The “Race Directive,” along with the rest of the recent European Union expansion of its body of equality law, was welcomed with huge acclaim and fanfare, predictably by the Commission, but also by much academic writing. Now that this has subsided, it is necessary to engage in a sober analysis of the contents of the directive. Although the directive has been seen as embodying a huge shift in conceptions of equality and discrimination, and as part of an emerging European social citizenship, a closer examination of the provisions of the directive reveals something quite different: an ambivalence towards broader reaching conceptions of equality, a repeating of the mistakes of the past, and a series of delegations of key decisions regarding the potentially most progressive aspects of the legislation to other actors. This article suggests that whereas the directive contains many positive aspects, to a large extent it represents an exercise in passing the buck, given the hollowness of many of the seemingly expansive provisions. This means that our focus must shift onto member states and other actors, who have traditionally been conspicuously inactive in the field of race discrimination.