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Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States
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Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  1,037 ratings  ·  65 reviews
The first edition of this best-selling book showed that alongside the subtle forms of discrimination typical of the post-Civil Rights era, new powerful ideology of "color-blind racism" has emerged. Bonilla-Silva documented how beneath the rhetorical maze of contemporary racial discourse lies a full-blown arsenal of arguments, phrases, and stories that whites use to account ...more
Paperback, 2nd Edition, 288 pages
Published August 4th 2006 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (first published May 15th 2003)
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A very interesting book, and one that almost feels as though it's telling you things you already know...and of course it is. It's documenting how many whites understand their reality and justify it, so if you've spent any time awake and alive in the world, much of this will sound very familiar. But I think it's good to bring a critical academic eye to it, though at times I felt it was stating the obvious -- an unfair criticism as I'm sure to many folks, all of this is far from obvious.

He himsel
Oct 31, 2007 Seven rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
some of my best friends are
“One reason why, in general terms, whites and people of color cannot agree on racial matters is because they conceive terms such as ‘racism’ very differently,” writes Eduardo Bonilla-Silva writes in the excellent first chapter of his excellent book Racism without Racists. He continues, “Whereas for most whites racism is prejudice, for most people of color racism is systemic or institutionalized.” This is really the crux of his argument: in the post-Jim Crow racial order, prejudice is frowned upo ...more
Tressie Mcphd
People are going to tell you that EBS's argument is tautological. That's not totally without merit but you have to understand that the interviews are with individuals but the argument is about culture. Culture arguments stay being tautological. LOL Hard to get around that. It's an important theoretical response to the social psych super micro analysis of racism that makes it seem as though everyone is a racist so no one is really a racist. Most importantly, EBS is a hoot to read. Third edition, ...more
I have a few qualms with this book. The biggest is that, although Bonilla-Silva claims that pathologizing the internalization of racist beliefs in moral terms is problematic, in areas of the book in which he measures subjects' responses via a standard of "purity," he does just that. Within his analysis, he also allows that the structural has an influence over the cultural but does not grant these concepts a reciprocal relationship. Otherwise quite insightful, however.
I wish I could make this mandatory reading for everyone.
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, professor of Sociology from Duke University, examines the linguistic patterns of whites in an age of "color-blindness" with regard to race. Interestingly this book was written pre-Obama, but reflects much of the "colorblind racism" in public discourse since his election. For Bonilla-Silva, racism is not personal (that is prejudice) but is the result of structural and political practices that isolate whites from people of color in residence, education, and social interactio ...more
Going into this I expected a fairly breezy mass market book, probably just from the presentation (being one of the few books at my school library not shelved as an intimidating blank hardcover helps.) But I was pleasantly surprised to see that this is actually an academic sociology book that's very meticulous about its research and evidence. It's definitely readable for anyone without a lot of that background, but you should know what you're getting into first. Bonilla-Silva gives a detailed des ...more
This is a fairly academic book, which means it goes heavy on the theoretical language at times and would alienate a general audience. Nor would it be a good pick to send to white people who tend to see things through the lens of the "colorblind racism" that's the focus of the book. I'd recommend it to people involved in activist work because the bulk of the book is about analyzing a series (two series, actually) of interviews with a bunch of people about racial issues. Patterns emerged which Bon ...more
Racism without Racists is a sociological study of why exactly it is that despite a sizeable portion of white people in America claiming that race doesn't even enter their thinking, or that they "don't see color," or that racism is in the past and things are better now, or some combination or variant of those arguments, any study of culture will reveal that there is still a huge gap between white and black people on household wealth, educational attainment, criminal conviction rate, rate of gradu ...more
There's a blurb on the back of the book that says everyone reading this title will have a light bulb moment, and I must say I agree. The author lays out his theory nicely, explaining how "color-blind" racism has replaced Jim Crow racism. He then goes on to qualify the subtle nature of color blind racism and how it can, as an ideology, affect both blacks and whites.
It only gets four stars instead of five because there is a LOT of sociology jargon, and the sample sizes are quite small. The author,
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In general, I think sociologists are annoying writers (less annoying than political scientists though). The first half of the book had an important contribution to offer regarding the rhetoric of color-blindness as depicted in the logic and speech of whites. Starting from his chapter on the color-blindness of black people, the book goes in decline with many generalizations and problematic approaches. The absence of gender in his analysis is really intolerable.
I think his claim that color-blindne
Where to begin? This book thoroughly breaks down racism as it currently exists in the U.S. The first few chapters are dedicated to clearly define the various aspects of color blind racism, what it is centered around & how it came to be in the 60's & 70's after the Civil Rights Movement. After all this a given a clear structure, he begins with the language used in our society that gives lip service to being anti-racist but actually helps perpetuate racism itself. It is clearly demonstrate ...more
I agree with every in Bonilla-Silva's book. Many will not and he writes in a highly controversial style. I guess what I am saying is that this is an important and challenging book, but I would not recommend it to a white person who has not considered his/her own racial privilege at all, yet. This is not a good first read. Yet, its central question is so crucial. If there are no racists, why is there so much systemic racism to be found in our political and social systems? This is really the mic d ...more
Written over a decade ago, based on prior (so, older) research, but at least equally relevant today (if not more so). I wasn't thrilled about the methodology of the interviews, but they added a lot as examples of how people talk when they talk about race, and as expressions of Bonilla-Silva's frames.

Very readable with intense chapter notes, adds both to pragmatic understanding and to theory.

Read this at a time when social media was blowing up with people calling one another out on the misalign
Sep 27, 2007 Tamika rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!!
this book is definitely a must read. bonilla-silva has an incredible analysis of racism in the u.s. and where it's heading. i definitely encourage everyone, especially white folks, to read this book and be open to examining how we approach race in our daily lives.
Another class assignment. Dense and academic. Definitely will challenge your perspective as a White person, though.
For anyone that thinks racism no longer exists in America, especially in places other than small rural towns.
Gabriel Oak
Bonilla-Silva gives a fine analysis of what he calls "color-blind racism," but I found his analyses of interview responses problematic in many cases. He claims to believe that racism is a structural problem, rather than a problem of internalized belief, but the analyses undermine that claim in many cases. Perhaps more troubling is the lack of any analysis of the structure of the interviews and the role that the interviewers played in soliciting certain responses (and his own role in interpreting ...more
Fantastic qualitative analysis of race in the United States.
I want to discuss this book! Who else wants to read it?
this is the best book I've read in a LONG, LONG time.
Jody Koch
I read this book for a class that I'm taking at work on being more culturally responsive in my teaching. Though prior to the book, I had heard that "not seeing color" or "being color-blind" was not good, I never really understood the theory behind it. The author explains how racism has permeated our society and even how the idea of not seeing color perpetuates it. I obviously believe that the ideas are true, but it is still hard for me to look at this macro-level problem, without bringing it dow ...more
This book looks at two different interview studies (one at three colleges that was conducted by the author, one of adults in Detroit that was not) centered on white people's attitudes toward black people, racism, and policies such as affirmative action. There is also one chapter that examines black people's views on the same. Bonilla-Silva's analysis is incisive and targets the underlying ideologies of color-blind racism, namely abstract liberalism ("everyone should be free to choose, therefore ...more
The book is definitely eye opening. I believe this book is attempting to redefine Racism so that most people would fall into the category of "Racist" and not even know it. I feel like he uses educated language to make his arguments sounds factual and truthful. His book is about the "racist" arguments themselves and not about the existence and frequency of racist acts. I would like to have seen more solid evidence for racism, so one could solve illegal problems when and where they occur. I believ ...more
This is a must read for anyone trying to grasp the ways in which racism is subtly expressed in US society, especially as we swim in a discourse of "post-raciality." I picked this up in order to understand the racism in effect in two institutions of higher learning in which I have worked in the last five years. It was very instructive and true to reality. The only area in which Bonilla-Silva fails in this study are in his attempts to draw parallels with cultures outside of the US (namely, the Car ...more
Bill Adkins
So, I read this for a class I took recently (Sociology course) and I was surprised at how much of the material seemed to be centered around how wrong white men were/are. The strange thing, looking at the information in an objective way, you can't help but to agree with most of what the author has to say. What was most disappointing, for me, was that the author spent so much time laying the groundwork, educating the reader on the history and current issues, then he never offered a solution. It wa ...more
He made some good points however I found his book difficult to slog through. I didn't expect light reading given it is a textbook however I found him verbose and most his prose was predominantly run-on sentences.

The typography didn't help. The font was small, the leading was tight and the paragraph indents were narrow.
This book was very coll because it had a lot of useful information about the state of racism in America today. I think the author's idea of using interviews to judge racism was very unique and noteworthy. Alot of people don't think about how racism is really the product of the people and how they act and not the statistics.
The book picked up in the last three chapters and redeemed itself. I found several of the earlier chapters to be boring. This was so not necessarily because of the subject matter but because after highlighting what the data said, I felt that the author didn't really make much of an argument in explanation of his reasoning for why he interpreted the data as he did.
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What were your thoughts on this book? 1 2 Feb 19, 2015 10:20AM  
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Eduardo Bonilla-Silva is a professor of sociology at Duke University.

He is trained in class analysis, political sociology, and the sociology of development (globalization). However, his work in the last 20 years has been in the area of race. He has published on racial theory, race and methodology, color-blind racism, the idea that race stratification in the USA is becoming Latin America-like, rac
More about Eduardo Bonilla-Silva...

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