America has more equality than any country in the world and so many organizations and institutions have elected to further relegate racial issues to the past by deemphasizing race or remove it entirely from their decision-making processes. People will be hired on qualifications so everyone who wins knows they won for the right reasons.
New surveys in psychology suggest that a color-blind approach may not be as effective as people believe it is. Basically, racism may be necessary to achieve diversity. In one study, white people who avoided mentioning race in conversation were perceived as more biased by black observers than white individuals who openly talked about race. Another study suggests that people who read arguments promoting color blindness are more likely to display racial bias than people who read arguments promoting multiculturalism.
In the real world, true color blindness is difficult to maintain even between two people - even small children notice if someone looks different from them, though they are not 'racist'.
Some psychologists contend that whether color blindness succeeds at an organization largely depends on how diverse the organization already is - which means quotas. Minority applicants perceive diverse organizations that endorse color blindness more favorably than they do organizations where there is an alarming majority.
Companies can't win because some will contend that policies which promote color blindness can even lead to racial tension when they are used to support claims of reverse racism by color majority individuals who believe they are victims of discrimination.
Multiculturalism is the answer, the authors of the new paper in Current Directions in Psychological Science contend. In their idealized view of multiculturalism, racial differences are openly discussed rather than ignored. They claim that when people are encouraged to use a multicultural approach, they are better at understanding the perspectives of other people and better at spotting discrimination when it occurs. The authors acknowledge that multiculturalism isn't perfect either but they suggest that racial inequities are harder to hide — and more likely to be corrected — with a multicultural approach compared to a color-blind one.
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