Premiering on PBS
RACE - The Power of an Illusion
The division of the world's peoples into distinct groups - "red," "black," "white" or "yellow" peoples - has became so deeply imbedded in our psyches, so widely accepted, many would promptly dismiss as crazy any suggestion of its falsity. Yet, that's exactly what this provocative, new three-hour series by California Newsreel claims. Race - The Power of an Illusion questions the very idea of race as biology, suggesting that a belief in race is no more sound than believing that the sun revolves around the earth.
Yet race still matters. Just because race doesn't exist in biology doesn't mean it isn't very real, helping shape life chances and opportunities.
EPISODE 1- The Difference Between Us (56 min.) examines the contemporary science - including genetics - that challenges our common sense assumptions that human beings can be bundled into three or four fundamentally different groups according to their physical traits.
EPISODE 2- The Story We Tell (56 min.) uncovers the roots of the race concept in North America, the 19th century science that legitimated it, and how it came to be held so fiercely in the western imagination. The episode is an eye-opening tale of how race served to rationalize, even justify, American social inequalities as "natural."
EPISODE 3- The House We Live In (56 min.) asks, If race is not biology, what is it? This episode uncovers how race resides not in nature but in politics, economics and culture. It reveals how our social institutions "make" race by disproportionately channeling resources, power, status and wealth to white people.
By asking, What is this thing called 'race'?, a question so basic it is rarely asked, Race - The Power of an Illusion helps set the terms that any further discussion of race must first take into account. Ideal for human biology, anthropology, sociology, American history, American studies, and cultural studies.
other discussions of race because it’s an argument…made
methodically and with evidence. That we are all “created equal” is both
superficially true as political rhetoric, deeply true as scientific
fact and manifestly ridiculous when one considers the financial, educational
and social inequities of our society.”
Major Funding: The Ford Foundation and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Diversity Fund.
Produced in association with The Independent Television Service (ITVS).
"By far the best
documentary series on race of the last decade."
look at why race is not biologically meaningful yet nonetheless very
real needs to be seen by all scientists and the general public."
"One of the most
honest and compelling documentary series I've ever seen on race and
its impact on this nation's culture and politics, as well as on the
economic status of nonwhite citizens."
of the most important, sweeping and groundbreaking documentaries in
"A powerful and
compelling portrait of our fundamental human connectedness. Shows
us how to look at the world differently, without the preconceptions
and prejudices that so often cloud our vision."
intelligent documentary. A timely reminder that social divisions are
made, not inevitable."
Easy to watch, even entertaining as it educates. You will not see race
the same way after watching the series.”