EXHIBITION | Mercato Coperto, Giubiasco

What is racism? Why does it exist? Are we all racist?


In a society that is increasingly complex and in motion, it is important to think about the relationship each of us has with those we deem to be "the other." While creating categories among the individuals around us is a natural and normal process that helps us find ourselves among all the living beings around us, on the other hand, establishing a hierarchy based on these categories can be the starting point of an act of discrimination. With its first panels, the exhibition "Us and the Others" therefore stimulates conscious reflection on these processes, starting with defining what racism is and what distinguishes it from other related terms, such as prejudice or stereotype, while also touching on the theme of identity.



In order to understand racism as a current phenomenon, the exhibition invites the audience to take a step back and trace its history, which originated in Europe during the era of colonialism. Despite not having a colonial empire, Switzerland was actually largely implicated in these processes as well: from plantation overseers and missionaries during the slave trade era, to the presence of human zoos in Switzerland's largest cities, there are several ways in which the federal government contributed to reinforcing stereotypes that still persist today. The exhibition also offers insights into much more recent cases, such as the often concealed affair of discrimination against Yenish children. As in many other areas, science has always gone hand in hand with history in providing justifications for the acts of racism committed. The exhibition therefore closes this chapter by emphasizing how in the 1970s it was finally officially proven and recognized that there are no races in the human species.



In the last part of the exhibition, large space is given to the current Swiss context. It starts with showing some statistical data, which is useful to understand how racism is present and has an influence on various aspects of daily life, such as finding a job or housing. This is followed by an in-depth look at Swiss legislation on discrimination, which provides a better understanding of the current legal framework. With its final panels, "Us and Others" also touches on the topic of combating discrimination and racism, providing insights and suggestions on what has been done and what can be done to increase awareness of this issue.

The exhibition, consisting of 16 thematic panels, is present in Ticino at the initiative of the DI's Service for the Integration of Foreigners, in collaboration with the School Division and the Professional Training Division of DECS. The exhibition was conceived by the Musée national d'Histoire naturelle (Paris, France) - home of the Musée de l'Homme - and later adapted into its traveling version by the Service de la cohésion multiculturelle and the Forum Tous différents - Tous égaux in Neuchâtel.



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