Berkeley Conversations: Race, The Power of an Illusion
This event will consist of a one-hour screening of the award-winning docuseries Race, The Power of an Illusion: The Story We Tell (Part II), followed by a one-hour live-streamed panel discussion on the origins of the concept of race, an accounting of when it took hold in the United States -- and more importantly, why. Part II looks back in history and reveals that the idea of race came well after the arrival of the first enslaved Africans to the colonies. Not until the American Revolution proclaimed the radical Enlightenment ideal that “all men are created equal” was there a need to justify the immorality of slavery and the removal of Indigenous Americans to clear land for White settlement. The social and economic hierarchy created by European colonialism was made to seem like the natural outcome of a biological destiny -- ideas that have persisted in the collective consciousness of Americans long after the formal end of slavery. Following the film screening, expert panelists Gerald Horne (Professor of History and African American Studies at University of Houston, UC Berkeley alumnus), Terence Keel (Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies and the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics at UC Los Angeles), Lundy Braun (Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Africana Studies at Brown University), and Kim TallBear (Associate Professor in the Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta) with moderator Denise Herd (Professor and Division Head of Community Health Sciences at UC Berkeley School of Public Health, Associate Director at Othering and Belonging Institute)will explore how ideas of race evolved throughout American history. In particular, they will critique the ways in which pseudoscientific racism was harnessed to exploit and subordinate Africans, African Americans, Indigenous Americans, and other people of color. Finally, the conversation will turn to the past and present of how American laws and institutions were designed around race to privilege Whites. We hope you’ll join us for the second installment of a three-part series during this historic period of mass resistance to structural racism. Part III (October 9th) will examine intersections of race with housing, public policy, power, wealth, and status. All events are free and open to the public.
Event Type: 
Film - Documentary
Friday, September 25, 2020
Event Sponsor: 
Othering & Belonging Institute
Event Speakers: 
Gerald Horne
Terence Keel
Lundy Braun
Kim TallBear
Denise Herd