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There is no gene for race

March 5, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University is hosting a unique technological experience starting Wednesday, March 12, that allows participants to visualize themselves with the facial characteristics of people of different races.

The Human Race Machine, a booth similar to an instant-photo booth, takes a person's picture and then digitally enhances it to show how any face would look when taking on the characteristics of any of six different races--African, Asian, Caucasian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and Native American.

WMU's Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations is making the machine available to the public in Room 107 of the Bernhard Center. Included in the exhibit is the PBS video, "Race, the Power of an Illusion," and the opportunity for participants to take a Race Literacy Quiz and engage in a brief discussion. The theme is that race is not a biological concept, yet it has been used as a social construct for centuries to justify human oppression and continues to be a powerful social concept to this day.

The Human Race Machine public availability
107 Bernhard Center

Wednesday, March 12, noon to 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Thursday, March 13, noon to 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 to 9 p.m.
Friday, March 14, noon to 1:30 p.m.
Monday, March 17, noon to 1:30 p.m.

The public also is invited to a free session from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, March 14, in 212 Bernhard Center. An excerpt from "Race: The Power of an Illusion" will be shown and educational materials will be shared. A discussion will follow focusing on educational programming, afterwhich participants will have an opportunity to use the Human Race Machine.

Additional opportunities for groups to experience the Human Race Machine can be arranged by contacting Tanya Bellamy at tanya.bellamy@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2141. The Human Race Machine is available to the Walker Institute for use by the WMU and Kalamazoo community through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and The Links Inc.

More information about the Human Race Machine is available at www.humanracemachine.com.

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

WMU News
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