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Into A Racially Color Blind America1
Into A Racially Color Blind AmericaInto A Racially Color Blind AmericaTo many Americans, Barack Obama's electoral victory was a monumental event that claimed to prove how American society has moved 'past' race and into a racially “color-blind” era. Colorblindness, in regards to race, is an ideology that asserts the best method to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity. Whether color-blind policies provide the best means of achieving racial equality remains controversial. However, using the police beating of Rodney King as the main frame of context, this essay seeks to analyze the role color-blindness plays in the politics of producing history, especially concerning the race relations between the white community and the black community. It argues that the color-blind approach to race acts as erasure to the history of minority groups by placing their experiences out of a racial context and into a race-neutral one; in the other words, racial color-blindness pretends that the racial dimension of inequality, the dimension that might eventually threaten the established racial structure, does not exist and that only non-racialsystems are at play.After the fall of the Jim Crow in the 1960s, the 1960s and 1970s landmark civil rights legislation sought to establish a race-blind standard in attempt to address the issue of racial discrimination. As stated by Chief Justice John Roberts, "the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race” (Wells, 2009); thus, law was rewritten in non-racial terms. This standard bolstered the popularity and approval of the color-blind ideology that appears to be prominent today. However, in practice, the color-blind approach to race ignores the fact that racial discrimination exists.The approach feeds on an education that many of people, especially White Americans,
Into A Racially Color Blind Americareceive; many are taught that any mention of race should be avoided because the topic of race can quickly lead to tension and controversy. However, this avoidance from thoroughly discussing race and discrimination has allowed society to ignore manifestations of discrimination and perhaps, even deluded society into believing that racism no longer exists. According to Eduardo Bonilla-Silva (2013), “nowadays whites believe racism has all but been defeated and thus makes it harder to challenge new and old-fashioned discrimination.”Bonilla-Silva, in his text “Racism without Racists,” writes about a “new racism” that has taken center stage in America. This “smiling discrimination” is the essence of color-blind ideology, as racial discrimination, veiled by a certain “politeness,” can be “explained away by a nonracial account” (Bonilla-Silva, 2013). This type of veiled racism is so subtle that “the modern forms of prejudice frequently remain invisible even to its perpetrators.” Many Americans believe that colorblindness is for the benefit of the