The New Principle-policy Gap: How Diversity Ideology Subverts Diversity Initiatives

Candis Watts Smith, Sarah Mayorga-Gallo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Colorblind ideology is a dominant mode of thinking about race matters in the United States, but it is not the only racial ideology that operates today. The United States appears to be shifting toward becoming more race conscious. We add to the critical diversity studies literature, and argue that even though we see a greater appreciation for the presence of nonwhite bodies in various spaces, we are not likely to see real systemic change in the American racial hierarchy because of a reliance on diversity ideology. Through an analysis of semistructured interviews with 43 white Millennials, this article outlines the ways in which diversity ideology's four tenets - diversity as acceptance, commodity, intent, and liability - help whites maintain power in multiracial spaces. This article pinpoints how whites employ these tenets to subvert policy efforts that aim to incorporate people of color into predominately white institutions, introducing a new principle-policy gap for the twenty-first century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-911
Number of pages23
JournalSociological Perspectives
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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