Race: Power of an Illusion
Word Count: 822
“Race” is not in our genes however judging an individual based on their appearance is deeply rooted in our thoughts and actions. The film Race: Power of an Illusion examines the fact that different “races” of the human species don’t actually exist and are purely a construct of the human mind invigorated by society based on the color of a person’s skin. In this essay I will discuss the impact of “race” on education and society, and reflect these issues on my experience as an educator. In the film, Race: Power of an Illusion, students were asked who they thought their DNA would most be related to. Students chose classmates who had a similar skin color to their own and people who lived in regions of their ancestors. These students were very surprised when the results of their experiments were returned and they discovered they were very closely related to all humans. Students were also shocked to learn “race” was only skin deep. Beneath the skin, humans are one of the most closely related species. The narrator of the film then states the research of geneticist that discovered that 85% of all genetic deviations can be found within any local population, regardless of where they are from. The student’s assumptions in this film are an accurate representation of most members of our current populace. The belief that there are actually genetic differences based on someone’s race is very common. In fact this belief has been prevalent for such a significant amount of time that it even inspired scholarly attempts to prove it. The film discusses an 1896 study by Frederick Hoffman; Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro. In this study Hoffman concluded that African Americans are so genetically different from other races that they would soon become extinct. Other studies and scientific literature of the 19th and 20th centuries also attempted to support this belief in order to provide a...
Cited: California Newsreel, Ford Foundation Productions, Race: Power of an Illusion
Frederick Hoffman; Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro, from the film Race: Power of an Illusion
Nieto, Sonia, and Bode, Patty. (2012). Affirming diversity: The Sociopolitical Context of Multicultural Education. 6th Ed. Boston, MA: Pearson.
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