What is race "blindness" and how might it impact social and economic well-being of disadvantaged racial groups?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Historically, there have been two approaches to rectifying the results of racial discrimination, one involving "race blindness" and the other "affirmative action."

Race blindness involves minimizing the possibility of racial discrimination by making the race of a applicant for a position or person being judged in some other way invisible to those doing hiring, selecting, or judging. Strategies such as standardized testing in university admissions and hiring procedures that make race invisible until an interview are "race blind" strategies. Although it can benefit disadvantaged group by preventing racial discrimination, it can be unfair in other ways. For example, if a child brought up in a ghetto by a 13 year old crack-addict gets 89% on a test, and a child from a wealthy family who went to exclusive private school gets 91%, is the wealthy child necessarily better? Not paying attention to circumstances (i.e. not doing affirmative action) might disadvantage the poorer child, because an admissions staff looking at all factors in a student's life might conclude that an 89% under really difficult circumstances means more than a 91% under ideal circumstances.


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