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From Whiteness to Colorblindness in Public Policies

From Whiteness to Colorblindness in Public Policies In the contemporary era, as U.S. society attempts to move toward racial equality, there is major disagreement among scholars regarding the degree to which public policies contribute to inequality. Discussion of a postracial society and colorblind ideology suggests that racial discrimination has been greatly reduced, while research on whiteness and systemic racism asserts that racial discrimination remains deeply imbedded in institutions. Using three case studies involving development in Southern California, I contribute to this debate by documenting and analyzing shifts in public views toward race within the context of colorblind ideology, how those views affect public discussions and are translated into public policies, and the racial effects of those policies. The case studies demonstrate that while systemic racism continues, in the context of colorblindness, local perspectives, strategies, and policies regarding race vary widely. The cases also show how racialized space operates through the distribution of resources and struggles over exclusion. In the first case, deliberate racism and exclusion operate covertly under the cover of colorblindness. In the second case, an attempt to implement race-neutral policies generates results that favor whites because of the unrecognized racial practices embedded in institutional practices. Grassroots mobilization successfully challenges these policies through political action. In the third case, I suggest that activists take into account the influence of colorblind ideology and strategically frame their objectives and political actions in nonracial social justice terms to craft policies that take race into account because of the relationship between race and space. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Sociology of Race and Ethnicity SAGE

From Whiteness to Colorblindness in Public Policies

Sociology of Race and Ethnicity , Volume 1 (1): 15 – Jan 1, 2015

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© American Sociological Association 2014
ISSN
2332-6492
eISSN
2332-6506
DOI
10.1177/2332649214551096
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the contemporary era, as U.S. society attempts to move toward racial equality, there is major disagreement among scholars regarding the degree to which public policies contribute to inequality. Discussion of a postracial society and colorblind ideology suggests that racial discrimination has been greatly reduced, while research on whiteness and systemic racism asserts that racial discrimination remains deeply imbedded in institutions. Using three case studies involving development in Southern California, I contribute to this debate by documenting and analyzing shifts in public views toward race within the context of colorblind ideology, how those views affect public discussions and are translated into public policies, and the racial effects of those policies. The case studies demonstrate that while systemic racism continues, in the context of colorblindness, local perspectives, strategies, and policies regarding race vary widely. The cases also show how racialized space operates through the distribution of resources and struggles over exclusion. In the first case, deliberate racism and exclusion operate covertly under the cover of colorblindness. In the second case, an attempt to implement race-neutral policies generates results that favor whites because of the unrecognized racial practices embedded in institutional practices. Grassroots mobilization successfully challenges these policies through political action. In the third case, I suggest that activists take into account the influence of colorblind ideology and strategically frame their objectives and political actions in nonracial social justice terms to craft policies that take race into account because of the relationship between race and space.

Journal

Sociology of Race and EthnicitySAGE

Published: Jan 1, 2015

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