Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America” as Want to Read:
Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  2,665 ratings  ·  224 reviews
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva s acclaimed Racism without Racists documents how beneath our contemporary conversation about race lies a full-blown arsenal of arguments, phrases, and stories that whites use to account for and ultimately justify racial inequalities. This provocative book explodes the belief that America is now a color-blind society. The fourth edition adds a chapter ...more
Paperback, 363 pages
Published July 29th 2013 by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (first published June 5th 2003)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,665 ratings  ·  224 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America
Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: discourse, race
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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
some of my best friends are
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“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
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Narrated by Sean if I didn't already need a reason to listen to this one! ...more
Feb 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
I am p unfamiliar with sociological methods and such so I don't know if I can rate this on the Robustness of his Research but I do think this is a pretty comprehensive survey analysis of Word Tricks White People Use ("I don't see color!")
I also appreciate that he got Straight To The Point about eg it was almost like the New Jim Crow but more roaringly upset (NJC was like sad-can-you-believe-this and Bonilla-Silva is like SAD CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS!!)

I also think an analogous and slightly differen
Mar 30, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: academic
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. ...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
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-sciences
It is difficult to describe my thoughts on this book. Perhaps the most suitable descriptor, ironically, would be that it is "problematic." The book's premise is an interesting one; that racism is still prevalent, having evolved beyond, for the most part, the overt Jim Crow-style racism and into a new color-blind racism that makes no reference to race while maintaining many injustices and inequalities, and how that color-blind avoidance of discussing race can exacerbate this. This thesis is not w ...more
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While old-fashioned Archie Bunker racism is no longer acceptable in society (for the most part, as I type this in the Trump era), this book looks at how racism has simply become more coded. Discrimination in housing availability, in education opportunities, in banking practices, in policing, and in everyday micro aggressions has put racism under the surface and has made it much more subversive. Even the way politicians talk about issues like immigration, border security, and community safety are ...more
Lance Eaton
In this updated edition (just after Trump's election), Bonilla-Silva explores how the blatant racism of yesteryear has been replaced with a racism that is best described as color-blind racism. Color-blind racism is grounded in the idea that if people claim they do not see skin color or to act overtly harsh towards people of color, they are not racists (like white supremacists) and therefore, their actions are motivated by something else (market values, evaluations of self, etc). Bonilla-Silva du ...more
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I wish I could make this mandatory reading for everyone.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
sad to say i thought this book relied entirely too much on other people's work/writing... not that there is anything wrong with extensive footnotes/bibliographical notes, i found the constant referencing of other work to be incredibly distracting and dissonant... in a much longer tome this level of quoting, etc. would be fine, but this book rolls in at under 400 pages, and that just didn't work for me... maybe i expected more originality, or maybe i need the same facts told in ways that ar
Apr 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every "not racist" person needs to read this book so we can all once and for all get rid of the colorblind myth. The collection of interviews on race was so well done and it was so disheartening to hear that so many people harbor such lazy thinking on race. The one thing that rubbed me the wrong way was his analysis of Obama. I get the criticism, but I think part of the left's disappointment with Obama is that they thought he was someone he wasn't. I wish we could have taken him at his word. He ...more
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, race
So this is required reading for a class, but one with which I wanted to engage a bit. I like Bonilla-Silva's arguments and explanations for how "color-blind" racism and the fear of being seen as racist can eliminate discussion or opportunity to combat racism. If we all agree that "hey, we have a black president (or did, sad alas, now we have a sub-human orange one) so racism doesn't exist" then we can no longer talk about how to fix racism.

However, I personally am opposed to the discussions of
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mona Kareem
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
Jun 15, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Was really disappointed in this as I really felt like there was an important element that is in this book around the premise itself. I think there could be great dialogue starting from this but it seemed to be so heavy-handed in the analysis or supposed conclusions/proofs that I struggled to keep reading. There was no nuance or appreciation for the complexity of the questions and how and why people would respond the way they did...instead it was boxed into why they were racist for not agreeing w ...more
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The core of the book is excellent. The author's thesis is that we have moved away from what he calls "Jim Crow Racism" (what many white people associate racism with) to "Color-Blind Racism" (what many white people and our society are guilty of subscribing to). This new racism attempts to explain away non-white inferiority via weaker "morals" or "work ethic, or"cultural problems", with coded language like "most blacks are like This", rather than "all blacks are like This." Inferiority is not a bi ...more
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thorough examination of colorblind racism.
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
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 demonstrated how on ...more
Moving old notes from book discussions here. Originally posted elsewhere on September 19, 2013

This book, along with a few other recent ones on the subject, have really touched the depths of the systemic and personal racial bias and inequality in today's America. You don't have to look far these days to witness a "racial incident." I won't name them all here, but suffice it to say that the research and information in this book is hard to refute if you are even slightly open to the idea that one c
May 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook-owned
For a book on a topic that I think is so important, I was surprised by how much I disliked this. Well, perhaps "disliked" is the wrong word. I think if I were reading this as an assignment, I'd praise it as being one of the most interesting and relevant books I've read. However, because I'm reading it just for my own edification and interest, it made me a bit crazy. As someone who has studied sociology, I think qualitative assessment is important; however, as a data scientist, I hungered for mor ...more
Good for information but not for a general audience. In light of recent events this seemed like a good recommendation from the media. Author Bonilla-Silva takes the reader though how racism has changed in the post-Civil Rights era and how "color blindness" is actually not that at all. From the language to people use to the beliefs they hold he examines how racism still exists and how it continues to be perpetuated despite the perhaps optimistic views that these view will somehow fade away or die ...more
Sep 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’m not a racist, so how can I possibly contribute to racism? This is the central question explored in “Racism without Racists.” The author demonstrates that our attempt to classify people cleanly into racists and non-racists is overly simplistic, and we should instead strive to be “anti-racists”, acknowledging that we make mistakes but still remain committed to the fight against racism. Specifically, he shows how when we [especially liberal-minded whites] attempt to label others as racist, dist ...more
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
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,
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
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
Geoffrey Gordon
Many white Americans consider themselves "not racist," yet, by refusing to acknowledge how historical and contemporary forms of discrimination endow them with unearned advantages, and by believing in persistent racist tropes, they continue to support an unjust social order. Even before reading this book, I was frustrated by the mental contortions that so many white Americans perform in order to avoid acknowledging that discrimination -- past and present -- affects the life chances of minorities ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism
  • Racial Formation in the United States: From the 1960s to the 1990s
  • The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America
  • Critical Race Theory, An Introduction
  • Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America
  • When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America
  • From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century
  • Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-First Century
  • Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment
  • The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together
  • “All the Real Indians Died Off”: And 20 Other Myths About Native Americans
  • Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools
  • The Racial Contract
  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
  • Critical Race Theory: The Key Writings That Formed the Movement
  • An African American and Latinx History of the United States
  • How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide
  • Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor
See similar books…
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

Related Articles

  Discover lots of new and upcoming nonfiction reads this season with our author interviews, articles, and book lists!   Interviews with...
24 likes · 31 comments
“Whereas for most whites racism is prejudice, for most people of color racism is systemic or institutionalized.” 6 likes
“Compared to Jim Crow racism, the ideology of color blindness seems like "racism lite." Instead of relying on name calling (niggers, spics, chinks), color-blind racism otherizes softly ("these people are human, too"); instead of proclaiming that God placed minorities in the world in a servile position, it suggests they are behind because they do not work hard enough; instead of viewing interracial marriage as wrong on a straight racial basis, it regards it as "problematic" because of concerns over the children, location, or the extra burden it places on couples.” 4 likes
More quotes…