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

3.8 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0742516335
ISBN-10: 0742516334
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Editorial Reviews

Review

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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (May 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742516334
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742516335
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,528,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
Great read. Racism in the "post racial" age is colorblind. Its "racism without racists" and it operates in 4 frames:

(1) Abstract Liberalism - says that you cannot give preferential treatment to certain groups to promote racial equality, as equal opportunity is there for all to access.
(2) Naturalization - says that people self select... people will naturally "gravitate towards like."
(3) Cultural Racism - explains the standing of minorities in society as being the result of cultural proclivities.
(4) Minimization of Racism - race is simply no longer a factor. That's ancient history. People of color are hypersensitive.

I wish I could have read this with my students, but it would have may be a bit heavy for undergrads. There are easier introductory reads on the topic, but this one is quite thorough.
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Format: Paperback
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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