We are all members of the great family of humankind, but each of us is unique, heir to our history but also author of our own life. Our physical appearance, our cultural practices, our religious beliefs, our geographical origins and our position in society are all characteristics – just points on an infinite spectrum – that differentiate us from one another.

Our identity therefore comprises many different components, and we should all be free to highlight whichever ones we choose. However, certain historical, social or political contexts have defined certain traits as differences, and used these to imprison individuals in readymade representations and to divide them into categories. The resulting stereotypes and prejudice, whether conscious or unconscious, tend to favour people like us at the risk of discriminating against everyone who isn’t. And as soon as these “differences” are organized into a hierarchy and essentialized, is alive and thrives...

The first part of the exhibition invites us to discover how identity and alterity are forged, and understand the processes of categorization, hierarchization and essentialization that partake in the production of “everyday” racism.

Nous et les autres - De la catégorisation à l'essentialisation
Nous et les autres - De la catégorisation à l'essentialisation, by © MNHN - JC Domenech