The Crucial Arts Monthly Documentary Film Series presents Race: The Power Of An Illusion — The Story We Tell, a film written, produced and directed by Christine Herbes-Sommerst.
The division of the world’s peoples into distinct groups — “red,” “black,” “white” or “yellow” peoples — has became so deeply embedded in our psyches, so widely accepted, many would promptly dismiss as crazy any suggestion of its falsity. Yet, that’s exactly what this provocative, 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. It looks at several scientific discoveries that illustrate why humans cannot be subdivided into races and how there isn’t a single characteristic, trait – or even one gene – that can be used to distinguish all members of one race from all members of another.
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.
The Story We Tell explores the roots of the ‘race’ concept, including the 19th century science that justified it and how it gained such a hold over our minds. Ancient people stigmatized “others” based on language, custom and religion, but not physical differences. Ironically, it wasn’t until slavery was challenged on moral grounds that early prejudices – emboldened by the need to defend slavery in a nation that professed a deep belief in freedom – crystallized info a full blown ideology of white superiority. By the mid-19th century, race had become the “commonsense” wisdom of white America, explaining everything from individual behavior to the fate of societies. The Story We Tell reveals how social inequalities came to be disguised as “natural”.
Date/Time: Friday, June 18, 2010 @ 7PM
Location: Casa Frela Gallery, 47 W. 119th Street (Between Lenox and 5th Avenues)
Ticket Donation: $10.00 (Includes light refreshments). To purchase tickets, click here.
NOTE: For detailed info on the film and additional info, click here.