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Zero Point — Historical Background



Before our study group convenes, there are a few helpful materials to set the proper historical context for our conversation about understanding whiteness and unlearning racism.



The Idea of America by Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times Magazine, The 1619 Project.



Episodes 1-4 of “Seeing White” podcast series from Scene On Radio

We will be drawing on other episodes in this series throughout our 8 weeks together. Start this week with listening only to the first four episodes.

About the “Seeing White” Podcast Series:


On one level, it seems Americans talk about race and ethnicity all the time. The news media always seem to be reacting to the latest racial “incident,” while pundits ponder “race relations” year in and year out. And yet. The premise of this series is that the American conversation about race, and the stories we tell ourselves about race and ethnicity, are deeply incomplete and often misleading. We need new stories and new understandings — about our history and our current racial and ethnic reality.

Host and producer John Biewen sets out to take a different kind of look at race and ethnicity, by looking directly at the elephant in the room: white people, and whiteness. White supremacy was encoded in the DNA of the United States, and white people dominate American life and its institutions to this day, and yet whiteness too often remains invisible, unmarked, and unnamed.

In embarking on this journey into whiteness, past and present, Biewen sought guidance from an array of leading scholars, and from professor, journalist, artist, and organizer Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika.

This series is a project of The Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and is distributed by PRX public radio.