Critical Race Theory



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**Colorblindness Good**

PDB—Progressive race blindness solves


Hutchinson 2 – (Darren L. Professor of Constitutional Law, Remedies, Race and the Law, and Civil Rights Seminar at the University of Florida Levin College of Law “Progressive Race Blindness?: Individual Identity, Group Politics, and Reform” 6-2002 scholarship.law.ufl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1399&context=facultypub , cayla_)

Despite the general opposition to colorblindness among liberal scholars and Critical Race Theorists, several left-identified commentators have recently begun to challenge this conventional thinking concerning race.' 2 These progressive theorists contend that society should abandon the concept of race and that people of color should lead this effort.13 These scholars claim that the negative history of race renders it a peculiar location for people of color to center their identities."4 Specifically, the authors maintain that by clinging to race as an aspect of individual and group identity, people of color allow a construct rooted in domination to define their existence and fail to reconstruct their lives in a way that transcends the language of the dominant culture.' 5 These scholars' stated political and intellectual commitments stand in contrast to those of conservative scholars and jurists whose embrace of colorblindness has greatly restricted legislative efforts to combat the effects of racial subordination. Nevertheless, these left-identified scholars have faced criticism that their arguments ignore race's positive value-its utility as a tool for resisting racism. In response to such critiques, some of these scholars have qualified their claims. They now argue that people of color should discard race as an aspect of individual identity or group culture but should continue to recognize and to respond to racial subordination in the larger society.16 This Article responds to the advocates of "progressive race blindness" with several critiques of their central claims. [. . .] Although the proponents of progressive race blindness can overcome some of the limitations of their work, this Article ultimately argues that people of color should continue to "see" race as a dimension of both their individual and group identities


Society should forget race in order to realize equality of all


Hutchinson 2 – (Darren L. Professor of Constitutional Law, Remedies, Race and the Law, and Civil Rights Seminar at the University of Florida Levin College of Law “Progressive Race Blindness?: Individual Identity, Group Politics, and Reform” 6-2002 scholarship.law.ufl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1399&context=facultypub , cayla_)

Because they subscribe to constructivist theories of race, advocates of progressive race blindness contend that race does not have an inevitable existence. On the contrary, race is a concept that society can discard. Robinson challenges the normalization of racial identity. He contends that race consciousness provides life support for the racial category. Robinson argues that "[i]f we do not constantly and consciously meditate on it, race cannot exist. Unfortunately, we fuel this social construct with our mental kindling and intellectual logs."Christi Cunningham urges persons of color to "mourn" racial subjugation by setting aside race as a component of their personal identities.2" She contends that persons of color can and should "let die our malignant proxies for [community]," such as racial identity, and recreate identity on nonartificial grounds.22 Richard Ford makes a similar claim as Cunningham's-that race should be disaggregated from identity and culture. He argues that [olne can consistently support group consciousness for the sake of antisubordination politics while remaining skeptical of the coherence of group culture or culture-as-traditions and ambivalent or even hostile to traditionalism and the idea that the norms and practices of any group should be preserved from pressure to change. 23 Paul Gilroy exhibits a strong faith in the ability of society to transcend race. His excitement stems from the scientific discrediting of the naturalness of race. Gilroy argues that the term race linguistically implies a natural differentiation among individuals that masks a deepening crisis in racial categorization brought about by constructivist understandings of identity: [Race] stands outside of, and in opposition to, most attempts to render it secondary to the overwhelming sameness that overdetermines social relationships between people and continually betrays the tragic predicaments of their common species life. The undervalued power of this crushingly obvious, almost banal human sameness, so close and basically invariant that it regularly passes unremarked upon, also confirms that the crisis of raciological reasoning presents an important opportunity where it points toward the possibility of leaving "race" behind, of setting aside its disabling use as we move out of the time in which it could have been expected to make sense. 24 The import of social construction theories for the proponents of progressive race blindness is clear: Because human interaction and agency, rather than biology, create and re-create race, humans can dismantle and set aside their usage of racial categorization.


Empirics disprove effectiveness of racial classifications


Hutchinson 2 – (Darren L. Professor of Constitutional Law, Remedies, Race and the Law, and Civil Rights Seminar at the University of Florida Levin College of Law “Progressive Race Blindness?: Individual Identity, Group Politics, and Reform” 6-2002 scholarship.law.ufl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1399&context=facultypub , cayla_)

Advocates of progressive race blindness point to the injurious history of racial classifications as a justification for radically deconstructing race consciousness. Racial categories, they argue, have historically served as a site of violent subjugation; because these categories are artificial, chosen, and oppressive, we should endeavor to destroy them. The progressive race blindness theorists contend that by clinging to racial classification, we embrace an identity rooted in subordination and domination. Cunningham, for example, argues that "[tihe process of racing is a malignancy that infects our identities, like those who raped our ancestors and thus became our ancestors and ourselves. This trauma is evidenced by self-identification that rages against racism yet clings to concepts of race that make it possible in defining who we are."'25 Robinson takes an equally-if not more-morbid view of racial identification. To Robinson, race consciousness buys into a flawed structure in which "we internalize race's limitations-self hatred, alienation, and segregation. '26 The implications of living within the "limitations" of race are especially troubling for persons of color. According to Robinson, race consciousness breeds a culture of inferiority, victimization, and helplessness among persons of color. 27 If Robinson's claims are true, then progressive movements like antiracism should not fight for the legal and political recognition of such a psychologically destructive construct as race.


Racial classifications essentialize and alienate groups


Hutchinson 2 – (Darren L. Professor of Constitutional Law, Remedies, Race and the Law, and Civil Rights Seminar at the University of Florida Levin College of Law “Progressive Race Blindness?: Individual Identity, Group Politics, and Reform” 6-2002 scholarship.law.ufl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1399&context=facultypub , cayla_)

Proponents of progressive race blindness also argue against race consciousness on the grounds that race essentializes groups of individuals by falsely implying that they experience life at a unitary location. Ford, for example, eschews linking race and culture because he fears that this will pose problems of cultural authenticity. Framing claims of cultural oppression in racial terms risks litigating the messy question of what forms of cultural expression are legitimate. 28 Cunningham considers race a "malignant proxy" for community, 29 and Robinson contends that racial categorization oppresses and limits the behaviors and choices of blacks by rigidly defining those activities that are "authentically" black. 30 Some progressive race blindness theorists have also argued that race consciousness breeds alienation-on both an individual and a community level. Race consciousness alienates the individual from his or her "true" self, a self unmarred by the myth of racial subjectivity. 3 ' Race consciousness also separates all of us from one another by imposing artificial divisions among the populace. 32

Tensions of colorblindness inevitable


Norton et al 06- Professor of Business Administration in the Marketing Unit at the Harvard Business School (Michael I Norton, Samuel R. Sommers, Evan P. Aplfelbaum, Natassia Pura, Dan Ariely, “Color Blindness and Interracial Interaction: Playing the Political Correctness Game”, http://pss.sagepub.com/content/17/11/949.full)

Why would simply mentioning someone's race serve as evidence of bias? There is, after all, nothing inherently racist about noticing race. But in a culture where motivations to avoid appearing prejudiced are increasingly pervasive (Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986;Plant & Devine, 1998) and few labels are as aversive as that of “racist” (Crandall, Eshleman, & O'Brien, 2002Sommers & Norton, 2006), color blindness can serve as a useful stratagem: If I do not notice race, then I cannot be a racist. Certainly, noticing race is a necessary precursor to racism, but we propose that noticing race can be perceived as a sufficient indication of racism: People who do not notice race are not racist, whereas those who do notice race probably are. Indeed, noticing race does lead to the activation of stereotypic associations (Devine, 1989Greenwald & Banaji, 1995), which can in turn lead to prejudicial behavior (Correll, Park, Judd, & Wittenbrink, 2002;Dovidio, Kawakami, & Gaertner, 2002). Thus, one mechanism for decreasing bias could be simply not to notice someone's race, thereby forestalling the associations that result in prejudicial behavior. In most cases, however, perceivers do encode the race of other people relatively effortlessly and rapidly (Ito & Urland, 2003Montepare & Opeyo, 2002; see Cosmides, Tooby, & Kurzban, 2003), and such information does affect judgments, though decision makers are reluctant to acknowledge this influence (Norton, Vandello, & Darley, 2004Sommers & Norton, in press). We propose that the incongruity between trying to appear color-blind while automatically noticing color complicates strategic efforts to appear unbiased, creating an inevitable tension between efforts to achieve color blindness and actual success at doing so.
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