Speaking of pygmies

When I hear the phrase 'celebrate diversity' I’m tempted to reach for my gun, because the few occasions when I’ve been forced to ‘celebrate diversity’ were not celebrations at all, but attempts at indoctrination. But things were not always so, as this description of an event held at the 1904 Saint Louis World’s Fair reminds us: 
Sept. 13, 1904: The Negritos won a fire-making competition against the Ainus of Japan and the African pygmies. The Negritos used friction between bamboo sticks to get a spark in 58 seconds. They had a fire going in less than two minutes. Anthropology Professor Frederick Starr said it was apparent that the Negritos were a more developed race.
Doesn’t that sound like fun? It saddens me that such a fascinating and educational competition that illustrates and celebrates real diversity is unthinkable today.


  1. There's still the Olympics, though the diversity-celebrating aspect is rather understated.


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