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Bronx Zoo operator apologizes for racist showing African in 1906



The operator of the venerable Bronx Zoo, one of the most famous wildlife parks in the world, apologized for two “incomprehensible” episodes of racism, including the 1906 Submission of Africans to an exhibition at a monkey house.

The Wildlife Society, which operates the Bronx Zoo in New York, among three other zoos and aquariums, announced this week that we need to face the historic role of our organization for equality, transparency and accountability. promoting racial injustice “.

The public has indicated that it treats young Central African men from the Mbuti nation in the current Democratic Republic of Congo.

Ota Benga about 1
915.
Library of Congress through AP

“His name was Ota Benga,” the report said. Bronx Zoo officials “demonstrated Ota Beng at the Zoo’s Monkey House for a few days during the week of September 8, 1906, until the outrage of local black ministers quickly put an end to the shameful event.”

One of those ministers, ed. James Gordon, “arranged for Ota Benga to stay at his orphanage in Weeksville, Brooklyn.” “He kidnapped his humanity and couldn’t return home,” Ota Benga died after a decade of suicide.

All known records of Ota Benga in the wildlife community are now available online as part of an effort to “publicly acknowledge the mistakes of our past”.

The organization, founded in 1895. Like the New York Zoological Society, it also condemned the “eugenics-based, pseudo-scientific racism, writings, and philosophies” developed by its two founders, Madison Grant and Henry Fairfield Osborn, Sr.

Grant wrote the infamous book of eugenics, The Past of the Great Races, with a preface to Osborne.

The book was presented as a defensive exhibit to Nazi physician Karl Brandt, director of the Third Reich’s euthanasia program, and other defendants in Nuremberg.

Brandt, who was also Adolf Hitler’s personal physician, in 1947. He was convicted in a war crimes tribunal and in 1948

The wildlife community, in its report, first reported to The New York Times, said it is committed to facing these episodes.

“We deeply regret that many people and generations have been injured as a result of these actions or because we have not been able to publicly condemn and condemn them in the past,” the statement said. “We recognize that open and systemic racism persists, and our institution must play a greater role in tackling it. As the U.S. tackles its legacy in the fight against black racism and the brutal killings that have sparked mass protests around the world, we reaffirm. a commitment to ensuring that social, racial and environmental justice are deeply rooted in our conservation mission. ”

The organization has also announced that it is hiring a diversity officer to help “ensure a diverse list of candidates for recruitment, promotion and planning, including our board and management”.

“Today, we are challenging ourselves to do better and never delve into nothingness and injustice everywhere,” the report said.


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