RACE: The Power of an Illusion (help and preview for Monday)

I’m posting all 6 parts of a PBS special about race in U.S. culture. It may be especially valuable to help you think about “playing the whole game” of rhetoric. Throughout the clips are many examples of the intersections of communication, myth, performance, social truths and knowledge, identity construction, and so on. I also highly recommend that you check out the following website to help you think about the social construction of race.

RACE – The Power of an Illusion

Just because we call race an “illusion” or “myth” doesn’t mean the effects of race are imaginary. It means we’re thinking about the nature of “reality” and “truth” and “knowledge” differently than we’re used to. We might have made up the classifications and meanings and social consequences of race through laws and media representations and many other forms of communication, but these myths are “rhetorical discourses with political consequences,” and those consequences are very real. With a rhetorical view of communication, we realize there might be nothing “natural” or “given” about race, but we also realize that there are real effects and consequences of the truth, knowledge, myth, and meanings we’ve created and come to accept.

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