Color-Blind Racism among Non-poor Latinos in a Redeveloping Houston Barrio

by Elizabeth Korver-Glenn

Institution: Rice University
Year: 2014
Keywords: color-blind racism
Record ID: 2027003
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1911/77187


Accounts of urban inequality, which often focus on the urban poor, have also highlighted the centrality of non-poor minority actors in shaping poor inner-city neighborhood outcomes. This research suggests that non-poor minority actors may be particularly influential in the process of poor neighborhood redevelopment given their greater access to social, cultural, and political capital. Redevelopment in poor neighborhoods reproduces existing inequalities, at least in part through the legitimating power of color-blind racial ideology. Color-blind ideology privatizes inequality by silencing structural explanations for disparities. Additionally, color-blind ideology has also been shown to influence how minorities themselves explain inequality. Yet to date, no research has examined how non-poor minorities, redevelopment, and color-blind ideology may be linked in a single context. Relying on a year of ethnographic research and 38 in-depth interviews with non-poor Latinos, I ask whether and how these actors frame neighborhood inequality using color-blind ideology in a poor, redeveloping Houston barrio. I find widespread use of the cultural racism frame. I also ask what the implications of this finding may be, and theorize that widespread cultural racism among non-poor Latinos supports the conditions under which redevelopment stakeholders can pursue their projects without obstruction. I conclude by exploring what these findings may mean for issues such as socioeconomic integration, and offer suggestions for future research.