Colorblindness in the Public Consciousness

Matthew Giles


This paper explores the relationship between the public narrative created by dominant socio-ethnic groups and the people being represented in that discourse through the frame of racial colorblindness. Colorblind ideology pervades American public discourse and negatively affects social perception of race in conflict situations. Although some well-intentioned aspects of colorblind policy allow for racial diversity, colorblind ideology is insufficient to protect the rights of minorities and underprivileged groups. An analysis of the philosophy behind racial colorblindness illustrates how groups reinforce privilege and recognizes the reasons why the ideal of racial colorblindness persists despite flaws and inaccuracies. Three individual statements from key figures in Ferguson demonstrate this racial colorblindness, and at times even specifically mention colorblind ideology. This paper unpacks the cultural understanding of racial colorblindness, recognizes the perceptions and perspectives of the speakers, and demonstrates the problems that emerge when the myth of racial colorblindness is left unchecked.

KEYWORDS: racial colorblindness, narrative identity, intergroup communication, Ferguson


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