Date of Award

8-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Sociology

Committee Member

Dr. Brenda Vander Mey, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Ye Luo

Committee Member

Dr. Catherine Mobley

Abstract

Color-blindness is a sociological term that refers to a state in which race is neither “seen” nor relevant. That is, there is the assumption that all are equal, and race does not matter. Adherents of the color-blind ideology contend that in order to improve race relations, racial and ethnic differences should be ignored and, further, should not even be discussed. This study investigated the following research questions: Does adherence to the color-blind ideology differ by race? What is the relationship between racial self-awareness and opposition to the color-blind ideology? Do geographic region, attitudes toward segregation, and political ideology mediate the relationship between race and opposition to the color-blind ideology? Using data from both waves of the Portraits of American Life Study this study observed the changing attitudes to the color-blind ideology from Wave I in 2006 to Wave II in 2012, while only including respondents who participated in both waves.

The current study found that racial identity mediated the relationship between race and opposition to the color-blind ideology. Geographic region, political ideology and attitudes toward legal segregation strengthened the relationship between race and opposition to the color-blind ideology. There was a clear racial difference in response to the color-blind ideology. Blacks and Hispanics were much more likely than whites to oppose the idea that one of the most effective ways of dealing with race relations is to stop talking about race. This suggests that contemporary American society is in no way “post-racial,” and that political and social movements occurring between 2006 and 2012 have in no way erased the relevance of race.

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