Racism Without Racists

Topics: Racism, White people, Sociology Pages: 5 (1906 words) Published: March 20, 2013
Either you’re with us or you’re Against Us
Throughout Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s Racism without Racists, he attempts to describe a new form of racism that has emerged in today’s society. Bonilla-Silva refers to this new style of racism as, “color-blind racism.” During the Civil Rights Era and other previous time periods, racism was characterized by brutal physical, verbal, and emotional battering of minority races through actions such as Jim Crows Laws and other inhumane acts. However, unlike violent-forms of racism that were practiced years ago, this new-age “color-blind racism” incorporates subtle, institutional, and apparently nonracial practices (Silva 2010). In order to counter this new form of racism in society, Bonilla-Silva explains how civilians need to become actively involved in the fight against color-blind racism. In order to actively fight against color-blind racism Silva distinguishes the difference between a non-racist and an anti-racist and the certain implications and repercussions that accompany each label. Although the transformation from a non-racist culture, to a new, anti-racist community could produce outcomes that solve racism altogether, with this transformation comes a major moral dilemma: whether receiving white privileges outweighs the moral obligation of promoting equality in society. Through this interpretation of the text, I will try to rationalize what it means to be an anti-racist in today’s world and Bonilla-Silva’s call for social movement, along with the responsibilities and moral obligations that are incorporated with both. Bonilla-Silva suggests that a major change, from non-racists to anti-racists, needs to take place in order for color-blind racism to diminish in society. The distinction between a non-racist and an anti-racist is characterized by moral obligations and active participation in combating racism. Likewise, Bonilla-Silva suggests that being an anti-racist begins with understanding the institutional nature of racial matters and accepting this stand involves taking responsibility for your unwilling participation in these practices (Silva 2010). One who claims to be anti-racist actively takes responsibility for their unwilling participation in these practices and beginning a new life committed to the goal of achieving real racial equality (Silva 2010). Bonilla-Silva suggests that the conversion to an anti-racist will be challenging because in order to fulfill the role, one is struck with a moral dilemma; whether receiving white privileges outweighs the moral obligation of equality in society. According to Bonilla-Silva, a non-racist is a person who does not actively combat against societal norms regarding race and privileges. A non-racist is seen as a passive person who does not take a personal interest in combating the “new racism.” A major problem in the author’s eyes is that white Americans are considered the dominant race in today’s society, and most people who belong to this group are unaware of the privileges that they receive just by being white. For instance, many white Americans gain special privileges regarding education, job opportunities, social contexts, and more. While these privileges positively influence whites, they also help to reinforce the racial barrier that exists in the United States today. In Bonilla-Silva’s eyes, if the white society does not acknowledge the hidden privileges that they receive, and society continues to portray waves of color-blind racism, then societal norms related to color-blind racism will circulate within culture for ages. Bonilla-Silva states that a social movement needs to take place in order to debunk the “new racism” that America is facing today. To challenge societal norms, people need to refrain from using stereotypical white ideals to justify racial issues that arise throughout life. These interpretations are widely used by whites claiming to be non-racist. Bonilla-Silva suggests that many non-racists’ often resort to...
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