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      Race: The Power of an Illusion in Atlanta

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      April 14, 2019

      Sunday   3:00 PM

      101 Auburn Avenue Northeast
      Atlanta, Georgia 30303

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      Race: The Power of an Illusion

      The Baton Foundation, Inc., in partnership with the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, will host a two-part film screening about the history and legacy of race. This program is free and open to the public. Reserve seats here. Program Narrative Part I: The Story We Tell The first episode questions the belief that race has always been with us. Ancient peoples stigmatized “others” based on language, customs, and especially religion, but they did not sort people into “races.” This episode traces the race concept to the European conquest of the Americas, including the development of the first slave system, where all slaves shared a physical trait: dark skin. Ironically, it was not until slavery was challenged on moral grounds that early prejudices—emboldened by the need to defend slavery in a nation that professed a deep belief in freedom—crystallized into a full-blown ideology of white supremacy. By the mid-19th century, race had become the “common sense” wisdom of White America, explaining everything from individual behavior to the fate of whole societies. Part II: The House We Live In This episode focuses not only on individual behaviors and attitudes, but also on how our institutions shape and create race, giving different groups vastly unequal life chances. Who is White? In the early 20th century, the answer was not always clear. Often, the courts had to decide, and they resorted to contradictory logic to maintain the color line. After World War II, whiteness increasingly meant owning a home in the suburbs, aided by discriminatory federal policies that helped Whites and hindered nonwhites. European “ethnics,” once considered not quite White, blended together as they reaped the advantages of whiteness—including increased equity as property values rose dramatically—while Blacks and other nonwhites were locked out. Fifty years after the Modern Civil Rights Movement, the playing field is still not level, and so-called colorblind policies only perpetuate these inequities.

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