Race and Color Blindness: An Activity for Class Discussion

Margaret Austin Smith

Abstract


Teaching the social construction of race may reinforce racist ideas and practices embedded in institutions, ideologies, and interpersonal relationships by fostering the belief that race does not exist and as such race must not have real effects on lived experiences and on material inequalities. Such beliefs, even when well intentioned, may operate in support of power relations of the status quo , benefiting the privileged and upholding injustices. These beliefs constitute the rhetoric and practices of color blind racism. The exercise presented in these notes aims to help instructors develop a discussion with undergraduate students about the real and significant effects that the social construction of race may have upon the lived experiences of individuals and of larger social groups by illustrating the threat color blind rhetoric and practices pose to dialogue and democracy.


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