The Power of of an illusion

Writing Assignment #5

For your final writing assignment, I would like you to watch a video “Race: The Power of an Illusion”. The video is available through the QCC Library. In order to access the video, you will first need to access the Kanopy database. I have provided detailed instructions on how to do this below.

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The assignment will be due on Wednesday, Nov.25th but I would strongly recommend that you log on to Kanopyimmediately. If you leave this until the last minute and are unable to access the database in time to submit your assignment, you will be marked late and there will be a point deduction.

If you have difficulty accessing the video, Prof. Vikki Terrilefrom the QCC Library is available to assist you with technical issues. Her email address is


Materials for you to use:

1) Race: The Power of an Illusion (Video available on Kanopy)

2) Lecture 19 (especially the first 10 or so slides)


Important note on plagiarism

I will be strictly enforcing the rules of plagiarism on this assignment. Plagiarism is when you steal another writer’s words and present them as if they are your own. If you plagiarize you will receive an immediate 0 on the assignment. Do it twice and I will immediately fail you in the course.

It is perfectly acceptable to use short quotations from the video, but in general you will be graded on how well you answer the questions in your own words. If you use a quotation, please put the quoted words in quotation marks and include a simple citation.  For instance:


“quoted words from video” (Race: The Power of an Illusion)


You do not need to use other resources for this writing assignment, but if you do the rules of plagiarism apply to those texts also.



Assignment Questions

Answer the following four questions. Each answer should be about a paragraph in length.


1- Why do you think the video is called “Race: The Power of an Illusion”?


2- In the video a group of students test the biology of the idea of race. Explain the tests the students engaged in. Before they did the tests, what were the student’s assumptions about who they would be most like, and who they would be most different from?  What did the results of the tests show?


3- While the video suggests that race doesn’t exist as a biological reality, it also argues that race exists socially. In other words, we believe race exists and we act on the basis of these beliefs. There are many examples of this in the video. One example of this is the beliefs about race and athleticism that is discussed throughout the video.  Other examples are discussed beginning at around minute 50 of the video. Using an example presented in the film explain how race exists socially.


4- What were your beliefs about the biology of race before you watched the video? Did the video lead you to rethink any of your assumptions about race? What did you think about the idea that race exists socially? What did you find most interesting about the video? Did any of it surprise you?


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