RACE: Are We So Different?
September 29, 2012 - January 1, 2013
We all know that people look different. Throughout history, those differences have been a source of strength, community and personal identity. They have also been the basis for discrimination and oppression.
And while those differences are socially and culturally real, contemporary scientific understanding of race and human variation is complex and may challenge how we think about it.
RACE: Are We So Different? helps visitors understand what race is and what it is not. It gives them the tools to recognize racial ideas and practices in contemporary American life.
The exhibit explores three themes: the everyday experience of race, the contemporary science that is challenging common ideas about race, and the history of this idea in the United States.
Everyday Experience of Race
Race is embedded in virtually all aspects of American life. Explore social and personal experiences of race in familiar settings such as home and neighborhood, health and medicine, and education and schools. Discover that race and racism is not inside our heads, but in fact is built into our laws, traditions, and institutions.
The Science of Human Variation
Racial and ethnic categories, which have changed over time, are human-made. We now know that human beings are more alike genetically than any other living species. Scientifically, no one gene, or any set of genes, can support the idea of race. This section focuses on what current science knows about human variation and our species' history.
History of the Idea of Race
Race has not always existed. Sorting people by physical differences is a recent invention, only a few hundred years old. Discover how the development of the idea of race is closely linked to the early development of the United States.