theoretical environment in which the United States is free from racial preference, discrimination, and prejudice
- In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. So we don’t. Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color “criminals” and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind. Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.
- Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness (2010), p. 2
- To be blind to color and colorism in this context is to license racial injustice and to ignore the historical trajectory of disenfranchisement and exploitation that have landed African Americans and people of color in a subordinate status position. ... Whites have inherited wealth that was ostensibly generated on the backs of African Americans. What's passed down through generations is an abdication of responsibility for this legacy and for the spoils that even working-class whites continue to reap from it. The situation is akin to finding a bloodied bag of money at your doorstep every month and spending it freely without seriously questioning where it came from or whose blood has been spilled to make it possible.
- David H. Ikard and Martell Lee Teasley, Nation of Cowards: Black Activism in Barack Obama’s Post-Racial America (Indiana University Press: 2012), p. 54
- This idea of a post-racial society was quite possibly the most sophisticated racist idea ever created. Because unlike previous racist ideas, that specifically told us how we should think about particular people of color, or how we should think about this particular racial group. What post-racial ideas did was it said to us racism doesn't exist, racist policy doesn't exist, in the face of all of these racial inequities. And so then it caused us to say, OK, this inequity, like, the black unemployment rate being twice as high as the white unemployment rate, it can't exist because of racism. It must exist because there's something wrong with black workers.
- Ibram X. Kendi, as interviewed by Rachel Martin in “How Racism Has Evolved Over The Last 2 U.S. Presidencies”, NPR Morning Edition, (August 14, 2019).
- Now our struggle is for genuine equality, which means economic equality. For we know now, that it isn't enough to integrate lunch counters. What does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn't have enough money to buy a hamburger?
- Martin Luther King, Jr., Speech in Memphis, Tennessee, March 1968, in The Radical King, p. 249
- The problem of the twenty-first century, then, is the problem of the color-blind. This problem is simple: it believes that to redress racism, we need to not consider race in social practice, notably in the sphere of governmental action. The state, we are told, must be above race. ... We are led to believe that racism is prejudicial behavior of one party against another rather than the coagulation of socioeconomic injustice against groups. If the state acts without prejudice (this is, if it acts equally), then that is proof of the end of racism. Unequal socioeconomic conditions of today, based as they are on racisms of the past and of the present, are thereby rendered untouchable by the state. Color-blind justice privatizes inequality and racism, and it removes itself from the project of redistributive and anti-racist justice. This is the genteel racism of our new millennium.
- Vijay Prashad, Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: Afro-Asian Connections and the Myth of Cultural Purity (2002), p. 38
- American families are in the process of passing along a $9 trillion legacy from one generation to the next. ... Hand in hand with this money, I submit, what is really being handed down from generation to generation is the profound legacy of reproducing racial inequality. The legacy is difficult to discern because the language of family heritage hides it from our political consciousness.
- If ... the tax scheme allows enormous intergenerational wealth transfers within families, some families will maintain considerable socioeconomic advantages over others, which allows them to provide better educations and better environments (both residential and familial) for their children, and their children's children. ... Even in a constitutional democracy in which each citizen has a publicly recognized claim to all the basic political and civil liberties, these socioeconomic inequalities would create an informal social hierarchy by birth: some would be born into great wealth and other social and political advantages while others would be born into poverty and its associated disadvantages. ... If, because a social scheme had the characteristics described above, the life prospects of some children were vastly inferior to those of others, it would be reasonable to regard these disadvantaged children as members of the lowest stratum in a descent-based social hierarchy. When such a hierarchy is, and has long been, marked by racial distinctions, equal citizenship, in any meaningful sense, does not obtain. In a society with an established democratic tradition, such a quasi-feudal order does not warrant the allegiance of its most disadvantaged members, especially when these persons are racially stigmatized. Indeed, the existence of such an order creates the suspicion that, despite the society's ostensible commitment to equal civil rights, white supremacy has simply taken a new form.
- Tommie Shelby, "Justice, Deviance, and the Dark Ghetto," Philosophy & Public Affairs, vol. 35, no. 2 (2007), p. 133
- Color blindness
- Economic inequality
- H.R. 40 - Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act
- Reparations for slavery
- Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (Reparations to Japanese Americans interned by the United States government during World War II)
- Racism in the United States