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‘Difficult Conversation Series’ at PNA takes on social construct of race

The Phinney Neighborhood Association is introducing a “Difficult Conversations Series,” a free three-part series
discussing the social construction of race. Attendees will start of by viewing California Newsreel’s documentary,
Race: The Power of an Illusion.”

The series is from 7-8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Sept. 30, Oct. 14 and Nov. 18. You can register for the free series here.

It’s often hard to talk about race, especially when you’re an individual who identifies as white.

Race is an idea individually experienced in various ways, the construction of this idea has shaped U.S. history and continues to have major consequences for many Americans today.

Watch a screening of Race: The Power of an Illusion, followed by a discussion of current events, the social construction of race, and a brief history of race relations in Seattle. Come explore your own thoughts and experiences on this difficult, and sometimes uncomfortable topic.

This is a 3-part class, laying the foundation for a discussion on how race, including “whiteness” is an idea, a social construct, but with real consequences.

Each class will focus on one facet of race: the science, history, and social context of race as an idea.

Wednesday, 9/30, 7-8:30 pm: The Difference Between Us examines our genetic and scientific assumptions about race. How different are we, and how have those differences shaped our beliefs?

Wednesday, 10/14, 7-8:30 pm: The Story We Tell dives into the roots of our conceptualization of race. What makes race in America different from other countries, and how did this idea shape the modern world?

Wednesday, 11/18, 7-8:30 pm: The House We Live In explores how our assumptions about race formed systems and policies creating inequalities in our society today. With the election of our first black President, can we say we are living in a post-racial society, or are there systems in place ensuring the privilege of some at the expense of others?

Phinney Books and the PNA are putting together a related-reading list for the discussions. Most of those books will be available at the bookstore, 7405 Greenwood Ave. N.

The Difficult Conversations Series will resume in January with more workshops on what we all can do about racial equality.