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Episode 3: Race: The Power of an Illusion

We will continue our series that we began on May 8, with Episode 3 of the PBS Documentary, “Race: The Power of an Illusion” followed by a discussion.

Episode III – “The House We Live In” focuses not on individual behaviors and attitudes, but on how our institutions shape and create race, giving different groups vastly unequal life chances. Who defines race? In the early 20th century, the courts were called upon to determine who was white, employing contradictory logic to maintain the color line. After World War II, government policies and subsidies helped create segregated suburbs where Italians, Jews and other not-quite-white European ethnics were able to reap the full advantages of whiteness. The episode reveals some of the ordinary social institutions that quietly channel wealth and opportunity, so that white people benefit from a racist system without personally being racist. It concludes by looking at why we can’t just get rid of race.

This event is co-sponsored by Racists Anonymous at the Congregational Church of Sunnyvale