George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Color-cognizance and Color-blindness in White America

by Tehama Lopez Bunyasi

Publication Details MORE LESS

  • Published Date: April 2015
  • Volume/Issue: 1/2


Full Title:
Color-cognizance and Color-blindness in White America
Perceptions of Whiteness and Their Potential to Predict Racial Policy Attitudes at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century

This study estimates how many white Americans believe that white identity is connected to the treatment they receive and the life chances of their racial group, and it explores the extent to which color-cognizance and color-blindness are related to the racial policy preferences of whites. The analysis uses data from five nationwide public opinion polls fielded between 2000 and 2009. Contingency tables are used to determine the prevalence of perceptions of racial privilege, racial disadvantage, and racial irrelevance, and logistic regression models are used to predict the determinant value of these perceptions on policy support. This study finds that a minority of white Americans report benefits from being white. However, whites who perceive racial privileges are consistently more supportive of policies aimed at minimizing such advantages and are more intent on securing racially equitable treatment than are those whites who believe that white identity is a liability. The analysis also finds that privilege-reporting whites are more likely to support a diversity-driven form of affirmative action than are their racial counterparts who express color-blind beliefs. Finally, this study provides evidence that whites who espouse color-blind views are more likely to support racially progressive policies when compared with whites who report racial disadvantages. The discussion advises researchers to remain attentive to the dominant population’s articulated views of whiteness and the fissures that animate their internal political differences.