As for the books, I can vouch for WHY WE CAN'T WAIT. I've had the occasion to re-read/review it over the last few years. Perhaps it would shed some light on how the "race" conversation was "called to a halt" because MLK's actual ideas don't mesh with those who love to profess a belief in a "colorblind society."
Perhaps you can tell me what you don't understand, what you're having difficulties with... then I can try to explain further.
The author was pretty straightforward. The "colorblind society" idea that prevails here in America amount to exactly what the author suggested: Not Talking About "RACE" At All. In fact, even when "race" is involved in situations or incidents, many of these "colorblind" people want to claim or deny that race is even a factor and, over and beyond all that, no ownership is taken for yesteryears Racist Gifts That Keep On Giving. By that I mean, any conversation about how "the present-day problems are the creation of or have unmistakeable component-causes from the racist past"... a conversation that says the past wrongs and imbalances have to be corrected/off-set... any conversation like that is off the table.
The idea that flows from that, the message that's sent, out loud and in all sorts of whispers, is that "We're As Equal As We Gone Be. We Can Be Equal From Here On Out" with special attention paid to how anyone would dare have a concept that might seek to off-set or counterbalance just the on-going racism. To hell with with that stuff from the longstanding [most] racist past. But what can you expect from a country who's symbol of Justice is one that is blind with scales that aren't balanced. Obviously, there is no intent to exact a balance.
Anyway... I said more than I intended and I have no idea if I've explained anything that would help you understand but maybe this can help you understand how "colorblindness" is conceptually flawed as a solution:
quote:(6) Color-Blind Racism:
Color-blind racism is the type which most closely corresponds to what is commonly called 'unintentional racism.'... What is it that makes colorblindness a type of racism rather than merely a misguided form of action? I want to argue that colorblindness not only leads to undesirable outcomes (the disadvantaging of black people by ignoring or marginalizing their distinctive needs, experiences and identity), but may also involve racial injustice.
It is not a new idea (indeed it can be traced back to Aristotle) that there can be injustice in treating people the same when in relevant respects they are different, just as much as there can be in treating them differently when in relevant respects they are the same...
...Colorblindness falls down because it is based on an idealistic principle (that all people are equal) which may be valid sub specie aeternitatis but which fails to take account of the contingent facts of racial inequality and disadvantage in our present society. (139-55)