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They were taught by their elders, Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers, about how to think about race and racism. The history Millennials have been taught is through that lens, with a specific focus on misunderstanding the message of Martin Luther King, Jr. That anxiety results in deeply misguided ideas about what a future of racial equality would look like. Only 39 percent of Hispanic millennials and 24 percent of black millennials agree. They were more likely to say that a continued push for racial equity is unjustified and that any failure of blacks to succeed is their own responsibility.

For Millennials, racism is a relic of the past, but what vestiges may still exist are only obstacles if the people affected decide they are. This is the deficiency found in the language of diversity. We have spent the post-Civil Rights era concerned with whether or not there is adequate representation for racial minority groups within our existing institutions, not questioning whether these institutions are fundamentally racist and rely on white supremacy for their very existence.

Armed with this impotent analysis, Millennials perpetuate false equivalencies, such as affirmative action as a form of discrimination on par with with Jim Crow segregation.


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And they can do so while not believing themselves racist or supportive of racism. One of those forces is history, and in America that is a history of white racial supremacy as the prevailing ideological commitment. Anti-black racism has been the law of the land, manifest in policies regarding housing, employment, education, and the justice system.

7 Reasons Why 'Colorblindness' Contributes to Racism Instead of Solves It - Everyday Feminism

Our potential to overcome this history is impeded by our unwillingness to interrogate it honestly. Until we do, we will not be able to reckon with the ways in which these forms of discrimination are still with us. Tolerance has no material impact on the livelihood of those suffering from discrimination and exploitation. Tolerance is not justice.

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Diversity is not always progress. Read Sep 20 Scientists gave octopuses some molly. Watch Sep 19 GOP faces identity crisis as some candidates stoke racial divide. Arts Poetry Now Read This. World Agents for Change. In some ways, colorblindness makes sense: Race can be uncomfortable — its mere mention can thicken the air with tension.

After all, this country is a big melting pot anyway. I have spent nearly 15 years in public high school classrooms, and my students — particularly my students of color — have provided a wealth of evidence that, when it comes to colorblindness, we desperately require an alternate training. However, racial oppression not to mention the flipside, racial advantage and privilege is just one dimension of race.

Like many other factors — gender, religion, socio-economic status — race is a basic ingredient that makes up our being, whether or not you consciously acknowledge its role in your life. Imagine being forced to suppress one such ingredient that you openly acknowledge and value.

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Imagine, for example, being forced to let go of your religion. For people whose faith is a fundamental part of their lives , such a thought is unfathomable. For this student, not to mention many others for whom race is a valued part of identity, what would colorblindness leave him with? Slavery depended on severing the cultural ties of stolen people. The Indian Boarding School movement had similarly devastating effects on Indigenous groups.

7 Reasons Why ‘Colorblindness’ Contributes to Racism Instead of Solves It

Colorblind ideology takes race off the table. But for many people of color — as well as for White people who work to dismantle systems of privilege — race is very much on the table. Racism forces it to the tabletop. Most certainly not these students of color, who must swallow their stories and bury their experiences.

Instead, we need an environment where such stories are heard, valued, and then thoroughly addressed. Unfortunately, colorblindness derails the process of addressing racism before it has even started. White Americans are not the only ones who adopt a colorblind approach to race but, in my experience, they are far more likely to than any other racial group.

Ultimately, however, colorblindness hurts them as well. I explore this topic in much more depth in a previous article. In it, I argue that White Americans who avoid race, a behavior that colorblindness encourages, have a skewed view of the world.

The Companion: A Short Story by Agatha Christie

After all, understanding any situation requires multiple points of view. A news story must consider various sides of any conflict to keep itself out of the editorial section. A court trial could never be considered fair if only the prosecution presented its case. A novel could never be fully understood if we only read about some of the characters.