ERIC Number: EJ722544
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Colorblind in Control: The Risks of Resisting Difference Amid Demographic Change
Educational Studies: Journal of the American Educational Studies Association, v38 n2 p99-120 2005
Contemporary scholars argue that in recent decades American racism has changed its face, away from an outright racism that is no longer socially acceptable toward a more subtle form termed "aversive," "laissez-faire," or "colorblind" racism. This ideology embraces mounting American individualism, transferring group-based explanations of disparities between Blacks and Whites to individual-based rationales. Using this ideology, Whites can appear to embrace "equality for all" while maintaining a belief in the inferiority of Black individuals. This qualitative study examines the role of colorblind racism in the rural town of Andrews, which experienced rapid and significant growth in its Black community. The Andrews school district response to its newly diverse student population was characterized by difference blindness?an institution-wide refusal to acknowledge the Black students' particular backgrounds and needs. Black students' academic failure was attributed to their personal deficiencies, a response exemplified in the high school's Classy Living and Social Skills program. Ultimately, blindness to difference and lack of a collective response served to reinforce racism in this community. Andrews schools will need to acknowledge and address the needs of all their students to stimulate academic success and true equality.
Descriptors: Ideology, African Americans, Whites, Racial Bias, Academic Failure, Racial Attitudes, Academic Achievement, High Schools, Student Diversity, Rural Areas, Student Needs, Culturally Relevant Education, Demography
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A