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Color-Blind Racism as a New Face of Racism in Contemporary Society


The color-blind perspective of race is widely believed to be the new face of racism in contemporary society. People who adhere to the tenets of this ideology usually claim that they do not see race and that racism is not a significant problem in society anymore. While these claims may appear to be harmless, they support existing racism and discrimination in society and prevent improvement. For this reason, the notion is referred to as color-blind racism. There are four mainframes of color-blind racism, each proposing different ideological arguments: abstract liberalism, naturalization, cultural racism, and minimization of racism. Each of these forms of color-blind racism impairs efforts to address racial inequality in the United States.

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Blatant bigotry

The primary difference between the color-blind perspective on race and blatant bigotry is in the degree to which the ideas of white supremacy are voiced. As explained in the chapter on color-blind racism, this notion deviates from the views of the biological inferiority of black people, which were at the foundation of Jim Crow’s racism. Blatant bigotry, as it is widely understood, represents people’s persistent opinions about the inferiority of people from a specific racial background. People who are considered bigoted voice these opinions without hesitation, and would usually argue relentlessly with those who try to expose their flawed reasoning or suggest different perspectives on the issue.

The ideology of racism

The color-blind perspective on race functions differently and involves obscuring the ideology of racism with logical reasoning. Hence, instead of arguing for white supremacy openly, color-blind racism focuses on supporting discrimination covertly and finding new explanations for it. For instance, the naturalization frame posits that racism is natural because people prefer to work and live with those who are like them. This implies that discrimination is inevitable and will persist despite all efforts to address it.

By suggesting that racism is imprinted in humans on a biological level, people find an ultimate explanation for it that renders all anti-racism arguments and efforts useless. The frame of cultural racism, in a similar manner, attributes racism to cultural differences. People who adhere to this view argue that racial differences exist on the cultural level, and the discrimination of certain groups in society is bound to happen because they fail to adhere to the existing cultural standards. For example, cultural racism often highlights cultural differences in work ethics and educational attainment to explain the inferior position of people of color in society. Hence, although blatant bigotry and color-blindness are both types of racism, the latter’s pattern of reasoning is different, and how it is pronounced is more obscure.

Still, the effects of bigotry and color-blind racism on society are similar. While the former actively promotes segregation and discrimination, the latter is more focused on racism evasiveness, which means that it supports discrimination indirectly. The mechanism for ignoring racial discrimination is rooted in the ideology of the color-blind perspective on race. Simply put, people adhering to this view ignore the systemic discrimination faced by people of color and attribute individual struggles to other reasons.

The frame of abstract liberalism, for instance, pushes forth the narratives of equal opportunities and liberalism, arguing that the struggles faced by people of color are a matter of personal choice. This negates the fact that discrimination is evident in all aspects of society, thus leading to racism evasiveness. Much like abstract liberalism, other frames of color-blind racism ignore systematic discrimination through various reasoning.

For instance, the minimization frame argues that racism is not as prevalent as people believe, and people of color can still find excellent educational and career opportunities if they work hard enough. From this perspective, discrimination is seen as an excuse for the inferior position of minorities rather than as a source of it.

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The attribution of struggles to individual failures, biological or cultural differences rather than systemic discrimination on various levels impairs the fight against racism and inequality. On the one hand, the color-blind approach to race makes it difficult to recognize racial discrimination. When people argue that they do not see race, they ignore their biases against people of color. The reasons for the preferential treatment of white people are thus concealed through logical reasoning that is an essential part of color-blind racism. This makes it difficult to point out people’s racist attitudes and behaviors, as they can always find logical yet unrelated excuses for them.

On the other hand, color-blindness impedes the fight against discrimination by rendering it unnecessary or useless. From the naturalization perspective, some form of segregation will always persist in society, whereas cultural racism argues that the position of minorities cannot be improved unless they change their cultural values and customs, thus shifting the focus from fighting discrimination to changing the peoples who are hurt by it.

People adhering to the frame of abstract liberalism, in turn, often oppose strategies for addressing inequality, such as affirmative action, which are unjust and should not be implemented. In this way, the ideology of color-blind racism prevents American society from recognizing and addressing racism on all levels.


On the whole, the color-blind perspective on race is different from bigotry in the way that racist attitudes are concealed, and racial discrimination is explained through logical reasoning. People adhering to this ideology often ignore the systematic discrimination evident in contemporary society and its impact on people of color. The attempt to attribute the socioeconomic status of racial minorities to personal failures, biological controls, and cultural differences leads to racism evasiveness. The veiled nature of color-blind racism and the arguments proposed by its adherents impairs the activities to address discrimination, thus supporting inequality in the United States.

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