December 4th, 2023
RSS recently recorded a podcast featuring Evan Apfelbaum, Associate Professor of Management and Organizations referencing his 2012 paper “Racial Color Blindness: Emergence, Practice, and Implications.”
While racial color blindness aims to overlook racial and ethnic differences to promote racial harmony and equality, it is often an unsuccessful strategy for making race relations go smoothly. In many cases, color blindness justifies racial resentment, creating more bias in attitudes and behaviors.
Apfelbaum adds, “It’s a very convenient and simple approach to just say it doesn’t matter and not talk about it…many people would like to live in a world in which they didn’t have to worry about race, biasing, treatment, or access to resources.”
Ultimately, denying racial or ethnic differences may be an easy strategy, but is counterproductive to identifying bias when it emerges and accepting these differences amongst individuals. Other approaches, such as multiculturalism serve as alternatives to color blindness.