Film report : race the power of an illusion.

BEFORE Viewing the documentary, reflect on the following questions:

>  How would you define race? What does it mean to you?

>  How many races do you think there are? What are they? How do you decide which 

race someone belongs to? 

>  Look around the room or around your community. Who do you think is likely to be most similar to you, biologically or genetically? Why? 

>  Where do your ideas about race come from? What are the sources of your information? 

AFTER Watching the film, select FIVE questions from the following list for you to respond to.

At the beginning of the film, the students are asked to predict whom they will be most like when they compare their DNA samples. How did the results compare with your expectations? Did you share the students’ surprise? If so, why?

Anthropologist Alan Goodman says that “to understand why the idea of race is a biological myth requires a major paradigm shift.” Do you agree? Did the film present anything that shifted your thinking in a major way? If so, what? Is it difficult to make this shift? Why? 

Should doctors and other health professionals take biological race into account when diagnosing and treating illness? Why? Can you think of a situation where thinking about race as biological might be misleading or have a negative effect? How would considering social race be different?

Towards the end of this episode, the students are asked if they would trade their skin color. Would you trade your skin color? How do you think your life would be different if you looked like someone of a different race?

Turn-of-the-century scientists like Frederick Hoffman drew scientific conclusions based on what they believed to be true. How are scientists today influenced by their beliefs or their social context?

For many people, race is an important part of their identity. How do the following two comments from the film affect the way you think of yourself:> “There’s as much or more diversity and genetic difference within any racial group as there is between people of different racial groups.” – Pilar Ossorio, microbiologist“Every single one of us is a mongrel.” – student

Athletics is one arena where talking about ideas of inborn racial differences remains common. Why do you think some populations or groups seem to dominate certain sports but not others? What does it mean that the groups that dominate those sports have changed over time? 

Additional materials can be found on NPR’s accompanying website. 

Write ONE long paragraph responding to each of the questions you selected. Use specific examples from the film in your answers

Please follow the link to the podcast:

Race the power of an Illusion

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