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

4.2  ·  Rating details ·  1,480 Ratings  ·  77 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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Mar 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Recommends it for: everyone
some of my best friends are
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“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
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
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
Dec 17, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Mar 30, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could make this mandatory reading for everyone.
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
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,
منى كريم
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
I want to discuss this book! Who else wants to read it?
Jul 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic qualitative analysis of race in the United States.
Mar 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
Another class assignment. Dense and academic. Definitely will challenge your perspective as a White person, though.
Jan 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
For anyone that thinks racism no longer exists in America, especially in places other than small rural towns.
Feb 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is the best book I've read in a LONG, LONG time.
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
Aug 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although very academic in tone, I really enjoyed this book. Bonilla-Silva explores the semantic gymnastics of color-blind racism with studies and actual interviews with whites. It's on its fifth edition, which is pretty telling, and is updated to include analyses of the Obama era and our current Trump era. I especially enjoyed the final two chapters, as Bonilla-Silva offers more of his own commentary. The other chapters are much more objective. I hope that he intersperses more of his opinions af ...more
Stacey Richardson
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this analysis. I would be interested to know how the data would change with a larger investigative sample.
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very academic at times but an important read for all white people.
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Bill Adkins
Aug 31, 2014 rated it liked it
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
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What were your thoughts on this book? 1 5 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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“Whereas for most whites racism is prejudice, for most people of color racism is systemic or institutionalized.” 1 likes
“If race disappears as a category of official division, as it has in most of the world, this will facilitate the emergence of a plural racial order where the groups exist in practice but are not official recognized - and anyone trying to address racial division is likely to be chided for racializing the population.” 0 likes
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