Race: The Power of an Illusion
|Race: The Power of an Illusion|
|Directed by||Christine Herbes-Sommers|
|Produced by||California Newsreel|
Race: The Power of an Illusion was a three-part series that was produced by California Newsreel and investigated race in society, science and history. The educational documentary originally screened on PBS and was primarily funded by CPD, the Ford Foundation and PBS.
The division of people into distinct categories—"white", "black", "yellow", "red" peoples—has become so widely accepted and so deeply rooted in our psyches, that most people would not think to question its veracity. This three-hour documentary tackles the theory of race by subverting the idea of race as biology, tracing the idea back to its origin in the 19th century.
- Chapter One - The Difference Between Us
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.
- Chapter Two - The Story We Tell
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."
- Chapter Three - The House We Live In
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.
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- Race: The Reality of Human Difference - the book disputes the statements given in the series.