Race: The Power of an Illusion Part One: The Difference Between Us

Please respond below to the film watched in class 2_10_2015.

49 thoughts on “Race: The Power of an Illusion Part One: The Difference Between Us

  1. jeanmariee94

    This film really had an impact on me. At first I thought it was racist, however as I learned more about how race is irrelevant and really just a man made concept. I began to understand why these issues are being addressed. For a long time,. race was defined as biologically real, as certain external traits are based on biological factors. We now know that this is not true. The DNA workshop enlightened the students just as this film is beginning to enlighten me on the topic of race and social influence on grouping people together. Genetically we really are not that different. it is the origin of our family that has to do with our color, hair texture, and eye shape. When the students were saying how being white is easy, it touched upon me as I am white, and have never had to deal with the unfortunate events of some people of other decent. I look forward to delving deeper in this topic, as it affects each and every one of us, as well as generations to come.

  2. Chamirah Farley, RN

    I enjoyed viewing the film because I have a significant amount of interest regarding the concept of race. I have a lot of knowledge about the topic because of the intensive amount of reading I have done and courses I have taken. But I can honestly say the film didnt change my perspective regarding the idea of race. It was really ironic that I had already written down a lot of the key ideas exploring what race is and isnt that were mentioned in the film.

  3. Alla Polisskaya

    This film was.. unusual. It was certainly interesting and highlighted some illuminating facts and theories regarding race and human genetic variation. I’m not sure how I felt about half the film focusing on track athletes, and the use of mitochondrial DNA to highlight similarities and differences amongst human beings appears much more informative than it truly is; mitochondrial DNA is only passed down from one parent and does not affect appearance or ability.

    Human skin color is a very obvious and misleading trait. A simple Google search turns up reports of albino children made out to be social pariahs in parts of Africa much like a black child in a white southern town is always “different”. Our skin is one of the most obvious physical characteristics we have, and yet skin tells us virtually nothing about what lies beneath it.

    The “performance gap” in academia, income, athletic events, and various other walks of life has very little to do with race and a lot more to do with money. A child living in a comfortable environment with parents able to help when homework proves difficult and tutors on call if parents are stumped is more likely to succeed in school than a child crammed in with four siblings in a studio apartment in the projects. The child in the projects, on the other hand, may turn to running or basketball as a way to connect with his peers and work for something when school feels out of reach. If those two children were switched at birth and grew up in each other’s families, they would likely adopt each others’ focus, interests, and levels of success in various fields.

    Anyway, I digress.. The film made some great points but came off more as propaganda than documentary to me. Any intelligent human being knows that your intelligence is not defined by your brain color, skin color, or hair texture. Michael Jackson did not become more intelligent over the course of his life due to his skin condition, did he? Exploring these concepts is reinventing the wheel. I would be far more interested in exploring our differences with other humanoid species such as the Neanderthals, discussing why Homo Sapiens prospered whilst other humanoids did not, and comparing the differences between the two species to the differences between human races. Such an approach would put into greater perspective how similar we all truly are.

    Some genetic variations, such as Sickle Cell, are positively selected for in regions with a higher prevalence of malaria but what about the small percentages of the human population with a natural immunity/resistance to diseases such as HIV, Typhoid, and recently, Ebola? What makes these tiny populations immune to otherwise devastating and debilitating illnesses. Why are most humans unable to live in Pripyat’s exclusion zone, and yet some small population continues to survive there with no ill effects on human health? Comparing genetic variation for these resistances to variations creating “race” would also be a fantastic way to show how insignificant skin color and eye shape truly are to human ability.

  4. Ashley Golden

    Race is a very sensitive topic for me because while I was growing up I just couldn’t understand why people wanted to be separated from each other. When I was younger I asked my 6th grade teacher why can someone judge someone else by the color of their skin when we bleed and breathe the same. I mentioned that we are all god children and yet everyone wants to be divided. I told my teacher that I think god would like if all his children .played together. LOL i was younger but that’s how I felt. I was brought up to never see color. After a while I even thought dark skin people were exotic. I’m 23 years old today and I still think the concept of race is foolish. I believe The term race isn’t real, race is nothing but a divergent. Just another opportunity for us to remain separated and not united as one. And I think the film kind of proved that. One of the men Alan Goodman said “Race is a myth” And someone else went on and said that Race is a concept invention. So why are we still having racism? I think people like the idea of an inferior race until they are not apart of it. Think about it, what if segregation came back in to effect and all the “White” people were treated horrible, we would see more documentaries such as this one but more in detail. If we must be labeled as a race it should only be one, the human race.

  5. Henry M.

    At first, I thought the film was about racism, but it was more like about “human beings.” On the “outside,” we all are different because of skin color, but genetically, there is not a much of a difference because we are all the same species. I remember a scene from a Honk Kong movie that takes place in the late 1800s, a man from China goes to America for his chain medical clinic ends up with an Native American Tribe, one of the tribe members attacked him because he was “different,” like his skin color and language, but another tribe member stopped him because he said “his blood is red, just like us.” We should all keep in mind that even though, out outside appearance is different, our inside will always have similarities in our genetics.

  6. Altenor

    Jhonny Altenor
    Feb 11, 2015

    well, first of all, race is a group of people who share similar and distinct physical characteristics. It is true, we all look different as people. however, back in the days, during segregation time, for example, in U.S, race can be justified as social inequalities between black and white people, which led to different access to opportunities and resources. In this film, “Race The power of an Illusion Part One: The Difference Between Us” shows that students in the workshop black or white testing their DNA have the desire to find out if there is a difference between them. As a result, it happens to be there is a little difference in
    their DNA, not that much for black people to be exterminated or excluded within government, laws, and society. Generally their species are the same. Race has no such genetic basis. At this point, one of the white students in the workshop DNA said, ” There is no such DNA result, but I’m a white, I take it for granted because that’s a privilege for white people as far as difference.” what is not race is black people potential capacity in science, sports so and so on. Race is a social construct by white people.

  7. donna myriel

    I thought it was heartbreaking that a word such as race had such a negative meaning to it. IT made me realize that over the centuries that we as individuals influence every generation but what we say and what we do. To compare someone by skin color or physical features to classify them is very demeaning. I believe that we were all made unique for a reason, because we all cant look the same or have the same genetics or think the same then that would just mean that we are all one person. We were made unique to develop our own and if we were not unique this current world would not be the way it is today. I believe that word race should not be in existence anymore, because at the end of the day we are all human beings who should be treated equally and not classified into groups or either interpret our skin color of being one person being superior to the other. This word and its many definitions of the years have made generation after generation believe that we really are different and not in a good way and I think a lot of it has to do with the environment we group up in such as schools, homes, etc.

  8. thierno

    Race has been used one of the most fundamental social concept which people have used to construct their identity and characterized themselves in regard to others. Throughout history, people have used the race card to promote social, political and economical hierarchies among different groups. Unfortunately, it also has been utilized to justify discrimination, slavery, and colonization. Even science, which is considered the study of facts, has been used to prove the classification of the different so-called race. However as the real science has shown, the difference of physical and physiological traits among people has no biological or genetical cause. It’s mostly influenced by environment.

  9. daniel quiles

    the filmed was a real shocker to me , i heard a lot of ignorant things in it. the part that caught my attention the most was the athletic aspect . “race” does not determine how good you are at a sport that comes from hard work determination and the opportunities given to you. some time during the movie one of the coaches said african americans are better at sports because they are more primitive , that so ignorant , it discredits any hard work. the only difference we have as human are in appearance but there is no single gene that makes anyone better then anyone else. even now that science has proven all of the claims from the movies false , people refuse to believe that “race” is not determining factor. ( unless its a job interview or any sort of application)

  10. Isaac D. O

    After watching the movie I just said to myself ”Race Is really Power of an Illusion” because the movie reaffirmed a belief I hold that all human are equally created and there is no differences between us.
    The movie cleared doubt I mostly have within me and answered some question I normally ask myself that
    “why do I get victimized because of my skin color”?.
    I understood from the movie that race is just a social construct, created and continued by humans in society without any scientific or biological prove. It is just another reason for us to be classified according to our body features physical appearances and remain divided a such.
    Personally I was ‘racially’ abused due to my skin color at Yankee stadium during Guinness International soccer match between Chelsea and PSV. A Chelsea fan beside me mistakenly smack A PSV fan when he was celebrating a goal chelsea scored. The victim wrongfully accused me of being the culprit just because I was the only dark skinned guy among the fans on the row.

    I want to share this few facts I have studied as a result of my religious affiliation and was confirmed in the movie.I have a dream to become a theologian and a pastor in the future so i am enrolling in World Bible
    School. In a class tittle The Preeminence of God I learnt that all humans on the surface of the earth emanated from one source (person called Noah). A supreme being (God) destroyed people on earbecause of their iniquities. God instructed Noah to built an ark to save his family and in-laws. It rained 40 days and night and the earth was field with water and all living creatures were killed except 8 people namely Noah, his wife, 3 sons their 3 wivies.
    After the flood God instructed the sons of Noah, namely Shem, Ham and Japheth and their wives to re-pro-crate to fill the surface of the earth hence human existence from Africa and God promised never to destroyed the earth with water again and the sealed of that promise is the RAINBOW COLORS.
    I am now convinced beyond reasonable doubt that we are all one and the same people not matter how different our physical features are, race is just an illussion

  11. benny

    I have always wondered what the definition of race was because everyone one had a different explanation to what they believed to be race. I have always thought race was people a group of people who share certain similarities. Watching this film has given me an understanding that there is no such thing as race and that race can not be defined.From the film, it is proven that genetically we are all not that different from one another. People are told that gens define your race, and people attribute behavior and performances to race which is never true. One may have parents who are very good at sports but that does not mean that they would also grow up to be very athletic.People try to use biology as an excuse for social differences.They would try to justify with science that they are superior races and inferior races . According to research the average difference among all humans is very small. So the idea of race is a cultural idea,race is not biological and it has nothing to do with out genes. Race is a human invention and it has been used very negatively and has created a lot of differences among people.

  12. Taurey

    Before viewing the film, the class was asked “What -is -race? And What –is- race- Not?” My definition was short. Race can be your genetic lineage as well as where it is indigenous. Race is not, a disease to be cured or problem to be dealt with. It is not a color or a shade, a food, smell, statistic or religion. Living in America we have become conditioned to believe deeply that race is something more than a fabrication associated with a visual perception. There are people out there that actually think that because you look a certain way, you may behave a certain way (mentally, physically, biologically or spiritually). In the film we watched as students compared their own MTDNA (Mitochondrial DNA) which is inherited solely from our mothers, in efforts to see if the initial perception of genetic similarities actually existed between classmates that look the most alike. In most cases these assumptions were wrong. It was enlightening to see how similar their mtDNA (something that truly can distinguish a difference amongst what we perceive as race) had some many similarities across ethnicities. In the film it was said that, humans as species are more like each other than any other animal on the earth and also that Africa as a continent has the most diverse collection of DNA than any other place on the planet. That was something I had never heard or thought about before but it does make perfect sense seeing that Africa is “The Mother Land”.
    There seemed to be a great profitability in the scientific world as well as business world in discovering and focusing on what the difference is amongst African and their decedents and their counterparts. Through the years of scientific study no real difference besides melanin was discovered so they were fabricated to create a separation amongst people.
    I truly believe sports; bring us together more than any single activity created by man. It forces us to accept, respect and embrace individual differences and its beauty. As I watched the film I have to admit I related a lot to the thoughts of the young female high school and scholar/ track star. There is a great feeling of shame if someone who does not look like me beats me in anything, but specifically sports (I believe this to be a mental conditioning in itself). She stated how she felt like the Caucasian girl could not beat her in a race but she wouldn’t sleep on her or underestimate her as an athlete. From my own experience this seems to be a wide spread feeling amongst athletes in general. When Jesse Owens shocked Germany and Hitler’s Nazi party in the summer Olympic Games of 1936, it opened a door that still to this day has not been completely closed and that is the study of the Negro body.

  13. Isilita Arman

    This movie reaffirmed my thoughts of race being such an ambiguous term, it has negative connotations and proceeds to engage society into a battle of making certain groups feel inferior to others. When we take the time to complete census forms every decade we engage in this act. Why should the question of what race are you be included in the census when this is a social construct? The census promotes discrimination and forces us to classify groups. This movie shines a light on how we have to constantly research for ourselves what something really is, we can’t take for granted that if were told a theory that it can’t be fabricated to benefit the ideas of one group.

  14. rssp044

    As I watched the film in class, it reminded me that how different we may be in our opinions. Well, as Homo Sapiens we share the same common core but in different cultures and different societies people have a different concept of race. In my view we cannot generalize these questions like What is Race? What Race is not? If we perform a small experiment in a group of people and ask them to define Race, almost everyone will have a definition of their own. Some folks think of race as your area or demographics, some think of as your skin color, while others think of as your physical features or other things like height, body etc. To consider a more logical approach, for the development of any system or nation what is more important is that the people who work in the system are honest and sincere and are working to grow the system, they could be of any race. It is to our advantage that we the humans are the top of creation as compared to other species.

  15. Nawang N. Sherpa

    In my opinion, the film was interesting which explained several aspects on how race exist in our society. I had always thought race as classification of people into various groups with respect to their origin. I had never thought race has such a broad concept as explained in the film. The movie tries to convey a message that race is not something which comes with a gene from parents to the children. It has nothing to do with heredity as people of different races may have ample amount of similar DNAs. On the contrary, people that belong to the same race may have a vast difference when the comparison is made between their DNAs. The movie clearly says that human race have the most amount of matching DNAs when it comes to making comparisons with opposition to the DNAs between other species which varies significantly. The movie conveys the meaning that race is something that cannot be measured. It has no boundaries as it may have diverse meanings. We also get the meaning that race did not evolve itself. Race is created by humans which makes the existing and coming generations to think that they belong to certain category. It is something that exists to make differences between people which may mostly impact the society in a negative way as it changes people’s perception.
    The movie explains that every human belongs to one family which once originated in the Africa. We all belong to that species which migrated to different parts of the world millions of years ago. Thus, we all should get the positive message conveyed by the movie that we all belong to once race i.e. human race.

  16. dorcas

    This movie shows how far man has gone to course injury to man. Originally I thought that the word “Race” means people that are similar physically, socially and culturally. To my surprise, the movie power of an illusion has shown to me that there is little or no difference genetically among humans.The idea of race came up because some people wanted to elevate themselves above others, especially white against black. It is a way to make people believe that white people are superior to the rest of the world. Scientifically it has been proven that there is no genetic markers that define race. Race is not based on biology but on some people’s idea. According to scientific findings humans are more closely genetically alike unlike animals, birds and insects. White people have used the color “white” as the face of power. Americans used the word race to put down Blacks and Chinese especially in the early 1920’s.They said that Blacks are biologically different from white to picture Negros as inferior and uncivilized humans.They went as far as making people believe that Black people would eventually go into extinction because of their inferior genes. Therefore race mixture was totally discouraged and unacceptable. Evidence according to this movie, shows that the movement of people from one continent to another brought about color variations. People living in Africa where there is much sunlight because of their closeness to the equator need much melanin to protect their skin from sun damage. Where as people living in the temperate regions need less melanin to get enough sunlight for vitamin D. For example, generally people think that sickle cell anemia is Black people’s disease but this is not true. Surprisingly sickle cell anemia is found in parts of Europe and other parts of the world where there are mosquito infestation. Most importantly, opportunities and environment is found to be among major determinant of health.
    Over all, this movie is very interesting and educative. It has helped to correct my misconception of the word “Race”

  17. Rafael

    The film was interesting. I remember in my freshman year of high school, I was taken to a science place, can’t really remember what was the name for it, but they did what the scientist was doing with the students. Comparing everyone’s DNA or was it the rDNA, in the film it was the mitochondrial dna. As I saw from the film it was the same thoughts and results like what my class went through. The whole class thought that the spanish people will be identically closer than the whites, blacks and Asian kids. After going through testing, we also compared the DNA of other animals and how we relate to them. It was so cool to see how our genes didn’t show any type of race. This is what the film focused on, how the term race exist, how it is used and how it affects us all. Biologically race doesn’t really mean anything, however, society has made into a classification between skin color and culture. It alienates tons of people, suppresses and oppresses many and dignifies the top, which is mostly the whites. The film showed that it isn’t “race” that determines how a person is or can be, and shows that we aren’t that different. the only thing that keeps us different is the thought that we are this way or other people are that way. I believe we do it to justify our own reasons for things we can’t understand. The film shows that it is because of the term “race” that many go through struggles and others are privileged.

  18. Kar Lee

    The film was seem to be entertaining and reality. Race can be defined as a group of people physical characteristics, skin color, facial form, eye shape and genetics. “The difference between us” about how scientific discover the concept of biological race and how they compare their own DNA. They test out with different kind of people who is closest genetic matches can be a races. Every human came from different part of societies and different kind of cultures can be illustrate as a races.

  19. Keven Deng

    The film watched reiterate concepts that I have lived with growing up and that is that race is not related to biology but a concept created by human’s to defined one another based upon external body features. Im not surprise that in the past people tried to use biological science to define a individual’s race so to speak which doens’t exactly exist since there is really any science behind the concept of race. Yes as people we different genetic make up that affects such external features such as skin tone, hair style, eye color, etc. That being said though as expect in the video this general genetic makeup is often more similar then different. The one troubling thing that this thing reminds me and that I often still see is that this issue or race is still apparent in our society to where we group individuals or join in groups of the so called defined race. Also apparent is that because of this issue of race being used to defined individuals in the past as being inferior we still have it being a issue today where there is still some form of inequality even though some that are not visibile defined by this term called race. The thing is no individual people are exaclty alike even with their own ethnic group but that doesn’t mean that there inferior or superior to one another or to anyone else of an different ethnic group.

  20. Rpalma89

    The first part of the documentary to me was very informative. It also was information that i had heard before in different classes I have taken during my college years. Due to physically appearance like i stated before in class, I am the type of person that you cannot put into one “race” but multiple ones. You can classify me in so many different Ethnic background and cultures that sometimes I have even told myself I could lie to different people of what i am and nobody would know. Which I don’t because i am very proud of my Ethnic background and my roots/culture. What really touched me was that finally somebody had said that there really was no race that it was made up but us society. This is the answer I myself had written when you wrote the question on the board my answer ” race i subgroups that society put humans based on their cultural background/skin color or physically appearance. I am a person who is open to any culture, religion any difference from me. I have mutual respect for those around me and what they as a person represent. I also liked the genetic testing they did with the students, it was very informative and eye opening,

  21. kareshma

    After watching the film on race in class, my view of the idea of race hasn’t changed much. I don’t believe in the idea of race, and I don’t believe that it should be used for biological reasons, nor should it be used when it comes to identifying a person. Race does not suggest that a person who has the same skin color as someone else should have the same illness, or physical abilities as the person. Race does not suggest that because a group of people look alike, it means that they must act and behave the same way. I could be the same color as someone, but I may be from Guyana while they are from Trinidad. practicing completely different religions and cultures. Even the people who I’m closely related to in genes are very different from me, so how can I be compared to someone who has no relation to be, but because they have the same skin color as me. Basically to me, I see race as a judgment of looks, people judge you based on the way you look. I completely disagree with this idea of using race to identify a person’s health or identity.

  22. Chander Raj

    Race can be a touchy topic for some people, and for some it isn’t much of a concern. Me for example, don’t think twice about other’s race. Some kids are brought up to believe that some races are more inclined towards doing more bad than good. I still remember leaving my country (age 10) and one of my uncles said “Be careful of the black people, make friends with white people”. Till this day I have not experienced any problems with black or dark skinned people (mabey because im more towards the brownish skin color myself). I even went to Abraham Lincoln Highschool in Brighthon Beach area which can be called a trademark for “bad highschools” but I have yet to face any kind of troubles. As long as the other person is a human being, he/she is just like me in most areas. Watching the film didn’t really change my perpective on race but infact gave me quite a few supporting ideas towards my idealism.

    *Sorry if I offend anyone by using the term “blacks”….. now you now how I felt when I was called Paki(Pakistani) during middle and highschool LOL…… I’m Indian*

  23. A. Cynthia Parvinn

    After watching the first part of the film, “Race: The Power of an Illusion,” my understanding of the concept of race has not changed much, but rather I was able to gather some concrete evidence and details to my knowledge regarding race. When answering the question “What is not race?” prior to beginning the film, I had written “Race is not the color of one’s skin” and the film went on to prove exactly that.

    I really appreciated that this film explored the scientific aspect of race from a biological standpoint. Over the decades, numerous studies have been done to find the link between race and intelligence (and failed!). It spoke volumes to me when it was said, “all body parts of ‘Blacks’ have been analyzed.” It spoke volumes in the sense that while race is an imaginary concept to demoralize people of darker skin, Africans and African Americans have always been first and foremost subject to this injustice. The fact that body parts have been analyzed, show how the concept of race has made people with darker skin color test subjects. Furthermore, Richard Lexington answered the question of racial differences on a genetic level after conducting his gel electrophoresis study: “there’s no difference between populations, and all the difference is found within populations.” (source) I found it absurd that Jesse Owen’s four gold medals were not attributed to his talent and diligent practice, but rather credited as being “closer to the primitive” – it is unfair and sad that credit cannot be given where credit is due and even then race has to a play a part in someone’s accomplishments.

    I enjoyed the group of biology students comparing their DNA and matching their mitochondrial DNAs to others around the globe. As the students were conducting their project, all I could think of was how impactful this lab was to their lives and how the future children of these students will benefit from what they learned that day. These students and the people they will personally impact will understand race for what it is: nothing more than the difference in modern genetic variations.

    I am glad that the film explained the biological reasoning behind melanin in one’s skin and I am glad they did it so artfully. People from tropical regions are darker and people closer to the artic poles are lighter: if one were to walk from the tropics to Norway, they would be able to observe the gradual change in skin color. Melanin in the skin protects humans from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Based on that alone, people with darker skin, as Darwin would put it, have greater chances of survival for they are the ones with the advantageous genetic variation.

    Finally, the film explored eugenics and race mixing and the strict laws that were passed regarding interracial marriages. In my personal opinion, I think mixed people are the most beautiful. I have always wanted a mixed baby of my own while growing up – but I think that option is out the door since my significant other is of the same ethnic background as myself. However, I wanted to note that the United States is a melting pot of people from around the world and therefore its citizens will continue to embody ” the changing face of America”. In October 2013, “National Geographic determined what Americans will look like in 2050, and it’s beautiful”.

    1. AAlmond Post author

      Lizet shared:
      The film we watched on race in class, was very powerful film. It’s incredible how as humans we just focus on the outside appearance. The film gives us a strong message for us to realize how at the end we are all the same. Although we may all look different inside there is no difference. The film gives you another perspective on how to see race. It was interesting to know how genetically we can be similar to anyone around the world. If the world saw people beyond their skin color or ethnicity , the world would be a better place. I think many more people should understand that we aren’t really different from eachother , and just realize we cant judge other by the way they look.

      1. AAlmond Post author

        Eric replied:
        I really enjoyed the film and it showed that there is no difference between the race.

        Kenlyn replied:
        This film is just another way race is define in our society today. The film talked about numbers and skintone colors to show what color a person is which determine what race a person is. I think that no matter what color we are on the outside, we are all human in the end with the same color blood flowing inside of us. Am an West Indian women, however am often being taken for a Hispanic women because of my skin color. i think that we should all be seen as human beings instead of being judge because our skin color.

  24. Sayma

    First I want to say that every person who watch this movie. It truly can change someone perspective on some issues that still exist in today’s society. The beginning of the film I thought it was going to just another movie talking about racial segregation but as more time passes, I start to notice the film is actually a lot of interesting that I expected. I loved the part when the film showed how little of a difference we have in our genetic makeup as human beings from one another, compared to fruit flies and penguins. These creatures, fairly all look the same from our perspective. However their genetic makeup is almost 5 times different from another one of it’s kind. But when comparing the DNA samples from a Caucasian student with another person from part of Africa, the match was 100%. This is what fascinated me the most. The world likes to label humans being based of their skin color, eye color, and hair texture. The world treats individuals differently based on the way they look, when we are all the same from the inside.

  25. shenelle

    I absolutely loved the movie. It showed just how a person’s skin color can be used to define them in the wrong way. Two of the Caucasian students also acknowledged the fact that black people have never had it easy, even though slavery ended so long ago. They also brought to light how easy it has been for them their whole lives because they are white.

  26. Li

    The first part of the film is very informative to me. I’ve learned from my Sociology class that race is the human made social construction highly based on physical traits. However, appearance can be deceiving, Nowadays interracial marriages become increasingly acceptable, which makes it extremely hard to classify one’s race by physical appearance. For example, a African American can have lighter skin color than people from Italy. I thought that people from the same race may share more genetic similarity, but the film told me that I am totally wrong. It’s very interesting to learn that an Asian may have more similar genes with a African American than another Asian. People with similar appearance may not share the same ancestry. It’s also really sad to learn from the film that few people were trying to find scientific proof that Whites are superior to other groups of people. We have to know that we cannot judge others based on physical appearance and individual behavior is the result of multi factors.

  27. Emmauel Acheampong

    ” Until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes. And until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war.”

    May I Kindly steal the above quotation which is wisely and impressively expressed by the Late Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia to reaffirm the major themes revealed in the ” Race: The Power of an illusion” documentary.
    They include the misconception and mischievous definition of Race, the mythical supposition of genetic variations and the geographical and historical origin of homo sapiens.
    First and foremost, what is Race? It is also defined as similar traits like hair color which relate to a specific group of people. However, there are many definitions which depend on its contextual meaning and reasoning.
    Evidently, It is argumentatively established by scholars that, the definition of Race is man-made in order to attain socio-cultural and political gains, legitimate supremacy and power by a few privileged figures. This breeds the misconception and mischievous beliefs which lead to the five classification of Races via human’s characteristics like the color of the eye.
    Furthermore, the myth of the genetic variations linked to racism is experimentally debunked and refuted due to the minimal margins between genes which are determinants of visual attributes.
    Moreover, the distinct difference among persons is not biologically related but rather geographically oriented. This is proved by historical records that, people are subjected to a common linkage which is traceable to Africa as the origin birthplace of mankind.
    In the nutshell, it will be unwise and inappropriate to prejudge any personality based upon the skin color one wears but not the substance a character bears.

    1. AAlmond Post author

      “Me say war” (Bob Marley song, share the same ideas with what you stated)— excellent quote. I almost featured these lyrics on the syllabus, but declined! You are spot on. Keep up the good work.

  28. Mdelie16

    Before watching “Race: The Power of an Illusion Part 1”, I defined race as a series of similar traits shared by a group of people. To answer the question, “What is race not?” I responded that “Race is not easy to define”. Imagine my astonishment in finding out how race is not biologically proven! It really is one huge illusion created by society. It’s a huge disappointment in mankind to see how far a group will go to discredit another group with different traits just to be seen as superior. People came up with the definition of race to identify a person strictly by their physical appearance; this includes skin color, hair texture, eye shape, etc, it’s an idea used to elevate and separate them from other classes for power and the privilege of having someone underneath them. These people try to use science to justify the oppression they have forced on other races and come to find out the joke is on them, race is a biological myth! There is no true race, not in the biological sense. A fruit fly or penguin has more genetic variations than humans do. All I can say is that it’s mind-boggling!

  29. Sadiquah

    This movie was definitely an eye opener on the socially constructed idea of race. I never realized that when filling out an application that asked about check the box of your race that so many people would not fit in to the listed categories due to interracial marriages. After seeing the first part of this movie I realized that race has no true biological definition. My history class that I am taking this semester also shows that the concept of race is unrealistic and is made up and believed by the people in a society. So many believe that race is based on physical characteristics but as stated in the movie; there is no clear defined physical characteristic belonging to any particular group of the same people. I look forward to watching the other two parts of the movie because I enjoyed the first part.

  30. Chunn

    The film we watched in class was informative. To know that back in the day people thought there was a difference in their bodies depending on their race. Also doing research in this topic, finding out there hardly any difference between different people which made me think that the idea of race is just how we distingush how everyone look but be mindful that we are all not that different.

  31. matty65

    “There is no such thing as race, it all about privilege.” Dr Leonard Jeffries. After I viewed part one of the video Race: The Power of an Illusion this quote immediately came to mind. Some of the images in the video were a bit discomforting. I’ve seen images depicting African Americans as inferior for many different reasons, all of them have been scientifically proven to be completely ridiculous, but I’ve seldom seen the same inferiority clams made against other minorities. The video displays that many of the same claims of physical and mental limitations due to inferior human development was made of the Chinese and the American Indian. It would seem that this method of dehumanization has a long history of use in gaining privilege over others.

  32. iespinoza

    Although my previous beliefs in the existence of genetical differences across individuals was null I was one to assume that there must be some biological explanation to the notion of why black people appeared to be a stronger race. My deductions were excused from having a professional sport background. I witnessed so many times the stronger endurance of black teammates. However, The information presented on the film was very eye opening, informative and solid for me to leave behind any “illusion” of race and learn that, genetically, “humans are the most similar of all species”. Also, I realized the wide interest of many professionals in different fields as seen in the video from a microbiologist, biological anthropologist to an evolutionary biologist and more. Thus, I cannot conceive that after many reliable proofs, research in this subject is never ending nor is racism. There must be a serious obstinacy with finding out at least one single feature to mark a race as superior.

  33. Margaret Spence

    I really enjoyed the film on, “The Different Between Us”. The social differences around the world made this film very interesting, to me. I learned that there no true race, we are all made up for the most part the same. there no way to measure race. Scientist for years have try to claim that there is, (eugenics) but are proven wrong. when we study race, we must look at the population. people who live more to the south, seam to be darker in skin tone, then people living in the north, who tend to be more light skin. Its all in your genetic marker. That’s what makes all of us different.

  34. IrinaF

    I enjoyed viewing this film in class because it showed the paradigm shift when it comes to race not being based on biology. There was a particular part where Mr.Hoffman concluded that extinction was inevitable and its encoded in their blood. In the video they stated that genetically we are similar species. The video talked about rationalized society with racial differences. I liked that they had a group of students doing a race workshop and it showed just how similar one person is from another even if their skin color is different. We all share a common and different variation when it comes to race and it can be found within any population, and most of it according to the video is that it comes from a common source- Africa.

  35. Eric Aung

    I enjoyed watching this film in class because it showed that we may be different on external such as our skin color but we are all the same on the inside. It also show that races cannot be defined scientifically because we are all similar species. The differences between our skin color have to do with the region that we live in and our body undergo evolution to adapted to the environment which led to the difference in skin color. For example, bear in arctic are white and bear that does not live in those cold region are either brown or black.

  36. klever quinde

    “race is only skin deep”. this line stood out to me the most out of the entire video because after that it goes on to elaborate how closely related we are as a species, how identical looking penguins have more genetic differences then we do , and how race is truly a illusion created by a class that was doing well at the time and then that race became the standard for superiority. race as biology is only skin deep and just a social construct, where we just attach assumptions due to visual representations of race. this video did a great job at explaining and clearing up a lot of biological misconceptions of race.

  37. Milka Ng

    The movie is so powerful it leaves me in shock. First of all, it clarifies my idea about race and the myth of “a group of people is doing better on some field base on their biological background”. I always think that race is some what equal to ethnic, which is so wrong. After I watch the movie, I think that to classify people by their physical structure is a very bad idea. Especially when Mr Hoffman states that we are basically the same regardless of our physical appearance, such as our skin or eye color. He is right! How we could decide a person belongs to a special group? What is the standard? What if the person is a mix? Are we going to classify him as “an other species”?
    We are all the same, we don’t have any biological differences such as stronger muscles compare to other people. The idea of race is really a illusion that make up to separate people. Why do we ever do that?

  38. Keila Gordon

    The film we watched in class was definitely an eye opener. At first i completely understood why the students seemed to think their DNA would be mostly similar to the the students who shared racial backgrounds. Once i was given clear sight on how our genetics works, it made more sense. We are built to believe that race is what divides us. What really divides us is ignorance. People are so easily blind by lies and ignore the truth. Things are drilled into our heads from when we are young and the negativity only increases more. What stood out to me most was one of the students saying ” I would not change my skin color because i am privileged to be white.” I was stunned and absolutely mind blown that something so ignorant would be exposed from such a young mind. Another thing that caught my attention was the praise of Gorgeous. Gorgeous was a brilliant athletic student. Because she was African American, she was more recognized for her athletic ability in track than for her title as valedictorian. We are taught from young of the “superior race” and segregation of America. In reality we are all equal and we are all special in our own ways.

  39. nsubair

    Race: The Power of an Illusion Part One: The Difference Between Us. this video was very interesting and definitely an eye opener. what I thought and what most people thought race is/was is not what it seems to be. There were several interesting parts of the film but I will touch upon the few that mainly caught my attention, such as, the advantages and disadvantages of race in the Olympics when it states that African Americans dominate the sport, in my opinion I believe it is true when you look at Basketball and other sports and who the greatest are in track and field etc.. Another interesting part of the film that caught my attention is when they referred to whites as the superior race and African Americans as the inferior race. as much as most would hate to admit it it is true looking at the government and the higher officials etc.. there is no denying that. in brief, those are my thoughts on the film we watch about race.

  40. Veronica

    I would have never thought that the term RACE would be a rather new concept which was creating by man. I knew religion was created by man to separate people into different groupings and cultures. Also I knew religion was used as a form of control by the government. I would have never thought that the same concept would be applied to the term RACE. This same stereotype reminds me of the Jewish religion which a lot of the Jewish people consider Jewish to be their race. This never made sense to me that it could be associated as a race. I always ask so if your race or nationality is Jewish, does that mean you were born in Jewishville? If you are born in Puerto Rico, that would make the individual Puerto Rican, if born in Haiti, the individual would be Haitian, but what I could never figure out is where this Jewish country or place is located. Most Jewish people would reply Israel, although most of Israel doesn’t even consist of Jews. The Cherokee Indians were grouped differently than other Indians but yet all blacks were inferior to the white race and all blacks were perceived to be on the same low level. It shows the progression of thinking as ourselves as equal to each other is still a concept we haven’t fully grasped.

  41. Jibriel

    I though it was a very interesting film that should be showed to more people. I learned that biological view of race is based upon mitochondrial DNA and human genome. According to scientific research human being can have similar MT DNA strands and their appearance can look very different. For example, in the movie “Race an power of an illusion” a professor and a handful of students conducted an experiment by extracting DNA from their cheek cells. Next, after obtaining the chromosomes from their cheeks, students run the DNA against a DNA database in different continents of the world to find out similar patterns to their DNA. As a result, they found close matches of people from different races that looked completely different from them. The experiment concluded that human being are all the same form the inside no matter how different people look from the outside. On the other hand, the opposite of the biological standpoint of race is the social viewpoint, which puts people into specific groups in the basis of how people look. The concept of race is not a biological fact, rather it’s a social concept made up by people and has nothing to do with science. For example, excluding my immediate family genetically speaking it does not matter if someone looks like me or not to show a similar DNA strand because biologically humans are constructed the same and are considered one species no matter skin, hair or eye color.

  42. Dherrera

    This films is very interesting because society is quick to judge people simply by their appearance, but this film illustrates the similarities between people in general. Some people might find it hard to believe that one can be a lot more similar with a person from a different continent than your neighbor next door.

  43. Raz

    • Not knowing the actual facts behind the reality of racism. This film taught me a lot. From real studies, and professionals who researched this stuff. It gave me an understanding that there is no such thing as race and that race can not be defined. as humans we share the same common being, but in different cultures, different societies, different religions and nationalities. All these people have a different concept of race. Youre most likely to be genetically like someone who you’d think is so different. Every human belongs to one family which once originated in Africa. We all belong to that species which migrated to different parts of the world millions of years ago. The movement of people from one continent to another brought about color variations. People living in Africa where there is much sunlight because of their closeness to the equator need much melanin to protect their skin from sun damage. Unfortunately, skin color is the strongest judgement of racial category. In the documentary students were to be tested for their DNA to compare similarities and differences amongst each other. They were very shocked at the results. Race is word that people think they know, but they won’t be able to explain it.

  44. Donna Liu

    I like how this film gives a lesson in how race is just a word. Just because there are people who look different on the outside and are into and good at different things, they can be just as genetically similar to each other. I also like how the film teaches us not to divide ourselves into “races.”

  45. anthonynedd

    This movie was definitely an eye opener on the socially constructed idea of race and the fact that race has no true biological definition. The concept of race is unrealistic since there is no clear defined physical characteristic or traits belonging to any particular group of the same people. The view that people from the same race share more genetic similarities is totally wrong. Asian may have more similar genes with an African American than another Asian. It was interesting to see the students’ ideas of who they assumed they were closest to genetically and their eventual reactions, when informed of how wrong they were. The film showed how small the difference we have in our genetic makeup as human beings from one another, regardless to all the studies done to prove that whites were completely different from Blacks. The match of 100%, when comparing the DNA samples from a Caucasian student with another person from part of Africa, was surprising and shocking. These test could end the debates of racism and divide forever, however it won’t because social acceptance for all doesn’t benefit the have’s, it’s only a concern of the have not’s.


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