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Caption: Gomes de Zurara, the Portuguese inventor of blackness (and whiteness), highlighted, on The Monument to the Discoveries in Lisbon, Portugal. , Credit: Harvey Barrison
Image by: Harvey Barrison 
Gomes de Zurara, the Portuguese inventor of blackness (and whiteness), highlighted, on The Monument to the Discoveries in Lisbon, Portugal.  

The Invention of Race

From: The Center for Documentary Studies
Length: 54:00

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One-hour historical documentary that tells the story of the construction of race, and racism, as we live with them today.

Scor_ep32photo_emphasis_small This history special traces the development of racial, and racist, ideas, from the ancient world -- when "there was no notion of race," as historian Nell Irvin Painter puts it -- up to the founding of the United States as, fundementally, a nation of and for white people (despite the "all men are created equal" language of the Declaration of Independence). Relying on the work of Painter, National Book Award-winning historian Ibram Kendi, and a recorded workshop presentation by the Racial Equity Institute, host and reporter John Biewen tells a story that names names: The Portuguese writer who, commissioned by the slave-trading leaders of his country, literally invented blackness, and therefore whiteness, in the 1450s, according to Kendi. The enlightenment scientist who first divided humanity into five "races" and coined "caucasian." The black runaway indentured servant in 17th century Virginia whose capture, and sentencing to lifelong servitude, marked the first official sanctioning of chattel slavery, and the first time a black person was treated differently from a white person in the law, in colonial America. And Thomas Jefferson and Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose "Anglo-Saxonist" thinking gets a fresh look.  

Piece Description

This history special traces the development of racial, and racist, ideas, from the ancient world -- when "there was no notion of race," as historian Nell Irvin Painter puts it -- up to the founding of the United States as, fundementally, a nation of and for white people (despite the "all men are created equal" language of the Declaration of Independence). Relying on the work of Painter, National Book Award-winning historian Ibram Kendi, and a recorded workshop presentation by the Racial Equity Institute, host and reporter John Biewen tells a story that names names: The Portuguese writer who, commissioned by the slave-trading leaders of his country, literally invented blackness, and therefore whiteness, in the 1450s, according to Kendi. The enlightenment scientist who first divided humanity into five "races" and coined "caucasian." The black runaway indentured servant in 17th century Virginia whose capture, and sentencing to lifelong servitude, marked the first official sanctioning of chattel slavery, and the first time a black person was treated differently from a white person in the law, in colonial America. And Thomas Jefferson and Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose "Anglo-Saxonist" thinking gets a fresh look.  

Broadcast History

None. Compiled from several episodes of Scene on Radio podcast series, Seeing White.

Transcript

Billboard:

Music
American life is shot through with race. There’s no escaping our painful history … or the divisions and inequalities that we’ve left unaddressed to this day. But how did we get here? Was racism always part of human life … even in the ancient world?

Painter: There was no notion of race! (laughs)

So, who created race … and when … and why? I’m John Biewen … of the podcast Scene on Radio. In this one-hour special … The Invention of Race … we go back … we go deep … and we name names.

Kendi: Though he did not necessarily speak as much about whiteness, he certainly created blackness….

Suzanne: So by 1691, we have constructed race in what becomes the United States.

The story of race. How people built it … and why.

Suzanne: And if we know how we made it, / then we have a better opportunity to deconstruct, to unmake.

The Invention of Race. Coming up. Af...
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

0:00 - 1:00 Billboard
1:00 - 6:00 Blank for newscast
6:00 - 59:00 Program
Built-in one-minute break with music at 21:52 - 22:52 (27:52 - 28:52 after the hour) Outcue for break: "Stay with us."

Intro and Outro

INTRO:

Self-contained

OUTRO:

Self-contained.

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
Evergreen Sumtimes Why Used by permission. Not published 2016 01:30
One Quiet Conversation Blue Dot Sessions Free Music Archive . Free Music Archive 2016 02:30
Seikilos Epitaph with the Lyre of Apollo Lina Palera Free Music Archive . Free Music Archive 2015 01:15
Infados Kevin MacLeod Royalty Free Music. Royalty Free Music 2008 01:27
Headlights/Mountain Road Blue Dot Sessions Free Music Archive. Free Music Archive 2016 02:05
Temporal Slip Blue Dot Sessions Free Music Archive. Free Music Archive 2016 01:45
Ring Sumtimes Why SoundCloud. Used by permission 2016 :47
Curiousity Lee Rosevere Free Music Archive . Free Music Archive 2015 01:30

Additional Credits

Editor: Loretta Williams

Related Website

http://podcast.cdsporch.org