A Washington Post article this week highlighted the prejudices experienced by zookeepers of color.
The feature story, published Monday, emphasized the “unicorn status” of non-white zookeepers and how they are “misunderstood within their profession and their culture.”
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) October 19, 2021
Two black zookeepers recounted being mistaken for janitors and otherwise feeling stereotyped because of their race.
- “I have never experienced, myself, direct, overt racism,” said Craig Saffoe, the curator of large carnivores at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in D.C. “I had a lot of White people helping me, pushing me along.”
- “But, according to the article, Saffoe recently “realized all the times he felt alone, when he was not taken seriously and mistaken for a janitor.”
A menagerie of Twitter commentators responded to the article with skepticism.
- “Wait so zookeeping is roughly as white as the overall US adult population? That’s the story here?” asked Matthew Yglesias, a progressive cofounder of Vox, referring to the article’s claim that the zoopkeeping field is about 74 percent white, much like America.
- “Zookeeping isn’t common in any community,” noted Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire.
- “What does race have to do with zookeeping?” wondered Leonydus Johnson, a black conservative commentator. “What is wrong with you?”
Axios reported in August: “A national reckoning has drawn attention to the discrimination some people of color face during a run in the mountains or a walk on a trail. The outdoors can be deadly due to bigotry, not just wildlife, lurking in the woods.”
A reckoning has drawn attention to the discrimination people of color face during a run in the mountains or a walk on a trail. But groups like @LatinoOutdoors @OutdoorAfro are helping make safe (and fun) the outdoors for people of color https://t.co/eSgOWxOFTa
— Russell Contreras (@RussContreras) August 22, 2021