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Matters of Race

Matters of Race

This series challenges its audience to reconsider the architecture of race, its role in American democracy and its relationship to power in America. Using personal memoirs, autobiographies, interviews and letters from several leading authors, the series explores the complex demands of the country's rapidly changing multiracial and multicultural society. Through the voices and stories of Americans young and old, "Matters of Race" shows how lessons from that struggle can inform the way citizens imagine the new America and how they prepare society and themselves for the next century.

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  • The Divide (#101)

    Ten years ago, Siler City, North Carolina, was a black and white town of segregated communities with a shared geography and an unsettled history. This quiet, rural southern town is a "laboratory" for the national transformation that is fundamentally altering America's sense of itself. The program addresses the following questions: how does rapid change in racial demographics affect small-town America? What happens when white people and white culture no longer dominate? What visions of the future do residents have? Does the future more closely resemble the country's racialized and segregated past? Is America going back to the future? Or is the nation seeing the declining significance of race? Utilizing the writing of Eric Liu and Ruben Martinez and directed by John Valadez, the first hour explores the power and identity in small-town America. [85 minutes]

  • We're Still Here/Tomorrow's America (#103)

    This episode is a contemporary look at two communities often overlooked in the race dialogue: American Indians and Native Hawaiians. On the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, the program features the voices of three generations of Lakota families as they consider their past, their future and the process of merging multiple world views, ways of life and ideas of America. Through the stories of these families the film considers the historical construction of Indian "otherness" and its influence on the ways a new generation of Lakota people will address issues of unemployment, alchohol, domestic abuse and apathy ravaging their community. Meanwhile, across the Pacific Ocean, beginning in the late 1990s, lawsuit after lawsuit challenged the rights of Native Hawaiians to run schools and housing programs that provided only for their beleaguered community. Having been accused of reverse-racism, how do they see themselves in relation to the rest of the nation? And what are their connections to the Native communities? These are the questions explored in this film. [58 minutes]

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