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Lilian Thuram

November 29, 2011 by staff 

Lilian Thuram, It’s a queasy experience, viewing chained tribal dancers do a white man’s bidding, or African women stripped and photographed to feed European curiosity.

Until just a few generations ago, this is how most white people learned about those with skin of a different shade.

A new Paris exhibit examines how for centuries, colonisers plucked villagers from Africa, the Americas or the South Pacific and put them on display half a world away.

The demeaning tradition shaped racist attitudes that linger today.

Curator Lilian Thuram, a former soccer star and now anti-racism advocate, hopes the exhibit at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris makes people question deep-held beliefs about the “other”.

“You have to have the courage to say that each of us has prejudices, and these prejudices have a history,” he said.

Thuram is an ideal public face for this unusual exhibit. A pensive black man with a ready smile, he has suffered racist insults on and off the field.

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