In this paper I argue that color blind racism, the central racial ideology of the post-civil rights era, has a peculiar style characterized by slipperiness, apparent nonracialism, and ambivalence. This style ts quite well the normative climate of the country as well as the central frames of color blind racism. I document in the paper the stylistic components of this ideology, namely, (1) whites’ avoidance of direct racial language, (2) the central rhetorical strategies or “semantic moves” used by whites to safely express their racial views, (3) the role of projection, (4) the role of diminutives, and (5) how incursions into forbidden issues produce almost total incoherence among many whites. I conclude the paper with a discussion on how this style enhances the ideological menace of color blind racism.
Bonilla-Silva, Eduardo. 2002. “The Linguistics of Color Blind Racism: How to Talk Nasty about Blacks without Sounding “Racist”.” Critical Sociology 28(3):41-64.
[Bonilla-Silva also has a book titled, Racism Without Racists: Color-Blind racism and the Persistence of Racial Inequality in the United States, which is worth checking out as well. The link takes you a .pdf of the full book, all 298 pages free.]