It's NOT Black or White: How a Museum Defines 'Race'

by  Cleveland Museum of Natural History

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Throughout history, genetic variation within the human species has been a source of community strength and personal identity.
It has also been the basis for discrimination and oppression. Today, geneticists and anthropologists have proven that all humans
share ancestry in Africa. In the light of these scientific breakthroughs, discuss with our educators the idea that "[Racism] is not about how you look, it is about how people assign meaning to how you look." (Robin G.D. Kelley, Historian) Humans aren’t alone in this behavior—we’ll reveal other animal
species that segregate themselves into specific cultural communities. Participants in this program will try some activities and discuss ideas that may challenge how they think about the very human-specific term,

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About This Program


Multipoint: $200.00
Multipoint Premium: $200.00
Point to Point: $150.00
Point to Point Premium: $150.00
By Request: $150.00
By Request Premium: $150.00

Discounts available for 5 or more programs booked at the same time,


One hour preferred for maximum Q & A, grades 7-12

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:

We recommend 30 or less for best participation.

Primary Disciplines

Sciences, Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference - H.323 (Polycom, Cisco/Tandberg, LifeSize, etc...)
Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Blue Jeans, etc...)

Booking Information

Sorry, this program is not currently available. To inquire about future availability, please contact Cleveland Museum of Natural History

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Provider's Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be made at least seven days before the scheduled appointment. Failure to cancel in advance will result in being charged the price of the program. There is no charge if your program is cancelled due to weather or unforeseen technical problems.

About This Provider

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Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Cleveland, OH
United States

Our Mission Statement: To inspire, through science and education, a passion for nature, the protection of natural diversity, the fostering of health, and leadership to a sustainable future.
CMNH programs address appropriate Revised Ohio Academic Content Standards in Science and Social Studies, and the National Health Education Standards.

Education Division

Program Details


1. We begin with a basic definition of anthropology.
2. Students are asked to participate in a series of 'segregation exercises' to illustrate the concepts of categorization and the assigning of values to specific human variations.
3. Students view a brief video created by a teen filmmaker that explores the messages that American society gives to African-American teens about their value and worth to society.
4. Students will look at current genetic research focusing on the similarity of all human races.
5. Time is allowed for discussion and questions.


Participants will:
Relate how science cannot support the reality of race as a valid biological concept.
Describe the scientific basis for the statement: “We are all Africans”
Describe the scientific reasons for differences in skin color.
Relate how the social concept of “race” has historically affected African-Americans and other groups.
Relate how the social concept of “race” continues to affect our treatment of others.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

See Ohio Academic Content Standards for Science and Social Studies below.

State Standards

Grade 8 Science: Life Science-Species and Reproduction

•Diversity of species occurs through gradual processes over many generations. Fossil records provide evidence that changes have occurred in number and types of species.
•The characteristics of an organism are a result of inherited traits received from parent(s).
HS Science: Biology-Heredity
•Genetic mechanisms and inheritance
HS Science: Biology-Evolution
•Variation of organisms within a species due to population genetics and gene frequency

Grade 8 Social Studies: History-Colonization to Independence
4. The practice of race based slavery led to the forced migration of Africans to the American colonies. Their knowledge and traditions contributed to the development of those colonies and the United States.
Grade 8 Social Studies: History-Civil War and

11. Disputes over the nature of federalism, complicated by economic developments in the United States, resulted in sectional issues, including slavery, which led to the American Civil War.
12. The Reconstruction period resulted in changes
to the U.S. Constitution, an affirmation of federal authority and lingering social and political differences.
Grade 8 Social Studies: Geography-Human Systems
16. Cultural biases, stereotypes and prejudices had social, political and economic consequences for minority groups and the population as a whole.
17. Americans began to develop a common national identity among its diverse regional and cultural
populations based on democratic ideals.
High School Social Studies: Social Transformations in the United States (1945

28. Following World War II, the United States experienced a struggle for racial and gender equality and the extension of civil rights.
High School Social Studies: American Government-Basic Principles of the U.S. Constitution
9. The Reconstruction Era prompted Amendments
13 through 15 to address the aftermath of slavery and the Civil War.
High School Social Studies: Contemporary World Issues-Global Connections
2. Advances in communications technology have profound effects on the ability of governments, interest groups, individuals and the media to share information across national and cultural borders.
High School Social Studies: Contemporary World Issues-Civil and Human Rights
8. Beliefs about civil and human rights vary among social and governmental systems.
10. Modern instances of genocide and ethnic cleansing present individual, organizational and national issues related to the responsibilities of participants and non-participants.