Community viewing and conversation of the three-part PBS documentary “RACE – The Power of Illusion.” Check out the preview or read more about the series. Join us for one, two or all three parts: February 27th, March 6th, March 13th. This program is offered in partnership with Wellesley Free Library.
Part 2: The Story We Tell
The second episode in this series questions the belief that race has always been with us. Ancient peoples stigmatized “others” based on language, customs, and especially religion, but they did not sort people into “races.” This episode traces the race concept to the European conquest of the Americas, including the development of the first slave system, where all slaves shared a physical trait: dark skin. Ironically, it was not until slavery was challenged on moral grounds that early prejudices—emboldened by the need to defend slavery in a nation that professed a deep belief in freedom—crystallized into a full-blown ideology of white supremacy. By the mid-19th century, race had become the “common sense” wisdom of white America, explaining everything from individual behavior to the fate of whole societies.