Q: What exactly is a “black & white zoo”?
A: Our zoo features only animals that display the colors black and/or white. So, only birds with black/white feathers—such as penguins—and mammals with black/white hides—such as zebras—or fur—such as koalas, pandas, and skunks.
Q: Other than the five animals you just named, are there any others in the zoo.
A: There are some others, yes.
Q: Isn’t this zoo racist? This seems pretty racist.
A: Of course not! Choosing to have only animals with some combination of black and white colorings is just an artistic choice, a way to make our zoo different from other zoos.
Q: But you’re discriminating on the basis of color, and that’s illegal.
A: Only the colors of the animals in the zoo are considered, not the colors—or any other characteristic, for that matter—of patrons. All are welcome at the Black & White Zoo!
Q: Sure. If you’re human. Do the black animals and the white animals have separate facilities?
A: In the first place, besides the black bears and the polar bears, all of the other animals at the Black & White Zoo are each both black and white. That said, the black bears and the polar bears do have separate facilities, yes.
Q: A ha! There you go! You keep the black and white bears separate. How is that not racist?
A: Black bears and polar bears are kept separate in every zoo in the world, because they’re not the same animal. They have different needs. Black bears live in woodlands with thick vegetation. Polar bears live in the Arctic Circle. Each bear is provided for as is appropriate for its species.
Q: Oh, I see. So the bears are kept separate, but are given equal treatment.
Q: “Separate... facilities are inherently unequal.” That’s what the Supreme Court of the United States wrote in Brown v. Board of Education! And I believe the plaintiff was, in fact, a brown bear.
A: He was no such thing. Oliver Brown was a welder and an assistant pastor in his local church. He sued on behalf of his daughter, Linda, a third grader who had to walk six blocks from the Brown home to her school bus stop to ride to her segregated elementary school a mile away, while there was a white school just seven blocks from her house. Brown v. Board of Education is about people, not animals, and does not apply to the Black & White Zoo.
Q: So your zoo is above the law, then?
A: That’s not what we’re saying at all, no—
Q: Attica! Attica!
A: Stop that! And that’s not even a question.
Q: What are the hours of the Black & White Zoo?
A: I... I’m not sure— Are you really asking?
Q: Yes. If I want to bring my daughter to your zoo, to show her the black, white, or black and white animals, on what days can I visit, and at what times?
A: The Zoo is open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Zoo is closed Sundays.
Q: And when the zoo is closed, the animals are released?
A: What? No. The animals are never released. The animals live at the Zoo and are cared for by Zoo staff all the time, even when the Zoo is not open to the public.
Q: So the animals are your prisoners? They are incarcerated?
A: Not... not exactly. It’s a zoo! A zoo has animals. The animals are the zoo’s guests, let’s say.
Q: Guests are free to leave. Are the animals of the Black & White Zoo free to leave?
Q: Will my daughter and I be allowed to leave if we visit the Black & White Zoo, or will we become your prisoners as well?
A: All visitors to the Black & White Zoo are free to leave the Zoo at any time, of course.
Q: How many animals can each visitor to the Zoo take upon leaving?
A: None! You don’t get to take any animals with you. You just visit the zoo and see the animals while you’re here, then you leave—when you want to—and you can buy souvenirs in the gift shop on your way out.
Q: Do you sell any animals in the gift shop.
A: The Black & White Zoo Gift Shop sells a variety of stuffed animals.
Q: Were the stuffed animals once “guests” of the zoo? Were they killed when they tried to escape?
A: They’re toys! They were never alive! They’re made in a factory!
Q: Are they made in an American factory, overseen by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and in compliance with all federal, state, and local laws enacted and regulations adopted to improve workplace conditions?
A: No comment.
Matthew David Brozik wrote this and many other short humor pieces, which have been published in print and online by The New Yorker, Adult Swim, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Grin & Tonic, The Big Jewel, and no one.