This introductory chapter briefly describes how despite the significant shift towards racial attitudes in the United States during the past four decades—highlighted by the presidency of Barack Obama—race relations are far from reconciled. In twenty-first-century America, overt racism has been replaced by significant social changes in public attitudes towards race, yet racism persists amid divisions over appropriate social policy responses and racial inequality. In the country's determination to project the image of a colorblind America, the reality of the country's racialized differences and inequities are overlooked. The social contradictions manifested in the celebration of Obama's presidency and the disregard for the socioeconomic inequities illustrates the tensions that define post-racial America. The chapter argues that colorblind ideology must be understood as the outcome of a rhetorical strategy deployed in the wake of the modern civil rights movement as politicians continue to utilize “colorblindness” as a political tool to legitimize racism.
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