Talking Productively About Race in the Colorblind Era

By Philip J. Mazzocco, Kirwan Institute Faculty Fellow
Associate Professor of Psychology, Ohio State University Mansfield

It is the year 2015. Slavery in the United States has been formally prohibited by the Federal Government for approximately 150 years. The landmark decision in Brown vs. the Board of Education recently turned 60, and race-based affirmative action was ordered into existence by Lyndon Johnson approximately 50 years ago. Finally, in 2008, American voters elected a Black president. When considered in isolation, this succession of events would appear to represent a march of progress toward a more fully egalitarian society where individual freedoms and opportu- nities are not unequally partitioned by race or ethnicity. However, it is possible to tell another story that is much more reflective of the lived experiences of Blacks in present-day United States.

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The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity was established in 2003 as a center for interdisciplinary research at The Ohio State University. The Kirwan Institute works to create a just and inclusive society where all people and communities have opportunity to succeed.