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"Race Literacy Quiz - What differences make a difference?"

The Race Literacy Quiz (only a portion of which is included here) was developed by California Newsreel, in association with the Association of American Colleges and Universities. The myths and misconceptions it raises are explored in the 3-part documentary series, RACE – The Power of an Illusion, available on video and DVD from California Newsreel at or 1-877-811-7495. For more information and background, visit the companion website at 2004 issue of Poverty & Race

View answers.

1. Humans have approximately 30,000 genes. On average, how many genes separate all members of one race from all members of another race?
  1. None
  2. 1
  3. 23
  4. 142
  5. 1008
  6. We don’t know

2. Which characteristic did the ancient Greeks believe most distinguished them from “barbarians”?
  1. Religion
  2. Skin color
  3. Language
  4. Dress
  5. Hairiness

3. Members of a race can be identified by their:
  1. Blood group
  2. Skin color
  3. Ancestry
  4. Genes
  5. None of the above
  6. All of the above

4. Skin color correlates most closely with:
  1. Hair form
  2. IQ
  3. Risk for sickle cell, Tay-Sachs and other genetic diseases
  4. Geographic latitude
  5. Continent of ancestral origin
  6. Jumping and sprinting ability

5. Which group has the most genetic variation?
  1. Humans
  2. Chimpanzees
  3. Penguins
  4. Fruit flies
  5. Elephants

6. Which two populations are most likely, on average, to be genetically similar?
  1. Italians and Ethiopians
  2. Senegalese and Kenyans
  3. Italians and Swedes
  4. Chinese and Lakota (Sioux)
  5. Saudi Arabians and Ethiopians

7. Most human genetic variation can be found:
  1. Within any local population - for example, among Zulus or among the Hmong
  2. Between two populations on the same continent - for example, between Irish and Poles
  3. Between two populations on different continents - for example, between Koreans and Zulus
  4. Between tall people and short people
  5. Between the darkest and the lightest-skinned people

8. Which continent has the greatest human genetic diversity?
  1. Europe
  2. Asia
  3. Africa
  4. North America
  5. South America

9. Which of the following was NOT an important reason why African slavery first took root in North America:
  1. As non-Christians, they had no legal protections
  2. They were skilled semi-tropical farmers
  3. The supply of indentured servants from Europe was becoming unreliable
  4. They were deemed innately inferior
  5. Unlike Native Americans, they were resistant to European diseases
  6. They couldn’t easily run away


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