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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 inequalities can be explained away by phrases such as "that's just the way it is." (37). The third frame, cultural racism, blames the social, political and economic inequalities of a group on their cultural practices. This explanation of inequality places the blame on the victim, attributing status to a culture's "lack of effort, loose family organization, and inappropriate values." (40). Finally, Bonilla-Silva identifies the minimization of racism as the last framework in the colorblind ideology. This frame posits that minorities aren't affected by racism anymore; racism is "better now than in the past." (29). Bonilla-Silva asserts that whites use these frames both separately and collectively as a way of justifying turning their backs on the realities of racial inequality.

This chapter on the framework of the colorblind ideology seems to be the most concrete and logical chapter in the book. This chapter is very well put together, with examples that cover a wide variety of topics. He also illustrates the concept of the frameworks playing into one another very well. The premise of these four frameworks as an "impregnable yet elastic wall that barricades whites from the United States' racial reality" makes perfect logical sense as an explanation for the "racism without racists" culture seen in the US (47). Changing attitudes towards race relations forced a change in the manifestation of racist ideologies.

Bonilla-Silva also discusses the style of color-blindness. He asserts that due to the change in post-Civil Rights era thoughts on discrimination, whites had to change their language when talking about racism so as to promote white privilege in a non-racist manner. He argues that color-blind racism has "technical tools that allow users to articulate its frames."(53)

This chapter seems more forced, in how Bonilla-Silva explains language as denoting racism. I think

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