What is race? Well, in America, race is a powerful social idea that gives people different access to opportunities and resources. Our government and society have created advantages to being white, which affects everyone, whether we are aware of it or not.

Here are some other little-known facts about the construct of race:

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?  “Race” is a modern idea. Ancient societies did not divide people according to physical differences but instead according to religion, status, class or language.

?  Race has no genetic basis. Not one characteristic, trait or gene distinguishes all members of one so-called “race” from all members of another.

?  Slavery predates race: Throughout history, societies have enslaved others, often as a result of conquest or war, but not because of physical characteristics or a belief in natural inferiority. In America, a unique set of circumstances led to enslavement of peoples who looked similar.

?  Race is a social construct. When the United States was founded, equality was a radical new idea. But our early economy was based largely on slavery. The concept of race was an easy way to justify why some people could be denied the rights and freedoms that others took for granted.

?  As the race concept evolved, racial practices were eventually institutionalized within government, laws and society. It justified the extermination of Native Americans; the exclusion of Asian immigrants; and the taking of Mexican lands.


On Monday, March 28, join The Brooklyn Historical Society for the first in a series of screenings and discussions of the thought-provoking PBS series Race: The Power of An Illusion, which uses science, history, and more to dispel the many myths and misconceptions surrounding the concept of race.

Post-screening discussion will be led by Erica Chito-Childs, author, CUNY sociology professor and leading researcher on issues of race.

WHAT: Screening and Discussion of Race: The Power of an Illusion, Episode 1

WHEN: Monday, March 28, 2016; Doors open at 6pm; Event begins at 6:30pm – 9:00pm.

WHERE: The Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont St, Bklyn

HOW MUCH: Free. RSVP for your seat here.

WHAT ELSE: Please note that seating is first come, first served.

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