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About the Program
Race 2012, a PBS Election 2012 special, is a provocative conversation about race and politics that documents the changing face of America, and how that change may affect the country’s political future. PBS Election 2012 is a comprehensive, multiplatform initiative that comprises PBS’ on-air and online news and public affairs programs that focus on this year’s presidential race and other key national elections.
As recently as 1980, 80% of the United States was white, but results of the 2010 Census depict a rapidly changing nation, with the country’s non-white population growing to more than 35 percent. As ethnic and racial minorities continue to grow, these communities’ impact on America’s future—particularly as it pertains to politics and leadership—is increasing. RACE 2012 helps viewers gain a better understanding of America’s changing racial landscape through the lens of politics and the people who are, have been, or will be driving the country’s conversation about race.
Race 2012 looks at pivotal moments in the history of race in the U.S., notably the founding fathers’ passage of a naturalization act, and an immigration reform signed into law by President Johnson in 1965. The reform triggered an immigration wave that, on the surface, was drastically different than the wave of European arrivals in the 1890s.
The program spotlights today’s racially-charged and politically divisive debate over the integration of racial minorities into what has been America’s dominant white culture. Race 2012 offers thoughtful insight and analysis on the paradigm shift taking place in the country, and questions the model by which we view identity politics. Additionally, Race 2012 looks at the current political landscape, exploring how the two major political parties in the U.S. engage with the racial and ethnic communities that are growing in size and influence, particularly the Latino community.
Race 2012 delves into a variety of issues including how immigrants are reshaping the American electoral landscape, white voters’ reactions to their declining numbers and diminished influence, and the economic imbalance between races.
Fast-moving and non-partisan, Race 2012 draws insights on racial political history from analysts, strategists and activists on both sides of the aisle, including author/legal scholar Randall Kennedy, author Rich Benjamin, Tea Party activist Ana Puig, former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, journalist Ronald Brownstein, and others.