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African American Forum

Color blind racism

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It is hypothesized by some scholars, such as Michelle Alexander, that in the post-Civil Rights era, the United States has now switched to a new form of racism known as color blind racism. Color-blind racism refers to "contemporary racial inequality as the outcome of nonracial dynamics."

The types of practices that take place under color blind racism are "subtle, institutional, and apparently nonracial." These practices are not racially overt in nature such as racism under slavery, segregation, and Jim Crow laws. Instead, color blind racism flourishes on the idea that race is no longer an issue in this country and that there are non-racial explanations for the state of inequality in the U.S. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva writes that there are 4 frames of color-blind racism that support this view:

  1. Abstract liberalism – Abstract liberalism uses ideas associated with political liberalism. This frame is based in liberal ideas such as equal opportunity, individualism, and choice. It uses these ideas as a basis to explain inequality.
  2. Naturalization – Naturalization explains racial inequality as a cause of natural occurrences. It claims that segregation is not the result of racial dynamics. Instead it is the result of the naturally occurring phenomena of individuals choosing likeness as their preference.
  3. Cultural racism – Cultural racism explains racial inequality through culture. Under this frame, racial inequalities are described as the result of stereotypical behavior of minorities. Stereotypical behavior includes qualities such as laziness and teenage pregnancy.
  4. Minimization of racism – Minimization of racism attempts to minimize the factor of race as a major influence in affecting the life chances of minorities. It writes off instances and situations that could be perceived as discrimination to be hypersensitivity to the topic of race.

Natural disasters

When a disaster strikes—be it a hurricane, tornado, or fire—some people are inherently more prepared than others. "While all members of populations are affected by disasters, research findings show that racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to evacuate and more affected by disasters" than their Caucasian counterparts. "During Hurricane Katrina, the large number of people seeking safety in designated shelters were disproportionately black. In addition, the mortality rate for blacks was 1.7 to 4 times higher than that of whites for all people ≥ 18." After Hurricane Katrina, many African Americans felt abandoned by the United States Government. 66% of African Americans "said that 'the government's response to [Katrina] would have been faster if most of the victims had been white.'" For a disproportionate share of the impoverished in New Orleans, many had, and continue to have, a difficult time preparing for storms. Factors such as, "cultural ignorance, ethnic insensitivity, racial isolation and racial bias in housing, information dissemination, and relief assistance" all greatly contribute to the disparities in disaster preparedness.



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