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Wednesday, April 22 • 11:30am - 12:30pm
Making Race Invisible: The Anticipation of Colorblind Racism in Invisible Man

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While many critics focus on the allegorical criticism of Booker T. Washington’s philosophy of racial uplift in Invisible Man, there has not been much attention devoted to how the novel anticipates the rise of colorblind racism and how this ideology perpetuates social inequality and immobility. Through analyzing the narrator’s realization that he is an invisible man because of the racial stereotypes that he is bound to, the novel explores how race is a social construction that holds no biological basis to reality. Considering the oppressive origins behind race and its ability to distort individuality and limit opportunity in Invisible Man, it may seem as if the novel is advocating a society in which race is no longer relevant. However, while race may be socially constructed it still holds a social reality that cannot be ignored. When ignoring this social reality one falls into the trap of colorblind racism. Those who attempt to embrace the idea of colorblindness claim to see people rather than color and judge people on character rather than the color of their skin. Yet claiming that race is no longer relevant in a country that is still plagued with an enormous amount of racial inequity engenders a new form of racism that justifies this inequality as the outcome of non-racial factors. In understanding the narrator’s experiences with false generosity behind treacherous motives to maintain oppressive power structure, the importance of cultural heritage, the struggles working in the labor industry, and a colorblind organization called The Brotherhood, one cannot disregard the difficulties African Americans experience due to race. Through exploring instances in the novel that anticipate the rise of colorblind racism, it is evident that racism is not just explicit prejudice but a system of advantage that needs to be acknowledged and actively fought against.


Wednesday April 22, 2015 11:30am - 12:30pm PDT
038 Karpen Hall