Magazine article USA TODAY

Colorblindness Harms Race Relations

Magazine article USA TODAY

Colorblindness Harms Race Relations

Article excerpt

People who claim they "don't see race" when they evaluate others may think they all have similar beliefs about racial justice--but they are very wrong, according to Philip Mazzocco, author of The Psychology of Racial Colorblindness: A Critical Review. In fact, the belief in "racial colorblindness" unites people who range from liberal to conservative and hardened racists to egalitarians.

"There's never been a racial ideology like colorblindness that unites such very different types of people. Their beliefs are often wildly different. The only thing they all have in common is a general distaste for racial categories."

Mazzocco has come up with four categories of colorblindness: protectionist, egalitarian, antagonistic, and visionary. He does not believe that any type of racial colorblindness is good for society, although some of the four types clearly are more offensive than others. His model focuses on whites, but could be used for all races.

The four types are based on two variables: levels of prejudice and awareness of racial inequality. Here are the types, and where they fall on those two variables:

* Protectionist (high prejudice, low awareness). They believe interracial inequality is minimal, or the fault of minority culture. They are likely to say minorities who complain of mistreatment are "playing the race card."

* Egalitarian (low prejudice, low awareness). They want racial justice and think it has been mostly achieved. As a result, they believe discussion about racial issues no longer is necessary. …

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