(Photo by Flickr user S S., used under a Creative Commons license)
You’ve likely heard the argument before: Race is a social construct. Why do we insist on perpetuating racial divides if we all technically come from Africa, anyway?
It’s an attempt to promote a sense of shared human identity. But glossing over thousands of generations of historical context is problematic — it’s the cultural crevices science can’t reach that can help us understand race.
Penn Museum has been spending the autumn season helping people imagine a world “where diversity doesn’t mean division” through a series of free classes, all aimed at unpacking race, culture and justice through a variety of academic lenses.
The classes have pondered big questions about race in depth. What, for instance, determines Blackness?
“Is it a certain percentage of my genetic material,” asked Penn cultural anthropology student Leniqueca Welcome, “or is it my lived experience, cultural experiences, the experiences of my parents and my grandparents? Continually, I am wondering how these African origin stories become part of our identity or complicate our identity in both positive or challenging ways.”
Welcome opened up the conversation on geography, culture and race during last week’s program. Watch the whole class below.
And make sure to livestream the last program in the series, a class on violence and race, tonight (Wednesday, Nov. 16) at 6:30. Here’s the link to do that.
Missed out on the action? Don’t worry — not only will the entire series be uploaded, but a documentary produced around the program is due out sometime in 2017.-30-
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