“Race: The Power of Illusion” explored in three-part series

LONDONDERRY, Vt. – “Race: The Power of Illusion” asks a question so basic, it’s rarely raised: What is this thing we call race? Beginning Thursday, Aug. 6 at 4 p.m., and continuing Aug. 13 and 20, Neighborhood Connections will host a three-part film series that challenges the idea of race as biology and traces current notions to the 19th century. It also demonstrates how race nevertheless has a continuing impact through institutions and social policies.

Millions of people have used the film to scrutinize their own deep-seated beliefs about race and explore how our social divisions are not natural or inevitable but made. Nicole Wengerd, the agency’s executive director, says, “We at Neighborhood Connections recognize that a Black Lives Matter statement is not enough. It is our hope that you will join us in taking further steps to educate ourselves and engage in meaningful dialogue by attending this series.”

We invite you to attend in person or through Zoom for one or all in the series. Call 802-824-4343 to sign up. If you intend to Zoom, we need your email so we can send the link. A Q&A will follow each session.

On Aug. 6, the first in the series, “The Difference Between Us” examines contemporary science, including genetics, that challenges our common sense assumptions that human beings can be bundled into three or four fundamentally different groups according to their physical traits.

On Aug. 13, “The Story We Tell” uncovers the roots of the race concept in North America. This is an eye-opening tale of how race served to rationalize, even justify, American social inequalities as “natural.”

The last in the series, “The House We Live In,” airs Aug. 20 and asks, “If race is not biology – what is it?” This episode uncovers how race resides not in nature, but in politics, economics, and culture. It reveals how our social institutions “make” race by disproportionately channeling resources, power, status, and wealth to white people.

Neighborhood Connections is a community-based nonprofit social services agency serving individuals and families in area mountain towns of South Central Vermont. Check out our website at www.neighborhoodconnectionsvt.org and like us on Facebook.

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