Monday, January 23, 2006

Race, The Power of an Illusion

An advert for Australian television viewers: tonight ABC TV screens Race, The Power of an Illusion and - based entirely on the blurb - it sounds interesting.
What if we suddenly discovered that our most basic assumption about race - for instance, that the world's people can be divided biologically along racial lines - was false? And if race is a biological "myth," where did the idea come from? How do our institutions give race social meaning and power by advantaging white people?
I remember a sociology lecturer once saying there was as much genetic variation within so-called "races" as there was between them, that it would be as valid to talk about the race of People With Red Hair as it would be to discuss any other race. Race is not genetic, in other words. We make it.

Big topic. Interesting implications. The potential for new knowledge to set the world awobble, etc. That's got to be good, yeah?


I was about to write a report, but found this instead, the PBS's "online companion" to the documentary.