Colorblindness and social dominance orientation (SDO) are social attitudes that contribute to the continuation of racism in the United States (U.S.). Colorblindness encourages people to no longer see race, so when race does matter, they cannot see it. SDO reflects the extent to which people support group equality. The current study was conducted to examine if those social attitudes affected young adults (age 18–35) activist behavior against racism in the U.S. Two hundred twenty-two participants completed a survey consisted of previously validated scales: Colorblind Scale as reported by Neville et al. (Journal of Counseling Psychology 47:59–70, 2000), Social Dominance Orientation7(s) as reported by Ho et al. (Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 109:1003–1028, 2015), and Activism Orientation Scale as reported by Corning and Myers (Political Psychology, 23:703–729, 2002). The survey was distributed at a University in the Mid-Atlantic region with results revealing that colorblind attitude and social dominance orientation significantly associated negatively with activist behavior. I conclude with explaining the importance of combating colorblind ideology in the fight against racism in the U.S.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
For the purpose of this study, when referring to the U.S., the States, America, and the American society and public, it is in reference to the US population.
Question number 44 “Participate in a protest march or demonstration fighting racism and/or racial injustice?” scored .38 on the factor loading (Corning and Myers 2002) but I believed it to be an important question for the current study.
Barber, K. (2012). What happened to all the protests?: Black megachurches’ responses to racism in a colorblind era. Journal of African American Studies, 15(2), 218–235 Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/43525421.
Bell, J., & Hartmann, D. (2007). Diversity in everyday discourse: the cultural ambiguities and consequences of “happy talk.”. American Sociological Review, 72(6), 895–914 Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25472502.
Bentley-Edwards, K., & Stevenson, H. (2015). The multidimensionality of racial/ethnic socialization: Scale construction for the cultural and racial experiences of socialization (CARES). Journal of Child and Family Studies, 25, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0214-7.
Bonds, A., & Inwood, J. (2015). Beyond White privilege: geographies of White supremacy and settler colonialism. Progress of Human Geography, 40(6), 715–733. https://doi.org/10.1177/0309132515613166.
Bonilla-Silva, E. (2006). Racism without racists: color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in the United States (2nd ed.). Lanham: Rowman & Lit.
Bonnett, A. (1993). The formation of public professional radical consciousness: the example of anti-racism. Sociology, 27(2), 281–297 Retrieved from: htpp://www.jstor.org/stable/42855177.
Brown, C. (2005). Telling the truth…again: another introduction. The Politics of Curricular Change: Race, Hegemony, and Power in Education, 1, 1–11 Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/42977280.
Corning, A., & Myers, D. (2002). Individual orientation toward engagement in social action. Political Psychology, 23(4), 703–729. https://doi.org/10.1111/0162-895X.00304.
Derman-Sparks, L. (1989). Anti-bias curriculum: Tools for empowering young children. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.
DiAngelo, R. (2011). White fragility. International Journal of Critical Pedagogy, 3(3), 54–70.
Gibbons, F., O’Hara, R., Stock, M., Gerrard, M., Weng, C., & Wills, T. (2012). The erosive effects of racism: Reduced self-control mediates the relation between perceived racial discrimination and substance use in African American adolescents. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 102(5), 1089–1104. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0027404.
Gini, G., Pozzoli, T., Borghi, F., & Franzoni, L. (2008). The role of bystanders in students’ perception of bullying and sense of safety. Journal of School Psychology, 46(6), 617–638. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2008.02.001.
Gregory, S. (2010). Disney’s second line: New Orleans, racial masquerade, and the reproduction of whiteness in “The Princess and the Frog.”. Journal of African American Studies Special Issue: Animated Representations of Blackness, 14(4), 432–449 Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41819265.
Hayes, A. F. (2012). PROCESS: A versatile computational tool for observed variable mediation, moderation, and conditional process modeling.
Ho, A., Sidanius, J., Kteily, N., Sheehy-Skeffington, J., Pratto, F., Henkel, K., et al. (2015). The nature of social dominance orientation: theorizing and measuring preferences for intergroup inequality using the new SDO7 scale. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109(6), 1003–1028. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000033.supp.
Husband, T. (2010). He’s too young to learn about that stuff: antiracist pedagogy and early childhood social studies. Social Studies Research and Practice, 5(2), 61–75 Retrieved from http://www.socstrp.org/issues/ PDF/5.2.6.PDF.
Husband, T. (2011). “I don’t see color”: challenging assumptions about discussing race with young children. Early Childhood Education Journal, 39(6), 365–371. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-011-0458-9.
Jacobs, M., & Taylor, T. (2011). Challenges of multiracial antiracist activism: racial consciousness and Chief Wahoo. Critical Sociology, 38(5), 687–706. https://doi.org/10.1177/0896920511407357.
Kemple, K., Lee, I., & Harris, M. (2015). Young children’s curiosity about physical differences associated with race: shared reading to encourage conversation. Early Childhood Education Journal, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-014-0683-0.
King, M. (1963). I have a dream. Retrieved from: https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf
Klar, M., & Kasser, T. (2009). Some benefits of being an activist: measuring activism and its role in psychological well-being. Political Psychology, 30(5), 755–777. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9221.2009.00724.x.
Kretsedemas, P. (2010). “But she’s not black!”: viewer interpretations of “angry Black women” on prime time. Journal of African American Studies, 14(2), 149–170 Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41819243.
Lee, A. R. (1997). Exploration of the sources of student activism: the case of South Korea. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 9(1), 48–65. https://doi.org/10.1093/ijpor/9.1.48.
Lewis, A., Chesler, M., & Forman, T. (2000). The impact of “colorblind” ideologies on Students of Color: intergroup relations at a predominantly White university. The Journal of Negro Education: Knocking at Freedom’s Door: Race, Equity, and Affirmative Action in U.S. Higher Education, 69(1/2), 74–91. Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2696266
Neville, H., Lilly, R., Duran, G., Lee, R., & Brown, L. (2000). Construction and initial validation of the colorblind racial attitudes scale (CoBRAS). Journal of Counseling Psychology, 47(1), 59–70. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-0184.108.40.206.
Nilsson, J., & Schmidt, C. (2005). Social justice advocacy among graduate students in counseling: an initial exploration. Journal of College Student Development, 46(3), 267–276. https://doi.org/10.1353/csd.2005.0030.
McCoy, D. L., Winkle-Wagner, R., & Luedke, C. L. (2015). Colorblind mentoring? Exploring White faculty mentoring of students of color. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0038676.
Mills, C. W. (1997). The racial contract. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Ramsey, P. G. (2009). Growing up with contradictions of race and class. In E. L. Essa & M. M. Burnham (Eds.), Informing our practice: useful research on young children’s development (pp. 13–21). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.
Shingles, R. (1981). Black consciousness and political participation: the missing link. American Political Science Review, 75(1), 76–91. https://doi.org/10.2307/1962160.
Sidanius, J., Levin, S., Van Laar, C., & Sears, D. O. (2008). The diversity challenge: social identity and intergroup relations on the college campus. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.
Stevenson, H., & Arrington, E. (2009). Racial/ethnic socialization mediates perceived racism and identity of African American adolescents. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 15(2), 125–136. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015500.
Szymanski, D., & Lewis, J. (2014). Race-related stress and racial identity as predictors of African American activism. Journal of Black Psychology, 4(2), 170–191. https://doi.org/10.1177/0095798414520707.
Thornton, M., Chatters, L., Taylor, J., & Allen, W. (1990). Sociodemographic and environmental correlates of racial socialization by Black parents. Child Development, 61(2), 401–409. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8624.1990.tb02786.x.
Ullucci, K., & Battey, D. (2011). Exposing color blindness/grounding color consciousness: challenges for teacher education. Urban Education, 46(6), 1195–1225. https://doi.org/10.1177/0042085911413150.
Urrieta, L. (2007). Identity production in figured worlds: how some Mexican Americans become Chicana/o activist educators. The Urban Review, 39(2), 117–144. https://doi.org/10.1007/s1125600700501.
Williams, D., & Land, R. (2006). Special focus: the legitimation of Black subordination: the impact of colorblind ideology on African American education. The Journal of Negro Education, 75(4), 579–588 Retrieved from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40034659.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Appendix 1. Survey
Appendix 2. Sample
About this article
Cite this article
Daughtry, K.A., Earnshaw, V., Palkovitz, R. et al. You Blind? What, You Can’t See That?: the Impact of Colorblind Attitude on Young Adults’ Activist Behavior Against Racial Injustice and Racism in the U.S.. J Afr Am St 24, 1–22 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12111-019-09445-7
- Social dominance orientation
- Racial centrality
- Social attitude