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The Order of Myths

D: Margaret Brown

Cultural attitudes change over centuries and decades, spurred by such things as new experiences, the acquisition of knowledge, and the force of law. Racism in America is one of those things that have mutated over time; prejudice is now expressed in less overt terms and is often so cloaked or buried in habit as to be unapparent to the perpetuator. Many of our most treasured customs are mired in the residue of the past and inherit now watered-down prejudices as part of the tradition. These rituals are what Brown zeroes in on as she brings her cameras to her hometown of Mobile, Ala., which is the proud host of America's oldest Mardi Gras celebrations. Racially segregated by custom (and lingering desire), the city's mystic societies, with their elaborate parades and masquerade balls, are maintained discretely by their Caucasian and African-American participants. Brown insightfully probes the various self-delusions that reside beneath the veneer of contentment with these separate-but-equal traditions.

Thursday, March 13, 11am, Alamo Ritz

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