Race and The Power of an Illusion Essay Sample

Race – The Power of Illusion is a three portion docudrama about the beginning of the term “race” and some single positions on how race is determined. The first episode ; The Difference Between Us. explores the biological constructs of race and whether or non one’s race or lineage can be determined by their mDNA or mitochondrial makeup. Based on the surveies by the trial group of pupils at Cold Spring Harbor Labs. the hunt for DNA similarities or differences among those physically identified as being portion of a peculiar race did non bring forth the expected consequences. The thought that race is determined by biological features was thought to blossom the enigma behind some racial athletic abilities. disease and wellness tendencies. and other abilities. Unfortunately with the testing. the connexion has non been able to be made. Geneticists have non been able to group “races” by their Deoxyribonucleic acid. but instead proven merely how assorted everyone really is.

Paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould mentions how people are most ever defined by their outer visual aspect which in most times is misdirecting or merely a partial account of their makeup. He gives the illustration of Roy Campanella and Tiger Woods who are viewed as black. nevertheless besides carry an equal per centum of another race non easy seeable. Along with the physical semblance of so called races and the journey to turn out the biological traits there was the thought that the biological traits may besides formalize the stereotypes among groups and warrant lower status or high quality. One theory believed in behaviours being derived from simple Mendelian cistrons ; a individual takes on the traits of their female parent and male parent by taking one cistron from each parent. Under this theory eugenics was promoted. maintaining cultural pureness and back uping race murder by non blending races between female parent and male parent.

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The 2nd episode ; The Story We Tell explores the history of race and the societal influences in finding one’s race and position. Thomas Jefferson who was a slave proprietor himself contributed the words “…all work forces are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence. nevertheless this was so far from the truth by the actions of the early Americans. America began with a societal category system automatically puting Whites above dissimilar civilizations. chiefly 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 proprietor established a position of power versus entry or existent equality. As some Native American folks were considered “whites with bronzed skin” . were able to absorb into the white dominant group and go slightly recognized. inkinesss were identified with bondage and considered a “different” people.

Because this system and position of people was established early on in America. it became the norm for fledglings and immigrants to automatically be placed on the racial ladder based on outward visual aspect. Not all Native Americans fit easy into the American theoretical account of credence and at some point even those who may hold passed as white at one clip ( Cherokee ) were shortly robbed of their land and civilization and placed at an inferior degree to the white Americans. The movie besides brings to illume the accent around the early world’s carnivals and their focal point of exhibiting the lower status of minority civilizations with their shows of bondage times and Native American wars.

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The 3rd and concluding episode of this three portion series ; The House We Live In. goes on to discourse the outer visual aspects of persons and how physical qualities contribute to set uping “race” . This series has gone through the biological theories of race and individuality. the historical category based theory of race constitution and eventually the piece that everyone can’t aid but rely upon is the physical being. What one sees with his eyes may non be race entirely harmonizing to Sociologist Melvin Oliver. but how people react. policies created. and actions based on the outer features is what creates race. Blacks at one clip were controlled by Jim Crowe Torahs. merely leting usage of certain topographic points. separate entrywaies. and lower category installations being justified with “separate but equal” Torahs. If your tegument was darker. your nose a small wider. and your hair a little more class or curly. you were treated different and bound by policies and segregation Torahs.

Outward visual aspect allowed some inkinesss to really go through for white in some topographic points. As immigrants from many other states began to come to the United States. they had to be classified by outward visual aspect every bit good and in several instances denied the ability to go American citizens during a clip when merely Blacks and Whites could go citizens. Where did that leave Asians. Mexicans. and Native Americans? The Europeans that migrated to the United States. even though their linguistic communications were dissimilar. had a much easier clip intermixing in to the so called “melting pot” of a state. Housing and occupations have been below the belt divided among Whites and minority cultural groups based on their outward visual aspect which subsequently served as the evidences for the Fair Housing Act and Affirmative Action. These were efforts to supply that “equal” feeling across the board. nevertheless societal inequalities still exist along with single feelings from one group to the following. Economists have reported another degree of part to the inequalities in lodging based on feelings and personal perceptual experiences and that is the handiness of place loans and belongings values in certain countries.

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Minorities may non be able to easy obtain loans and/or belongings in higher valued belongings countries because of their income or wealth which has been said to be on mean 50 per centum less than the wealth of Whites. Peoples are born with the physical features and biological features which they can non alter. They besides can non alter the American history and the to a great extent stereotyped society that has already been established. As Sociologist Dalton Conley says. “…until we recognize that there is truly no manner to speak about equality of chance without speaking about equality of status so we are stuck with this of self-contradictory thought of a colorblind society in a society that is wholly unequal by color” .


Race-The Power of an Illusion. 2003 California Newsreel. 5 Dec. 2006

Episode 1- The Difference Between Us Episode 2- The Story We Tell Episode 3- The House We Live In