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Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States [Paperback]

by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)

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Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States 3.7 out of 5 stars (36)
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Book Description

May 16, 2003 0742516334 978-0742516335
Many Americans believe racism has all but disappeared, and that we live in a truly colorblind society. Yet people of color lag behind whites in almost all social indicators. They are poorer, less educated, and have less access to health care. If race has become largely irrelevant—and racists are few and far between—how can these conditions persist? This new book challenges our racial common sense, showing that new, more subtle forms of discrimination have emerged that help preserve white privilege. This 'new racism' has produced a powerful ideology of 'color- blind racism' that justifies contemporary inequities. The voices of whites and African Americans heard in this book expose how white America manufactures nonracial accounts of persistent realities like residential and school segregation. Bonilla-Silva calls for a new civil rights movement anchored in the working-class, which is made up increasingly of female and minority members. While acknowledging the obstacles this movement will face, he demonstrates why equality of results, reparations, and the end of all structures of racial discrimination are vital to America's future. Feature points: —A powerful counterpoint to the writings of widely-read authors such as D'Souza, W. J. Wilson, and Steele. —Shows how racism has been transformed into new forms. —Contrasts the experiences of whites and minority Americans —Describes how cognitive, cultural and aesthetic factors shape racial constructions and experiences.

Editorial Reviews


Color-blindness—the notion that we no longer have to take race into account in our public policies because racism has been overcome—is the ideology that currently sustains racial inequality in the United States. So argues Eduardo Bonilla-Silva in this powerful and incisive book. Only those whose minds and hearts are closed to the strong evidence of persistent prejudice and discrimination will fail to be convinced. (George Fredrickson)

An empirically rich and provocative account. Professor Bonilla-Silva has produced a study that will allow all Americans to think more deeply about how we talk about race. (Young, Alford A., Jr.)

Racism without Racists will make many readers uncomfortable, as it should. With care and a wicked sense of humor, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva explores the kind of subtle, everyday racism that some of 'our best friends' unconsciously perpetuate. (Robin D. G. Kelley)

Every generation of white Americans retools the old racist rationalizations to fit its era. With forthright directness, Bonilla-Silva exposes the current circumlocutions involving so-called 'color blindness.' (Tom Pettigrew)

Racism without Racists is one of the most clearly written and astute examinations of racial discourse to be found anywhere in the literature. (Jim Sidanius)

A tour de force probing of white racial attitudes that challenges the individualistic interpretations of leading survey researchers! One of the brilliant new talents in U.S. social science, Bonilla-Silva dissects and demolishes with his data-honed scalpel the ideological framework of 'colorblind racism' that is now dominant across white America. (Feagin, Joe R.)

This excellent book—suggested for more than just social scientists—is one of the few that provides ammunition for those who are seriously interested in breaking away from nonproductive discussions of race and ethnic relations. This is a must-read for all. Essential. (Choice Magazine)

About the Author

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva is associate professor of sociology at Texas A&M University.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (May 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742516334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742516335
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
215 of 241 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Analyzing "politically correct," neo-racist rhetoric April 24, 2005
I decided to purchase this book after reading a journal article by Dr. Bonilla-Silva in which he critiqued the tendency among some social scientists to take the "social construction of race" arguments to extreme and ridiculous degrees. For example, among some guilty white liberal sociologists and anthropologists the fact that race is a "social construction" has been misused to argue that, somehow, ethnicity doesn't really exist either and that those who claim an ethnic identity are guilty of "reifying race." This ridiculous argument is made by people who are too ignorant to realize that "race" and "ethnicity" are two entirely different concepts. Additionally, while race is indeed a socially-defined variable that differs across nations and societies and throughout time, one can not deny the social importance of race as a factor in American (or any other) society.

After reading that article by Bonilla-Silva, I was excited to take a look at "Racism Without Racists." In plain and simple language, Bonilla-Silva analyzes the racial rhetoric so common among white Americans in the post-Civil Rights era. How many times have you heard a white person utter the passive-aggressive qualifier of "I'm not a racist, but..."? or "I'm not prejudiced, but..."? Such phrases are used as intended buffers to qualify hostile, bigoted, racist, and/or angry statements about people of color - and they are used all the time. Even white teachers in my high school frequently issued these kind of prejudiced statements in class.

Another common tendency in the post-Civil Rights era is to automatically link "people of color" with "unqualified" and "whites" to "qualified." Bonilla-Silva analyzes this trend as well.
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74 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If open to understanding the minority perspective August 10, 2005
By gg
This book may annoy, irritate, and even infuriate some, but if any of these emotions arise, you might ask yourself "why do I feel so defensive?"...and I promise, you will gather a bit of enlightment. The book portrays the perspective of minority peoples in a way that will open your eyes. It IS one-sided, but not because the author is a "racist", rather, he feels (it's in his Author's Note) that enough books are written ABOUT minorities from a "white perspective" view of the world, so he thought he would write a book that showed a distinct minority perspective on "white" culture. It is not meant to arise aggression, it is written to give realizations and enhance communications between the races.
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68 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful, clearly written and argued book September 3, 2003
By Jim Lee
This is a powerful, clearly written and argued book on the nature of racism in contemporary America! I have not read many other books by social scientists that cut through the chase and tell it as it is. His claim, that there is a new game in town (he labels it "color-blind racism"), is backed up by interviews with young and old Americans. I STRONGLY endorse this book and will check out all the other books written by this scholar who represents a refreshing voice in the usually boring, pompous,
and unengaged work of academics in the USA.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book! January 21, 2006
As the author Bonilla-Silva emphasizes repeatedly, this book does not intend to blame whites for being racist. This books attempts to illustrate how whites and blacks are constructed and positioned differently in relation to the past history of slavery and the newer form of racial ideology which supports the white privilege in the age of color blindness. I couldn't agree more with many of the arguments he has made throughout the book. I think this can make a great textbook for college courses.

For white readers, the argument that the racism continues to influence racial minorities' lives may not be convincing because, as Bonilla-Silva notes, they tend to subscribe the notion that racism is a thing of the past. I wish he had provided more "empirical" and "social scientific" evidence of how color-blind racism continues to have a negative impact on the lives of people of color today to make his argument much more convincing. (Just accept the blacks' personal testomony that "racism is still pervasive and affect us" may make this book sound like one-sided).
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46 of 63 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Valid points August 25, 2006
After reading some of the reviews for this book, I was looking forward to reading it.

The data for this book come primarily from surveys of 627 college students, and 400 adults from the Detroit area and much of the book includes the verbatim responses of the survey participants. Although the author states that rhetorical incoherence is part of all natural speech, to read most of these answers is mind boggling. Not one person seems to be able to express themselves in a clear sentence without `um, I don't know, you know, I guess, it's like, you know'. It got so annoying, I ended up reading only the author's `Conclusion' at the end of each chapter.

The book contains valid points and I don't mean to diminish the author's effort, but summarizing the survey answers in a clear way could have made this book easier to read and more effective.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing and Fresh Perspective May 28, 2009
Bonilla-Silva takes on one of the most pervasive myths in our society by effectively deconstructing and points out the FACT that we have NOT reached a TRUE pluralist (AKA multicultural) society. He also shows that the only thing that's changed when it comes to race and racism in our society is how we talk about it. (Whites have especially changed in this regard.) This is a VERY useful book, esp. in the "Age of Obama."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars An honest critique from someone on the left
This book is absolute garbage. Silva greatly simplifies life in general by accusing all "white" people as being racist. How does he prove this? Read more
Published 14 hours ago by Linda Trampusch
1.0 out of 5 stars Over generalization of race, racism, and America
I fully acknowledge that racism still exists in this country and that minorities are persecuted by the general society. The author's solution to the problem? Read more
Published 24 days ago by Justin Perttu
1.0 out of 5 stars Crap
Left wing propaganda. A waste of your time. If your white and you've experienced racism you don't need a book telling you your wrong for feeling that way.
Published 1 month ago by Michael P. Umphenour
5.0 out of 5 stars Are we really color blind
This be made me take a better look at myself and knowing that we still have a lot of work to do !!!
Published 5 months ago by Sonya Thomas-Cleare
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
This book is a great book for anyone who wants to know more about the current state of racism and racial structures in America
Published 6 months ago by GODFRIED ASANTE
1.0 out of 5 stars Deficient in Basic Logic
The author's premise is that anyone who believes that racial disparities may have causes other than racism is themselves a racist. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Son Z
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent condition for used
There are no markings in this book whatsoever. Very nice for a previously used book, and especially a textbook. Read more
Published 9 months ago by holly mcgolly
4.0 out of 5 stars Racism without Racists
I have not finished the book, but so far, so good. The author draws primarily on face-to-face interviews to build his arguments.
Published 9 months ago by Larry Ventis
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic in the Field
Anyone that studies race, discourse, and colorblind frameworks should read this book. The new chapters on the Obama presidency are interesting and important.
Published 12 months ago by Michael G Lacy
4.0 out of 5 stars An honest look at modern racism in America
Racism Without Racists explores the type of racism that exists in contemporary America. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva labels this new racism as "color-blind racism" because it involves the... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Kennan
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