Apparently China is high-key tripping this week. First WeChat, the country’s most popular chat app, had to apologize after its software translated “black foreigner” to the word “nigger.” Now it seems a museum in China is only just realizing that it’s a bad idea to juxtapose images of wild African animals with black people.
According to the New York Times, the Hubei Provincial Museum in Wuhan has removed a section of the “This Is Africa” exhibit that included side-by-side photographs of black people and animals showing similar expressions after complaints that the display was racist.
It really shouldn’t have taken complaints for anyone to realize that this was an awful comparison to make. Video from the exhibit showed a picture of a young black boy with his mouth wide open next to an image of a chimpanzee that also had its mouth open wide. Another photo showed a black man and a lion baring their teeth. Yet another showed a close-up of a black man and a baboon with pensive expressions.
The Times reports that the pictures were all made by photographer Yu Huiping and were removed after Africans—including students living in China—complained about the display, the exhibit’s curator acknowledged.
This kind of ignorant racism is not unusual for China (or Asia overall, for that matter). There is, as was mentioned earlier, the WeChat blunder from earlier this week. Just last year, a commercial for Qiaobi laundry detergent, in which an ad for the brand showed a black man being “washed” and turned into a light-skinned Asian man, caused a scandal.
We still have a long way to go when it comes to anti-blackness, not only in the U.S. but across the globe, and if this week’s review of China is anything to go by, we’re still trudging along uphill with no end in sight.
But just in case you needed a refresher:
- Don’t compare black people to animals.
- Don’t use the word “nigger”—or any variation thereof—if you’re not black (I said what I said).
- Don’t “wash” black people white (I’m looking at you, too, Dove).
- Hire black people and then actually listen to them so that you can avoid this bullshit as much as possible.
Read more at the New York Times.