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Race Is/Race Ain't
The Legacy of Race
John Edgar Wideman

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Episode two looks at race in America and the meaning of the black/white paradigm in multiracial America today. The hour, co-directed by Lulie Haddad and Orlando Bagwell, weaves the personal memoirs of writers John Edgar Wideman ("Fatheralong: A Meditation on Fathers and Sons, Race, and Society") and Jane Lazarre ("Beyond the Whiteness of Whiteness: A Memoir of a White Mother of Black Sons") with the story of the King-Drew County Medical Center in South Central, Los Angeles. It examines the polarities of race and asks the provocative question, is race real? Where does truth end and collective fantasy begin? Where do private lives intersect with public concerns? And how deeply is race embedded in American history and in daily life? By chronicling the daily activities of the diverse hospital staff, the program explores how race can become a divisive factor that can incite feelings of suspicion and accusations of discrimination even in an environment where diversity is recognized as a necessary and desired reality.

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Matters of Race
Learn MoreYour ThoughtsFilmmakers
The Divide
Race Is/Race Ain't
We're Still Here
Tomorrow's America


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Who determines the meaning of difference?
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"From 1965 to 1992 and Beyond: The Context for Demographic Change in South Los Angeles"
by Regina Freer


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John Edgar Wideman, authorlisten

"What the novelist Richard Wright called a battle between blacks and whites over the nature of reality begins here, where we make up ourselves, the imagined space we preserve for ourselves and share with those others who would love us. If we're different, who decides the meaning of that difference?"

"How can we talk about ourselves without falling into the trap of race, without perpetuating the terms of a debate we can't win because the terms of the debate already contain an understanding, a presumption of winner and loser? "

"Chaos looms because race can mean everything or nothing. A denial of diversity. A claim of profound, unalterable difference between kinds of human beings. An empty word. A word bristling with the power of religious dogma and faith."
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