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Color-Blind Racism

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William Frey

on 7 January 2016

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Transcript of Color-Blind Racism

Color-Blind Racism:
Introduction to Color-Blind Racism
Color-Blind Racism
© Kevin C. Downs/ News Pictures/WENN.com
Questions and/or Comments?
whites have large contradictions between "professed life philosophy" and "real practice in life"
Racism without Racists | Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Page 303
william frey
November 7, 2013
"If you subscribe to a color-blind racial ideology, you don’t think that race or racism exists, or that it should exist."

"You are more likely to think that people who talk about race and racism are the ones who perpetuate it."

"You think that racial problems are just isolated incidents and that people need to get over it and move on. "
~ Dr. Brendesha Tynes
"I have Black friends, so. . ."
Racism Without Racists:
Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
Color-Blind Racism's Four Central Frames
Abstract Liberalism
Cultural Racism
Minimization of Racism
". . . and the problem is still here",

just adapted.
Abstract Liberalism
"using ideas associated with political liberalism (e.g., "equal opportunity," the idea that force should not be used to achieve social policy) and economic liberalism (e.g., choice, individualism) in an abstract manner to explain racial matters."
1) the principle of equal opportunity invoked by whites to deem affirmative action as "preferential treatment" of "certain groups."
2) "individuals" with "choices", justifying whites living in segregated neighborhoods and sending their kids to segregated schools.
"allows whites to explain away racial phenomena by suggesting they are natural occurrences."
1) Claiming that segregation happens because everyone "gravitates towards likeness," or claiming a taste for whiteness in friends and partners is "just the way things are."
- suggesting these are biologically driven reinforces the myth of nonracialism.
Cultural Racism
"relies on culturally based arguments . . . to explain the standing of minorities in society."
adapted from biological inferiority to cultural inferiority.
1) "Mexicans do not put much emphasis on education."
2) "Black people have too many babies."
Minimization of Racism
"suggests discrimination is no longer a central factor affecting minorities' life chances"
1) "It's better now than in the past."
2) "There is discrimination, but there are plenty of jobs out there."
3) Accusing people of color of being "hypersensitive," of using race as an "excuse," or "playing the race card."
Racism without Racists | Eduardo Bonilla-Silva pages 76-77
Racism without Racists | Eduardo Bonilla-Silva pages 76-77
Racism without Racists | Eduardo Bonilla-Silva pages 76-77
Racism without Racists | Eduardo Bonilla-Silva pages 76-77
Racism without Racists | Eduardo Bonilla-Silva pages 76-77
Two Data sets:
1997 survey of social attitudes of college students
1998 Detroit Area Study (DAS)
Racism without Racists | Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Page 12
“They may be your friend, but are you
It's not about race until "it's SO about race."
Gaertner & Dovidio [2005] Page 625
Dovidio, Gaertner, Kawakami, and Hodson [2002]

~ "their Black partners typically perceived that whites were less friendly than they thought they were, and Blacks were less satisfied with the interaction than were whites."
~ Found that whites who were low in explicit prejudice and high in implicit prejudice (which characterizes a color-blind racist) believed they behaved in friendly and non-prejudice ways, and the interaction was positive and productive.
~ Assessed explicit and implicit racial attitudes of white participants before they engaged in a interracial interaction and a same-race interaction.
"Research by Jackman and Crane showed that only _____ of whites could name one good Black friend."
"Concluded that very few whites "could rightfully claim that 'some of their best friends' are Black"
Racism without Racists | Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Page 36
Ongoing Reuters/Ipsos poll
Cross section [July 30th, 2013]
~ 46% no close friends
5% unsure
~10% have one close friend
Is this personal over-reporting?
why do white people refer to their "Black friends" when their individual racism is called out?
Contact Theory?
"Some of my best friends are Black. . ."
"Serve as discursive buffers before or after someone states something that is or could be interpreted as racist."
["I'm not racist but. . ."]
The "Black friend" is rarely (if ever) identified by name.
1) White people will often promote Black acquaintances to "good friends" or even "best friends"
2) Black people are often "otherized" in accounts of "Black friendship" (e.g., "these people," "them")
3) Often claimed through superficial means (e.g., work, sports, or interaction with a Black student)
4) the "friendships" always disappear when the reason for the formal interaction has ended (e.g., class, rooming, work).
Racism without Racists | Eduardo Bonilla-Silva Pages 158-159
It's not about race until it justifies white supremacy.
Where do claims of, "I am a 'good' white person" fit into this?
Racist projection onto others?
Dissociation from responsibility?
Who is deciding what is and what isn't racism?
White supremacy is dictating and has dictated this conversation, using color-blind racist frameworks to explain the current institutions and structures of marginalization and oppression (education, economic, incarceration rates, etc.).
I want to explore how/if integration and contact theory led to these current frameworks of color-blind racism and why claims of having "Black friends" are used as "racism passes" by whites.
When you hear a person say, "I have ________ friends so. . ." what is your initial reaction/response?
"If I got a dollar for every time a (white) person prefaced their thought with, "My (best) friend is __________", I'd have a lot of dollars. I want to immediately respond, "I'm sorry, but the minimum quota of __________ friends you need in order to not sound racist has increased. Please try again later."
~ EY. [Yellow/Asian/Korean-American cis-woman of color.]
"if I can, I would roll my eyes and walk away. If I'm obligated to stay, I would say something sarcastic."
~ Brian
"Reverse Racism!"
~ Brittney Cooper
~ to seem less racist.
Illustration by Gabriel Ivan Orendain-Necochea / Senior Illustrator
Disregards benefiting from whiteness.
Full transcript