Huiping black subjects were placed side-by-side with images of chimpanzees, baboons, and lions. Their mouths and facial expressions were shown in comparison to that of the animals in which they were parallel to. In one piece, a young boy appears next to a chimpanzee, with his mouth agape as if to mimic the animal.

Yes, this was a real exhibit at a real museum.

The museum removed the exhibit this week after complaints from Africans about it's racially insensitive material began to arise. What is perhaps more worrying though, is that the organization thought it acceptable to display the collection in the first place. Apparently the glaring, unmistakable racism which the photos evoked was not clear enough for some to recognize before the fact.

Maybe the act was downright intentional. After all, discrimination against Africans in China has been well documented, and their have been a number of overt examples of this in Chinese media recently. While a number of excuses have been offered in order to downplay the issue: China is a highly homogenous society—blah, blah, blah—claiming "naiveté" in this case is laughable.

Given the amount of Chinese "foreign investment" on the continent, it's rather intriguing that folks seem perfectly capable of understanding the value of Africa's material wealth, but not its people. But, really, "there's nothing new under the sun"—colonialism included.

While I could spend all day ranting about the minimization of African personhood globally, I'll just let you see it for yourself.

Behold, "This Is Africa:"


Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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