In the mid 1980’s the color blind approach to racial groups was very popular. This was based on research that said people, by human nature, usually want to belong to the best group possible. Some groups are flexible while others are not; racial boundaries are one of the less flexible. By human nature we tend to believe our race is the best and our groups are the best. Social psychologists thought that if we drew attention to race that stereotypes would be formed, so it was better not to acknowledge racial groups-we were all one in the same. Social psychologists thought it would be better to ignore racial characteristics and focus only on individual ones. As more studies were done social psychologists realized racial categorization occurs naturally regardless of a ‘color blind’ approach. This approach did not reduce prejudice or discrimination.
As humans if we can not divert attention from racial backgrounds does that mean we will always be separated? Being color conscious can create tensions when different racial groups are competing for social status. Then how are we supposed to approach the subject? Many social psychologists are now leaning towards a multiculturalism approach. This approach would be based on awareness of different racial and ethnic differences. This is to help individuals understand that each group has strengths that are beneficial to society. If individuals understand how everyone places an important role for different reasons then most likely they will not feel threatened.
Sociologist Eduardo Silva has a theory of what “color blind racism” is; states that it is based on ignorance or denial of underlying structural issues. He suggests that the United States race-related issues are primarily understood in these four frames. Dr. Silva breaks this theory down into four frames. The first frame is that society tries to minimize racial disparities. The second frame is as a society we do not talk about white privilege. The third frame is talking about how racial segregation is natural. The fourth frame talks about equality but to have equality everyone has to have the same privileges. As mentioned before “color blind racism” has not solved anything so the United States among other countries need to approach things differently.
The reasoning this doesn’t work because if know one believes there are any disparities or that these things happen naturally then why make policies that change things. Then any race targeted program could be seen as unequal opportunity. Social psychologists now really believe that “color blind racism” is harmful to the racial equality movement. Early studies have just begun on color-conscious approaches and it seems to be having a more positive effect. They really work on fostering positive relationships by showing people the positive effect each racial group can have. It really focuses on appreciation of others differences and acknowledging these differences. Everyone can contribute and being different is beneficial.