Edward James Olmos on the fiction of race

Posted March 19th, 2010 by
Category: Race and Ethnicity Tags: , ,

James DeWolf Perry is a regular guest contributor. He appears in the film Traces of the Trade and is the Tracing Center’s director of research. This entry is cross-posted from James’ own blog, The Living Consequences, and the opinions expressed are his own.

Today is the first anniversary of remarks by actor and activist Edward James Olmos at the United Nations about the idea of race as a social fiction.

I posted about these remarks at the time, but I want to use this occasion as an excuse to highlight once again what Olmos had to say that day, and I’m even going to take the unusual step for me of embedding the video of his remarks here.

The reason I’m doing this is that I’ve never heard this idea expressed with more power and conviction. Each time I see this, I’m reminded of just how powerful the myth of race is, and how important it is for those in the public eye to speak the plain truth that the emperor has no clothes:

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