Racial & Ethnic Minorities Film Power of an Illusion Question

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SOCI 3422 – Racial & Ethnic Minorities


For this assignment, you should watch Race: The Power of an Illusion, Episode 1 – The Difference Between Us.

To use the streaming service provided by The University of Memphis, go to memphis.kanopy.com (Links to an external site.). (Links to an external site.) You will need to create an account using your memphis.edu credentials. This is a FREE service provided by UofM. You do not need to pay for it! It is basically like Netflix for documentaries, but the university pays for our subscription. Find the University of Memphis from the list of subscribers. Use your memphis.edu email to create your account. Follow the steps promoted by kanopy.com to set up your account.

Then, search for Race: The Power of an Illusion.


You should write your reflection after viewing Episode 1. Prompts to help you with your reflection are on the next page. Reflections should incorporate the knowledge and vocabulary about race you have gained from this class, as well as details from the film. That is, you should take the perspective of a sociologist and use sociological terms from the text in your reflection. Use the prompts on the following page to guide your reflection.

Your reflection should be at least 2 to 3 full pages of text, double-spaced, with one-inch margins on all sides. Write your reflection in paragraph format, not bullet points. Use a standard 12-point font like Arial or Times New Roman. Please be sure to proofread your essay before submitting.

Due by Sunday, by 11:59pm CST.

No late work will be accepted.

Upload your completed reflection. Each reflection should be your own original work created specifically for the purposes of this assignment. Your essay will be submitted through the university’s plagiarism software. Reflections written for other classes may not be submitted for credit. Reflections found to be in violation of this policy will receive a zero.

It is your responsibility that the correct file is uploaded. I will only grade the file you upload to the dropbox. Double-check that you upload the correct file. Save your reflection on your computer as something specific to this class and assignment. Do not use any special characters (such as ? # ! $ &) in the file name.

Save your file as a .doc, .docx, or .pdf. Other file types will not be accepted.

Episode Description & Reflection Prompts: Race: The Power of an Illusion

Note: You do not have to answer each of these reflection prompts. Just use them to get you thinking. The questions are based on Race: The Power of an Illusion Discussion Guide (2003).

Episode 1 – The Difference Between Us: The Difference Between Us examines the contemporary science – including genetics – that challenges our common sense assumptions that human beings can be bundled into three or four fundamentally different groups according to their physical traits.

Reflection Prompts:

  • What is the difference between a biological and a social view of race?
  • Why is it impossible to use biological characteristics to sort people into consistent races?
  • What kinds of biological differences were early scientists looking for to suggest that people of different races are fundamentally different?
  • Who has benefited from the belief that we can sort people according to race and that there are natural or biologically based differences between racial groups?
  • “Just because race isn’t something biological, that doesn’t mean it’s not real.” What are some of the real social consequences of race?
  • Anthropologist Alan Goodman says that “to understand why the idea of race is a biological myth requires a major paradigm shift.” Do you agree? Did the film present anything that shifted your thinking in major way? If so, what? Is it difficult to make this shift? Why?

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