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Color-Blind Racism

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Color-Blind Racism

"Despite the accomplishments of the Civil Rights movement for equality in the 1960’s, America still has an intense societal problem regarding race relations, and this problem hinders our ability to progress as a nation." Is the emphasis on a Color-Blind Society the answer to racism or is racism something that we will never get rid of? And what is racism?

If you look up the word ‘racism’ in the dictionary the definition it would read as follows: “1.The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. 2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.” It is important to remember that there are many forms of racism and the degree of racism varies. For many years people have been trying to find a “cure” for racism. “What exactly is the answer to racism?” is the question that is on most people’s minds these days. Some say that a colored blind society is the answer to this question. What is Color-Blind racism? Color-Blind racism is “ideology, which acquired cohesiveness and dominance in the late 1960’s, explains contemporary racial inequality as the outcome of nonracial dynamics,” according to Bonilla- Silva (2). Let me break Color-Blind down into simpler terms: Color-Blind are people who say they don’t see color when it comes to people of race they say they only judge them by their character. Most people of race see Color-Blind as an insult, which implies that there is something shameful about their color and their culture that they were born into. At its face value, colorblindness to most people seems like a good thing because they seem to think it emulates what MLK was fighting for. Which in fact colorblindness has no resemblance to MLK’s dream his dream was about total racial equality, not putting blinders on and pretending everyone is equal when in fact inequality still exists today.

In today’s society, racism is still one of the biggest social problems around the world especially in Africa, Canada and the United States. It doesn’t matter if you are full black, half black or even if you have one drop of black in you, you are going to face some sort of racism. Just look at Africa, you wouldn’t even think that they would face any type of racism, but they do, they face it just the same as African Americans do who are living in the United States. You have the white South Africans who treat the black South Africans the same as if they were living in the United States. A perfect example of this type of racism was portrayed in the movie Skin. In this movie there is a little girl whose parents are both white South Africans but because her complexion mirrored that of black South Africans. Everyone in her private school that she was enrolled in looked down on her as if she was black because of her complexion. She ends up going to court to prove that she is white but the court appealed and “labeled” her as black. Her parents of course fought back until they won their appeal for their daughter to be declared white. Even though she was declared by the courts as being white and her birth certificate stated that she was white didn’t change the way people in the real world looked upon as, they still saw her as black.

Race has been an issue for many years. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva hopes to answer two questions in his literature: “How is it possible to have the tremendous level of racial inequality in a country where most people (white) claim that race is no longer a social relevant social factor and that "racists” are a species on the brink of extinction? More significantly, how do whites explain the contraindication between their professed color blindness and America’s color-coded inequality?” In his book “Racist without Racists”, Bonilla-Silva challenges the ideas that we live in a society that is nonracist or nondiscriminatory. Because of social construction of the ideology of the race, Bonilla- Silva says that every day regular white people engage in unintentional discrimination. Racism today is somewhat different from the racism that took place in the Jim Crow era. Since the 1960s a new type of racism has materialized, Bonilla-Silva refers to it as the “New Racism”. In his book he breaks down color-blind racism into four central frames after doing a survey of college students social attitudes in 1997 along with a Detroit Area Study in 1998 (DAS) (12). He did these studies in order to help with explaining how white people see a world without racial issues. The four frames he talks about are: abstract liberalism, naturalization, cultural racism, and minimization.

Abstract liberalism is “ideas associated with political liberalism and economic liberalism” (28). The reasoning for abstract liberalism is it usually deals with equal opportunity, choice and individualism as a defense to white privilege (28). Naturalization is the frame where Bonilla-Silva believes that this frame was used “particularly when discussing school or neighborhood matters, to explain the limited contact between whites and minorities, or to rationalize whites as significant others” (36). Cultural racism frame uses the “they don’t have it all together” statement (39). Bonilla-Silva stated “The essence of the American version of this frame is “blaming the victim,” arguing that minorities’ standing is a product of their lack of effort, loose family organization, and inappropriate values” (40). In this frame the blame game is used at all times. The fourth frame is Minimization of racism. Minimization of racism is the belief of whites that race is not the concerning issue, that race is no longer a factor that people sometimes state that minorities are too sensitive. These four frames of color-blind racism give a different excuse to maintain white privilege, which is different from the tactics used by Jim Crow in his era to explain racial inequality.

This new racism “Color-Blind” is the most common form of racism today among white Americans who were born after the fall of Jim Crow in the 1960’s. Many things have come to light because of color-blind racism such as political correctness and the idea of hate speech along with model minority stereotypes.

Many Americans think that a color-blind society is the answer to racism; they see it as being helpful to people of color by insisting that race doesn’t matter. But most underrepresented minorities in America will explain that race really does matter because the color of your skin does affect opportunities, education, job income, perceptions, and so much more. I personally don’t think that a color-blind society is the right answer to racism. My main reasoning for thinking this way is because our society has really never been a color-blind society. Americans have always made race seem like



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