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Race: Are We So Different?

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Signs of a New American Identity :: 1

Signs of a New Identity, Race Exhibit

Photo Courtesy of the American Anthropological Association

Line up a dozen skin types against your own: Can you tell where black ends and white begins? Not easily, say the creators of the traveling museum exhibit, “Race: Are We So Different?” “Those things that vary [among us] are not racial; they’re a part of the range of human variation,” says Yolanda Moses, who chairs the exhibit’s advisory board.

Visitors to the exhibit learn just how illusory the concept of race is, as they view montages of faces (like the one to the right) and use a microscope to compare their skin color to others. In a simulated pharmacy, they can check their blood pressure and read explanations for higher rates of hypertension among African Americans. (Hint: the causes have more to do with inequality than genetics.)

More than 200,000 people toured the exhibit after it opened in St. Paul, Minnesota. It has since traveled to Wichita, Philadelphia, and St. Louis, and will eventually head to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The online interactive version is at www.understanding­

Ashlee Green wrote this piece for America: The Remix, the Spring 2010 issue of YES! Magazine. Ashlee is an editorial intern at YES!


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