» Exhibition "Us and Them – From Prejudice to Racism"
31.03.2017 - Social and Human Sciences Sector

Exhibition "Us and Them – From Prejudice to Racism"

© UNESCO / P. van Vucht Tijssen

Organized under the patronage of UNESCO, the Musée de l'Homme in Paris launched its first major temporary exhibition since its reopening. The exhibition "Us and Them – From Prejudice to Racism", which runs from 31 March 2017 to 8 January 2018, showcases an original immersive scenography which aims to shed new light on racist behaviour and prejudices.

The exhibition was officially inaugurated by the Musée de l’Homme and UNESCO on 30 March, in the presence of Bruno David, President of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, and Nada Al-Nashif, Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences of UNESCO.

"Racism and discrimination start and persist with ignorance and fear of what is different. It is to fight against ignorance, to fight against fear and to celebrate our differences that UNESCO grants its patronage to this exhibition. It is by access to knowledge, science and knowledge of ourselves that we will reduce our prejudices, and that we will fight against racism." said Nada Al-Nashif on behalf of UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova.

How are prejudices constructed? What is the reality of "races" from a genetic point of view? What are the arguments against the supporters of a division of humanity into "races"? Why have States come to institutionalize racism against specific categories of individuals? These are snapshots of questions raised during the exhibition which analyzes the roots of this social phenomenon.

All humankind is equal in rights by the laws of the Republic. Genetics show us that human "races" have no scientific legitimacy. And yet, racist behaviour persists, prejudices resist.

At the crossroads of anthropology, biology, sociology and history, the exhibition is backed by experts’ research undertaken in the fields of social and human sciences. Devoid of any moralizing tone or judgment, it offers a journey that deciphers the reasons for racist and discriminatory behaviour during different moments of history. It also provides keys to understanding the personal reflection to deconstruct prejudices. The public is invited to examine the individual and collective mechanisms that lead to the reject of “the others” and to raise awareness on modern-day discriminations.

As echoed by Bruno David, this exhibition gives the visitor the feeling of being a different person upon leaving the museum.

The exhibition also features UNESCO’s International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities – ICCAR as a robust platform for combating racism and discrimination, and promoting inclusion and diversity in societies.

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