Producing Colorblindness: Everyday Mechanisms of White Ignorance

People in the United States live amidst a running paradox - nearly 50 years since the major civil rights victories of the twentieth century, glaring racial inequalities abound, documented in the details of achievement gaps, segregation indices, wealth disparities, and incarceration rates; and yet, white supremacy appears “the American non-dilemma”. This seeming illogicality has led scholars, politicians, pundits, and the lay public alike to a related question: how is so much ongoing inequality produced by such an absence of racists?

Many analysts argue colorblindness as the reigning ideological buttress of a historically distinct form of structural white supremacy, color-blind racism. In contrast to slavery and legal segregation, color-blind racism is theorized as covert and highly institutionalized. As such, analyses of contemporary racial reproduction often emphasize the structure of colorblindness, particularly the habitual routines and discursive patterns of everyday white actors.

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