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Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America

Racism without Racists: Color-Blind Racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in America

by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

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In the first edition of this best-selling book Eduardo Bonilla-Silva documented how beneath the rhetorical maze of contemporary racial discourse lies a full-blown arsenal of arguments, phrases, and stories that whites use to account for-and ultimately justify-racial inequities. In the second edition the author explored the growing Hispanic-speaking minority and the


In the first edition of this best-selling book Eduardo Bonilla-Silva documented how beneath the rhetorical maze of contemporary racial discourse lies a full-blown arsenal of arguments, phrases, and stories that whites use to account for-and ultimately justify-racial inequities. In the second edition the author explored the growing Hispanic-speaking minority and the implications for racial stratification.

In this third edition, the author continues to challenge color-blind thinking. A new chapter on Obama's election addresses the apparent miracle of a black man elected as the 44th President of the nation despite the fact that racial progress has stagnated since the 1980s and, in some areas, even regressed. In contrast to those who believe the election of President Obama is a watershed moment that signifies the beginning of a postracial era in America, the author suggests this development embodies the racial trends of the past forty years. Bonilla-Silva analyzes two of these trends: the rise of color-blind racism as the dominant racial ideology and the emergence ot an apparently more flexible racial stratification system similar to the one found in Latin America. Racism without Racists will continue to challenge students and lead to much class discussion.

Editorial Reviews

Robin D. G. Kelley
Racism without Racists will make many readers uncomfortable, as it should. With care and a wicked sense of humor, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva explores the kind of subtle, everyday racism that some of 'our best friends' unconsciously perpetuate.
Hayward Derrick Horton
In the new chapter Bonilla-Silva provides a stinging critique of Obama and the very notion that the election of a black man has a positive impact on the state of racial inequality in America. This is a powerful chapter for a very powerful book.
Charles W. Mills
As the 'color-blind,' 'post-racial' consensus hardens, Eduardo Bonilla-Silva remains one of the few voices courageous enough to tell the unpalatable truth: that a black man in the White House does not make the United States any less a house divided. Updated to include a discussion of the significance of Obama’s first term and 2012 reelection, this fourth edition of Bonilla-Silva’s now-classic Racism without Racists documents in remorseless (and often hilarious) detail the white evasions that enable white denial of the reality of ongoing illicit structural racial advantage.
Judith Blau
Every white American should have the privilege to have that eureka moment: 'Ah! Now I understand what being white means, in the most profound sense.' The entire world looks different from then on. Racism without Racists leads white Americans to that very moment of discovery.
Inc. Book News
We expect racists to be closely associated with gun racks in pickups, shirts cut off at the shoulder, and scowls, but in fact many whites in contemporary society have learned to mask their prejudice by responding to racially-charged questions and situations in veiled language. Bonilla-Silva updates this fourth edition with more examples and further exploration of what passes as normal. He examines what he calls 'the strange enigma of race in contemporary America,' and looks at the reasons why several generations of racists have prospered. He looks into the racial structure in the United States since the 1960s, central frames of color-blind racism, how people make disparaging remarks about race without sounding racist, the subtleties of racial stories, the significance of white segregation, white racial progressiveness, black color-blindness, the future of racial stratification, the enchantment of color blindness since President Obama's election, and exposes the irrevocable certainty of white color-blindness.
Each edition of Bonilla-Silva's now classic Racism without Racists has brought with it updates that underline its contemporary relevance. This fourth edition is no different: it takes a sharply critical look at Obama's reelection, and is updated wherever possible with new statistics. However, what makes this edition especially useful is an additional chapter, 'The New Racism: The U.S. Racial Structure since the 1960s.' The preface notes that this is because Racism without Racists sometimes functions as the only book on race in many college classrooms. In this new chapter, Bonilla-Silva (Texas A&M) traces the legacy of the US past into the present, exploring institutions that have helped perpetuate racial inequality and segregation in housing, education, political life, the prison system, and other areas. The author also provides a survey of various forms of contemporary economic inequality, social segmentation, and control. While no single book is likely to include enough relevant material about race, Bonilla-Silva's attempt comes very close. Displaying the author's trademark sense of humor and unflinching critique of the ideology and discourse that continue to fuel racial inequality today, this edition will be satisfying to newcomers as well to those who have already used this book for years. Summing Up: Essential. All levels/libraries.
The New Social Worker
Racism Without Racists is a provocative look at the ‘new’ kinder, gentler and smiling racism. Bonilla-Silva uses research, current events, and professional ideological position to support the presence of this new racism. . . .The book is readable, and the content is accessible, theoretically sound, and research-driven. It provides content that is essential for social workers committed to social justice and advocacy. Dr. Bonilla-Silva is an original thinker and presents a theoretical framework for understanding the ‘new’ color blind racism and the potential changes for the future. As a professor with extensive experience teaching courses on diversity and racism, I would definitely recommend this book as a text to be used by professors in a course on racism or diversity. This book will challenge students to reflect on their internal processes and become anti-racist professionals. Naturally, because Dr. Bonilla-Silva is a provocateur, students will find many of his theoretical approaches uncomfortable, but it is important to challenge the existing paradigm of students and encourage personal and professional growth and development.
Mitchell Peck
I love Racism without Racists. I use it in my undergraduate stratification course, and students are split on how they receive the book. Half love it, the other half hate it. Either way, it makes them think about race and racism. Whether the material in the book confirms their general viewpoint, or they spend time and effort trying to refute the book, the students are engaged with the material. I couldn’t ask for more.
Karen S. Glover
Students love this book—it is often life-changing for them. Both students of color and white students see themselves in this book, with each gaining more meaningful understanding of racial context in our times and what they can do for racial justice.
Viviane Saleh-Hanna
Racism without Racists is the most important book I have used to teach on racism and what it looks and sounds like today. It has consistently proven to be the most significant reading I assign. Students often say it has changed their lives and that they use it in conversations beyond the classroom and see it in the everyday interactions they have and witness on various forms of media.
Michael Omi
Having already established itself as a classic text on race and racism, this fifth edition refines and extends Bonilla-Silva’s understanding of color-blind racial ideology, structural inequality, and racial hierarchy to the pressing issues we currently confront. His engaging and provocative writing style makes the text accessible without ever diminishing the depth and richness of his analysis.
David G. Embrick
Eduardo Bonilla-Silva rocked the sociological landscape with his book Racism without Racists, providing insight about U.S. race matters in contemporary times. In this new edition, Bonilla-Silva once again confronts naysayers who continue to argue that racism is a thing of the past, or who “trumpet” that what we are witnessing is a “return of the racists.” With updated and timely new material, this is a book you’ll want to pick up for your family, friends, and neighbors!
Aldon Morris
From its beginning, America has been dogged by debilitating racism. After centuries, we are still perplexed by this seemingly incomprehensible racial crisis. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva’s new edition of Racism without Racists goes a long way in providing a penetrating and illuminating analysis of racism in America. Unlike most books, Racism without Racists offers valuable, eye-opening solutions to help guide America out of this vexing racial problem. Racism without Racists is a most valuable book for Americans in all walks of life.

Product Details

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Fourth Edition
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva is professor and chair of the Sociology department at Duke University. The recipient of the American Sociological Association’s Cox-Johnson-Frasier award and the Lewis A. Coser award for theoretical agenda-setting, he is author or co-editor of several books, including White Logic, White Methods.

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