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The Colorblind Organization

Race, Organizations, and the Organizing Process

ISBN: 978-1-78756-492-3, eISBN: 978-1-78756-491-6

Publication date: 20 May 2019


This chapter connects colorblind ideology to organizational processes. Despite advances in our thinking about colorblindness as the current dominant racial ideology, scholars are reluctant to tie this ideology to organizational processes – creating the impression that colorblindness is an individual attribute rather than a structural phenomenon. Because the frames of colorblindness are usually interpreted through interviews – as opposed to organizational practices – focusing on the frames reinforces the sense that ideologies are free-floating prejudices unconnected to social structures. In this theoretical piece, we draw on the organizational literature, to tie Bonilla-Silva’s colorblind frames – abstract liberalism, cultural racism, the minimization of racism, and naturalization – to organizational processes, showing how mundane organizational procedures reinforce structural inequality. We argue that organizational policies and practices rely on normative Whiteness, devaluing the cultural norms of nonwhites, and passing those practices to successive administrations. Ostensibly nonracial procedures such as hiring, promotion, and performance reviews are rife with racialized meanings.



Ray, V. and Purifoy, D. (2019), "The Colorblind Organization", Race, Organizations, and the Organizing Process (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 60), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 131-150.



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