The Perils of Living in a Colorblind World
Updated: Apr 13
I write about this topic because so much has been made of the "Colorblind" world in which some people live. It’s a safe zone, void of racism and conflict, a place where color is merely an adjective, something to be used to describe furniture or some other benign item.
Some people gripe that if we don't focus so much on color racism is goes away. The logic is if we don't talk about something it will disappear. We have all heard, "I don't see color;” "we had a black president, proof of how far we have come;” and "talking about race just divides us!” First of all, not acknowledging someone's race is akin to not seeing them as a whole person, not honoring their history, their individuality, their unique experiences, feelings, and perspectives.
Not acknowledging someone's race is akin to not seeing them as a whole person, not honoring their history, their individuality, their unique experiences, feelings, and perspectives.
Some adoptive parents have adopted children from other races and raised them as one of the family. This is admirable; however, many have ignored their child’s racial background in the interest of making them feel less self-conscious and shielding them from the hurtful racism that exists just outside the family home.
These children often grow up to be adults who are blindsided by non-colorblind people who do see color. It’s compatible with not warning someone about the peril of venturing to a certain region where there is civil and violent unrest, or not telling them that smoking cigarettes can cause cancer, or not warning them that the company they work for has a history of discrimination.
We warn our children about so much, but not about the reality of racism? Do we change the channel when the news comes on showing fervent protests in the streets following the George Floyd murder? Do we not explain what the symbolic meaning of the Confederate flag is?
Sometimes there is an insinuation that “if we don’t talk about it it will go away.” Does that work? If we don’t talk about traffic accidents will we avoid them for our entire life?
Rather than wringing your hands and wiping your brow when the topic of racism comes up, think of it as an opportunity to learn about racism in all its permutations. The first step in tackling a problem is acknowledging its existence.
Denial is a powerful drug, don’t become addicted to it.
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