Colorblind Racism: Perception of POCs in the Media

According to Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, colorblindness is the ideology that we no longer have to take race into account in public policy because we are in a post-racism era. The problem with colorblindness is that it has created new racism practices, creating the concept of colorblind racism in our society. In a colorblind society, White people, who are not likely to experience discrimination due to their race, ignore racism happening around them and many don’t understand their highly privileged status in American society. One way that colorblind racism negatively affects our society is in the way we publicize things implicitly based on race. An example of this is missing persons and how the media portrays them. When Mollie Tibbetts went missing, the media followed it every step of the way, especially after the arrest of the suspect in her death, Cristhian Bahena Rivera, a Mexican immigrant. Mollie was described in a positive light in the media.

But after his arrest, the media portrayed Cristhian Rivera as an illegal immigrant being charged for the murder of a college student. On social media, people went as far as calling Rivera an “illegal thug” and questioned what rights he has. Also, the Trump administration used the arrest of Cristhian to further push their anti-immigrant agenda and it’s honestly shameful. I believe that the pushing of this agenda can be interpreted as a racial project because this is a large-scale effort to (in the words of Omi and Wanant) “reorganize and redistribute resources along particular racial lines”. This is also a racial project in the sense that it is indeed racist and is attempting to cause a change in social structure among American society. I think that the concept of racial identity development plays a large role in the perception of Rivera on social media because many of the people posting about Rivera being an “illegal alien” have had similar views on our so-called “immigration crisis”. With a lot of these people being White, it seems that they are all stuck in the contact stage of racial identity development because they are not paying attention to racial identity in the slightest. It is obvious that the racial ideologies about people of color are still greatly affecting us in our society and American society must change in many ways to stop the prevalence of colorblind racism.


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