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Posted under: News Race & Identity

Chinese Museum Pulls Exhibit Comparing Africans To Animals After African Backlash

This was NOT "Africa."

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We just reported on a popular Chinese social media app referring to black people using the n-word. Now, The New York Times reports that an art museum in China is putting a bit of anti-black sentiment out into the world, too.

During a recent holiday in China, Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan opened a photography exhibit called "This Is Africa" that compared African people to wild African animals.

Photo: GIPHY
Photo: GIPHY

And the comparisons were direct. Photos of African citizens were framed alongside photos of animals making similar facial expressions.

Some the side-by-side comparisons included: a little African boy with his mouth open next to a yawning ape, a man gnashing his teeth next to a lion doing the same and a man next to a baboon.

All of the pictures were taken by photographer Yu Huiping, who had visited Africa over 20 times. 


Yu reportedly did not pair his pictures this way; that was done by the museum's curator, Wang Yeujun, who didn't think his decision was racist.

“The target of the exhibition is mainly a Chinese audience,” Wang said. The curator added that Chinese people use animal/human comparisons as compliments, using the example of how Chinese people identify with the Chinese zodiac animals that represent the years of their births.

“In Chinese proverbs, animals are always used for admiration and compliment,” Wang added.

African, especially African students in China, weren't buying Wang's reasoning.

Nigerian Edward Duke asked the museum, why it “put pictures of a particular race next to wild animals.”

Although China has ethnic minorities, the Times believes that becoming Africa's largest trading partner has put a new spotlight on race in the country. 

Nodding to this relationship, Wang said that once he began receiving complaints from Africans, he made the decision to pull the show in order to “show respect for our African friends’ opinions.”

He also expressed regret that “putting the photos of African tribespeople and animals together hurt the feelings of the African tribespeople.”

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