What if it was suddenly revealed that the most basic assumptions about race — for instance, that the world's people can be divided biologically along racial lines — were false?
A new, three-part PBS documentary series, Race: The Power of an Illusion, asserts that race has nothing to do with biology. Instead, the series features scientists and experts who believe the notion of race is a construct based on history, laws and social custom.
NPR's Michele Norris talks to series executive producer Larry Adelman of California Newsreel, the production company behind the documentary. The episodes of the series, by topic:
»"The Difference Between Us" — a survey of scientific findings that suggest the concept of race has no biological basis.
»"The Story We Tell" — the historical context of race in North America, how the idea got started and how it took hold.
»"The House We Live In" — how social institutions uphold racial differences by favoring select groups when it comes to housing, loans and other economic and social benefits, perpetuating inequalities 40 years after the Civil Rights Act proclaimed all Americans "equal."