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Race in America: What has and hasn't changed since Martin Luther King?

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December 8, 2006

Race in America: What has and hasn't changed since Martin Luther King?

The American Anthropological Association (AAA) will host a media event Jan. 10 focused on race in the United States and what has and hasn't changed since Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech and the Civil Rights Era. The media event coincides with the world premiere of a provocative and pioneering public education program called RACE: Are We So Different?™. The program, developed by the AAA with funding from the Ford Foundation and National Science Foundation, will offer a fresh look at the history, science and lived experience of race and racism in the U.S.

RACE: Are We So Different?™ aims to help individuals of all ages better understand the origins and manifestation of race and racism in everyday life by investigating race and human variation through the framework of science and the humanities. The RACE public education program will include a 5,000-square-foot traveling museum exhibit, a public Web site, educational materials and public programming.

The exhibit will debut in January at the museum that produced it - the Science Museum of Minnesota. Exhibit features include interactive experiences for visitors to learn about the history of race, the role of science in that history, and the subtle and obtrusive expressions of race and racism in our institutions and daily lives.

Three main themes await visitors to the exhibit as well as the project's Web site and public programming events:

The media event will begin at 10 a.m. with a brief welcome and walk through of the RACE exhibit and introduction to the Web site and educational materials. A media briefing will follow at 11 a.m. Lunch at 12:00 p.m. (noon) will follow the briefing.

At the briefing, scientists, scholars and others will be on hand to discuss the recent history of the idea of race, the role of science in shaping the notion of race and perpetuating race science, the changing nature of race reflected in the U.S. Census, the disparities in health and education resulting from racism, and the ways in which race and racism continue to influence U.S. immigration and other policies. For example:

For more information about AAA's RACE program, contact Peggy Overbey, principal investigator and project director, at 703-528-1902.

Founded in 1902, the American Anthropological Association is the world's largest professional organization of anthropologists and others interested in anthropology, with an average annual membership of more than 10,000. The Arlington, VA-based association represents all specialties within anthropology - cultural anthropology, biological (or physical) anthropology, archaeology, linguistics and applied anthropology.

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