Since the 1960s, many in the United States have dreamt of a "color blind" society, where we are all simply individuals rather than representatives of racial or cultural groups. In workplaces, especially, this idea has been the dominant model for encouraging diversity and inclusion.
But in their new book, The Color Bind: Talking (and Not Talking) About Race at Work, Erica Foldy, associate professor of public and nonprofit management at the Wagner School, and her co-author, CUNY's Tamara Buckley, question that premise, making a case that the "color blind" approach can actually reinforce existing racial hierarchies. Drawing on their two-and-a-half-year study of employees at a child welfare agency, Foldy and Buckley investigate race relations in office settings to show how a different strategy, which they call "color cognizance"—the practice of recognizing the profound impact of race and ethnicity on any experience—can help workers move beyond uncomfortable silences.
Read an excerpt of the book here.