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Colorblind Or Simply Blind?

Blog Category: The Economics of Discrimination

Written by: *Peter A. Galick

Racism and racial inequality have purveyed nearly every facet of American society since before its inception.  On the other hand, some have asserted that we now live in a post-racial society, that is, a society that has transcended racial barriers and has entered an age of equality.  These bold assertions came into the popular limelight upon the election of Barak Obama as the 44th President of the United States.[1]   For a short time, it appeared that we, as a society, had in fact become colorblind, making Reverend Martin Luther King’s dream a reality.[2]   Then, just as publicly as America had “transcended” racial barriers, the widely-publicized case involving the shooting of Trayvon Martin made it perfectly clear that American society is still battling the demons of our shameful history.[3]   This drastic shift in attitudes has not only exposed a major issue affecting the daily lives of all Americans, but it has also lead to an extremely difficult question: is colorblindness a worthy goal in today’s society, or do attempts to discount race intentionally ignore practical realities?

Scholars have debated whether we do exist in a post-racial society, and whether a post-racial society can exist at all.[4]   I truly believe a post-racial society can exist.  While it can be said that the very notion is an impossible ideal, I believe otherwise.  What I do not believe, is that a colorblind society could exist today.  Nor do I believe that colorblindness is even a good thing were it possible in today’s society.  A conscious and informed discussion on race and racial inequality must take place if America is to ever truly transcend racial barriers. Perhaps one day, the “impossible” ideal will be met, but until that day, a colorblind society is a blind society.

 

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.

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*Peter A. Galick is the Editor-in-Chief of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race. To learn more about Peter A. Galick, click here to visit his page: Peter A. Galick
[1] See, e.g., Adam Nagourney, Obama Elected President as Racial Barrier Falls, N.Y. TIMES, Nov. 5, 2008, at A1, available at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/05/us/politics/05elect.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
[2] I Have a Dream Speech (January 9, 2012, 1:41 PM), http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/16/i-have-a-dream-speech-text-martin-luther-king-jr_n_1207734.html
[3] Bianca Prieto, Trayvon Martin: ‘We are Gathered Here Today to Demand Justice’ In Teen’s Fatal Shooting, ORLANDO SENTINEL, Mar. 14, 2012, http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-03-14/news/os-trayvon-martin-shooting-death-rally-20120314_1_shooting-death-bryant-chief-bill-lee
[4]E.g., EDUARDO BONILLA-SILVA, RACISM WITHOUT RACISTS: COLOR-BLIND RACISM AND THE PERSISTENCE OF RACIAL INEQUALITY IN THE UNITED STATES (2d ed. 2006); DERRICK A. BELL, FACES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL: THE PERMANENCE OF RACISM (1992); Neil Gotanda, A Critique of “Our Constitution is Color-Blind,” 44 STAN. L. REV. 1, 68 (1991); Reva B. Siegel, Discrimination in the Eyes of the Law: How “Color Blindness” Discourse Disrupts and Rationalizes Social Stratification, 88 CAL. L. REV. 77, 78, 84-107 (2000).
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