Race And The Power Of An Illusion 3 Part Video Review

1079 words - 4 pages

POS 357Topics in Cultural Diversity Race-The Power of Illusion Prof. Weeks PAGE 2
Race - The Power of Illusion is a three part documentary about the origin of the term "race" and some individual views on how race is determined. The first episode; The Difference Between Us, explores the biological concepts of race and whether or not one's race or ancestry can be determined by their mDNA or mitochondrial make-up. Based on the studies by the test group of students at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, the search for DNA similarities or differences among those physically identified as being part of a particular race did not produce the expected results. The idea that race is determined by biological characteristics was thought to unfold the mystery behind some racial athletic abilities, disease and health trends, and other abilities. Unfortunately with the testing, the connection has not been able to be made. Geneticists have not been able to group "races" by their DNA, but rather proven just how mixed everyone actually is. Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould mentions how people are most always defined by their outer appearance which in most times is misleading or only a partial explanation of their make-up. He gives the example of Roy Campanella and Tiger Woods who are viewed as black, however also carry an equal percentage of another race not easily visible. Along with the physical illusion of so called races and the journey to prove the biological traits there was the idea that the biological traits may also validate the stereotypes among groups and justify inferiority or superiority. One theory believed in behaviors being derived from simple Mendelian genes; a person takes on the traits of their mother and father by taking one gene from each parent. Under this theory eugenics was promoted, keeping ethnic purity and supporting genocide by not mixing races between mother and father.The second episode; The Story We Tell explores the history of race and the social influences in determining one's race and status. Thomas Jefferson who was a slave owner himself contributed the words "…all men are created equal" in the Declaration of Independence, however this was so far from the truth by the actions of the early Americans. America began with a social class system automatically placing whites above dissimilar cultures, mainly the Native Americans whose land they took over, and the Blacks who they brought over from Africa to work as slaves. The original foundation of the white slave owner established a view of power versus submission or real equality. As some Native American tribes were considered "whites with tanned skin", were able to assimilate into the white dominant group and become somewhat accepted, blacks were identified with slavery and considered a "different" people. Because this system and view of people was established early on in America, it became the norm for newcomers and immigrants to automatically be placed on the racial ladder based on...

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