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  • Hubert Marlin

" Exhibit B" When Art Serves Racism


My God, they became fools! Or they are nolonger afraid of anything as theenvironment is deleterious; corruption of souls is now reaching its peak, without even being noticedby some. What do we want the public to believe? That a white South African who is not racist, had the bright idea to make a work of art that is a human zoo where animals on stage are only black people, is not an implied and explicit act of racism in its most abject form? Exhibit B remains widely printed in the logic of colonial exhibitions and Sara Baartman Show, or the Venus Hottentot; born in the Cape in 1789 in South Africa this black woman with rounded shapes was put on show naked everywhere in Europe, sold like a common prostitute merchandise and taxidermised afterher death occurred in 1815 in the world called civilized Sara Baartman returned in the land of her ancestors only 187 years later after the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa. Everyone knows what means the white South Africa, with its odious history of apartheid that despite the fact that it was legally abolished was not abolished in the thinking of the majority of white South –Africans, in 20 years one cannot radically change the behavior of a society where racism has been in force for more than four centuries. Racism is not finished on the contrary it has integrated by a sneaky way in the current life, using subtle stratagems, it camouflages and mutates so that it can take the form of a work Art. Even if one has to admit that a work of art can shock, art is a means of expression, like a mouth that can be used for uttering racial slurs. Guerlain the famed French perfumer did it so well a few years ago spreading a foul whiff of racism during a televised interview.

Let’s get it straight once for good, if someone wanted to show a human zoo, if slightly we accepted the idea that mammals of the human race are animals,why only race is presented in its simplest form in this show of hatred? nudity of black actors in a supposed cold climate implies a sexist objectification of the black race. If this work symbolizes the struggle against racism as some seem to proclaim why should you represent and seed hatred to combat it. Furthermore where isthe point of showing hatred without showing those responsible for these acts of hatred namely the colonists or the white enslavers?

ExhibitB is without doubt an ode to the good old days of slavery and colonies. The metaphor of the claim that blacks are animals, so inferior to humanity, even if still some animals can claim to have more intelligence than humans doubled with athletic and sensory qualities,there lays anotherdebate.

Anywaythis exhibition takes us back to the days of the first fruits of slavery, when philosophers of lights and the Catholic Church were discussing the humanity of the black race, "blacks are too black to have souls and slavery could only bring them the divine light "- some proclaimed in these times. These antics were not necessarily seen as racism at the time, especially as this venom spewed against a race came from the gray eminences of the kingdom of France. Petty rantings of a great philosopher who unfortunately did not know that blacks were human beings in their own right and more over the earliest modern humans, had the flavor of sugar that would lead to the forced labor of millions of people to produce the exquisite crystal that had furnished the tables of the European aristocracy, which Mr. François Marie Arouet, alias Voltaire , was among them. The hidden history of slavery acknowledges the French philosopher as a shareholder in the odious trade. So he knew what he was gaining from the campaign of hatred against black. Today more than ever one must be skeptical about the motives of racism with the time evolving and mass education done in a more sustained basis , it is difficult to believe that some still have doubt in the humanity of the black race , to support such aberrations especially with the advances in science we now know that the Africans have never been monkeys, to be in zoos. The evolution of the theory is false regarding Africans, while we know as of today that, to become modern has the African, the white man who is a direct descendant of the Neanderthal hominid owes its humanity to the mix with the black race, and the mutation of its species to the Homo sapiens. The Homo Africanus was already modern with a denser social life when the humanoid called homo Neanderthalis was still in the cave. Racism is supported perversely by capitalist speculation. As before, if it wasn’t for the established principle that said that blacks were subhuman, there would never have been slavery , and benefits for enslavers in the new world. Aristocrats and enslavers ofyesterday are the oligarchs of today. And today the interest of racist acts around the world should have a more clinical analysis. A good part whites who are far from aristocrats and oligarchs are simply followers of the racist ideology that benefits the white elite, and are often wrongly accused for a crime of racism they have not planned but often supported tacitly, who utter no word ,agrees some will say.

In addition to better understand this paradigm one must observes the global geopolitics. Westerners have largely reached the point of satiety in socio-economic development, and according to the Cartesian laws, they can only fall back and be dominated by new forces that will drive them to make concessions, and through this survival battle, the old world Western is trying somehow to survive a death which is inexorable. The unpunished murders of blacks in the United States by the police and Exhibit B exposition , help to show to the eyes of the globe that the racist capitalist world still has plumb, but for how long? In the current configuration of the world any attempt to survive of the old world by the old tactics of denigration of others and of social Darwinism will increasingly be doomed to failure largely due to the freer flow of knowledge and the information and because of the unpopularity of these delaying tactics in blacks and whites communities as well. Slavery was successful because of the carelessness and chronic illiteracy of the European and African populations in the past centuries. However it is also important to stress that this exhibition put light on the daily realities of a racialist society where exclusion, racism and social Darwinism (written or unwritten rules that are imposed on a group of individuals to prevent socio-economic development) are perpetually a daily menu. Also the black actors who agree to play such roles are only the direct result of the lack of employment for black in the racialist structure of the art world, few would see a black actor who makes his living comfortably accept this ignominy, and the misery of others has never been so well exploited.

The second direct consequence of this exhibition is that it proves irrefutably that the Western society remains fundamentally racist, if racism is selling so well is it because it has an audience that supports it. Exhibit B is Sara Baartman show revised and corrected it must emphasized , let’s remember also that t not that long ago the colonial exhibition which featured negroes from Africa and Caribbean was only stopped in 1958 with the independence of the peoples of Africa looming. Therefore it is clear that as of today for the contempt of westerners against black to stops it is time for the latter to work for their economic and moral independence. The task that once seemed almost impossible, seems much easier nowadays with the facilities of access to information and knowledge, especially that in front the opponent is losing the reason the wise man said, "When God wants to lose someone, the first thing that is taken away is the reason. "This exhibition is pure madness of a decadent grandeur of the West.

By Hubert Marlin Elingui Jr. journalist Writer

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