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Online exhibit about race shows why the issue is more than skin-deep

LatinaLista — Race is an issue that has been the subject of a lot of conversation, especially since Arizona enacted their infamous immigration bill.

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Yet, race is not a new topic of discussion or debate.

However, since 2007, anthropologists and museum curators have been trying to present the issue in a broader context to stimulate how people think about race. The American Anthropological Association (AAA) developed the educational program Race: Are we so different? as a way for people to understand the origins and manifestations of race and racism in everyday life, and come to their own conclusion that race is a dynamic and sometimes harmful human invention.

The exhibit has been traveling around the country since 2007 but this year, there is an added push to include more cities with a replica exhibit that will be on tour throughout 2014.

But if the exhibit isn’t coming to a city near you, a visit to the online exhibit is the next best thing.

Divided into three categories: History, Human Variation and Lived Experience, the exhibit does an excellent job of informing visitors of the history of race, answering questions like “Why people have different skin color?” and even presenting online games to simulate how it feels to be a person of a different race.

Developers of the online exhibit created downloadable guides for teachers and families to use when discussing the issue with children. There’s even a handy glossary that clarifies terms often used when discussing race.

As much as the exhibit touts how it teaches about the reality of race, it also stresses how it reveals the “unreality” of race as well.


Race: a recent idea created by western Europeans following exploration across the world to account for differences among people and justify colonization, conquest, enslavement, and social hierarchy among humans.

The term is used to refer to groupings of people according to common origin or background and associated with perceived biological markers. Among humans there are no races except the human race.

In biology, the term has limited use, usually associated with organisms or populations that are able to interbreed. Ideas about race are culturally and socially transmitted and form the basis of racism, racial classification and often complex racial identities.


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