Racism Without Racists

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Over the years, the face of racism has taken on many forms. In present day America, racism is a very taboo subject. It a common view that racism is not a big issue anymore, given the large strides that we, as a country have made towards equality. However, the inequalities that still exist between races point to a different situation. Instead of the blatantly discriminatory acts that our nation has witnessed in the past, modern racism practices are more covert and seemingly nonracial, making this kind of discrimination seem more acceptable and politically correct. The Civil Rights Movement forced society to implement a new, subtler way to perpetuate racial inequality. In Racism Without Racists, Bonilla-Silva describes the justification of this new nonracial racial ideology that he calls colorblind racism. Bonilla-Silva posits that this new colorblind ideology was centered on four central themes, “abstract liberalism, naturalization, cultural racism, and minimization of racism.”(p26). These frameworks provide white America with the false notion of racial equality. The first, and most emphasized frame, abstract liberalism, is based on the use of backwards ideas of “equal opportunity” and “economic liberalism” to rationalize racial inequalities (28). By using what Bonilla-Silva describes as the “language of liberalism,” whites can resist any change in the racial status quo, while seeming ethical and reasonable (28). For example, by saying “I am all for equal opportunity, that’s why I oppose affirmative action,” it is possible for whites to avoid giving minorities an advantage to even the playing field, while seeming rational and unequivocally American (47). The second frame of colorblindness that Bonilla-Silva describes is that of naturalization. This framework allows a “racially motivated” occurrence, such as segregation, to be viewed as a naturally occurring human desire to be in a group with similar attributes (37). Through this framework, racial...
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