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Race: The Power of an Illusion - Essay Example

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Introduction The purpose of this essay is to critically examine the documentary Race: The Power of an Illusion. The three-part educational series…
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Race: The Power of an Illusion
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Race: The Power of an Illusion

Download file to see previous pages... Moreover, the biological arguments concerning the validity of race will be outlined. Furthermore, it will be explained how the film impacted my personal perspective on race.
Brief Summary As outlined, the movie is divided into three chapters: The Difference Between Us, The Story We Tell and The House We Live In. Chapter One investigates the concept of race from a scientific point of view and concludes that race is not biological, but a social construct. In the first chapter, a group of students is portrayed. They compare their own DNA to their fellow students and find out that their DNA cannot be classified according to their different “races”. Race is a biological myth that assumes that simple external differences rooted in biology are linked to other more complex internal differences, such as athletic abilities. However, genetics is telling us that there are no genetic markers that define race. As a matter of fact, genetically we are among the most similar species, compared to other species. Furthermore, genes that are common in some populations, such as skin color, do not represent race, but ancestry.
Chapter Two illustrates how the idea of race is a recent creation, which was created to portray social inequalities in the U.S. as natural. Race served as a powerful tool to justify slavery and the ill-treatment of Native Americans. The historian James Horton argues that inventing race was the only way that the founding fathers of America could justify slavery and promote liberty, freedom and democracy at the same time. By the same logic, Thomas Jefferson could justify being a slave owner. As a consequence, the idea of “race” became commonly accepted by white Americans in the mid-19th century to explain social inequalities that were beneficial to them.
Chapter Three demonstrates how ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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