“Much as Jim Crow racism served as the glue for defending a brutal and overt system of racial oppression in the pre–civil rights era, color-blind racism serves today as the ideological armor for a covert and institutionalized system in the post–civil rights era. And the beauty of this new ideology is that it aids in the maintenance of white privilege without fanfare, without naming those who it subjects and those who it rewards. It allows a president to state things such as, ‘I strongly support diversity of all kinds, including racial diversity in higher education,’ yet, at the same time, to characterize the University of Michigan’s affirmation action program as ‘flawed’ and ‘discriminatory’ against whites. Thus whites enunciate positions that safeguard their racial interests without sounding ‘racist.’ Shielded by color blindness, whites can express resentment toward minorities; criticize their morality, values, and work ethic; and even claim to be the victims of ‘reverse racism.’ This is the thesis I will defend in this book to explain the curious enigma of ‘racism without racists (Bonilla-Silva, “Racism Without Racists”, page 4).
Most color-blind people tend to be blind towards other aspects of race that require empathy and consideration of others who aren’t the same race as they are. The image points out that people who claim to color-blindness are essentially disregarding the hardships and very real experiences of those who have suffered from racial injustices, discrimination and oppression for being a certain race. This could be seen commonly among white people, who are usually the ones who repudiate and dismiss any existence of racism in this day and age simply due to the language of racism becoming more covert since the Civil Rights Era. Bonilla-Silva talks about how many white people will often pretend to be open-minded and pro-diversification, yet oppose affirmative action and declare that it’s discriminating against whites, or become defensive when the plight of other races are brought into the conversation – especially if it’s due to white dominance (which it usually is).