Why Our Quest for Colorblindness Misses the Point
When I see you, I see your skin color. I am not colorblind, nor do I want to be.
What a foolish thing it would be to live in this world, to be surrounded by such magnificence and beauty, and close my eyes to it, or pretend not to see it.
Colorblindness is a concept born of discomfort and shame. It is an invention meant to deal with racism without genuinely facing it. It allows the person on its path to feel ethical, even open-minded; but in reality- stops them from seeing and experiencing others more fully.
Perhaps our quest for utopian colorblindness is an attempt to hide from our own demons and shame. Being “colorblind,” after all, affords us a certain distance. Without realizing it, we avoid personal stories, shut out larger contemplations, don’t ask questions, and remain comfortably unmoved in our responsibility to one another.
If we reject the call to colorblindness, however, we will have to confront our assumptions and prejudices, and ultimately decide what role we play in bridging divides.
Only then, will we be able to take a real step toward humanity.
“Being “colorblind,” afterall, affords us a certain distance. Without realizing it, we avoid personal stories, shut out larger contemplations, don’t ask questions, and remain comfortably unmoved in our responsibility to one another.”
Distance, when it comes to Blacks is to be preferred for the most part. Their personal stories are their own and couched in their own identity and hatreds. Hearing them, if one is rational and uses critical thinking as default, is just going to breed contempt. Also remember that the Blacks are NOT “colorblind” and have no desire to hear any White’s stories, enter into “larger contemplations,” or ask actual questions.
As for responsibility to one another – aside from not actively and explicitly harming others unnecessarily, we have no responsibilities to each other. We have compacts we voluntarily and temporarily enter into; we have charity in which we engage in; and, for some of us, we have responsibilities and duties to our God(s) that end up seeming to focus on others. That is all.
Frankly, if we ARE “colorblind,” it is that which will truly force us to confront our assumptions and prejudices. We’ll have to leave the convenient excuses of race and racism behind and deal with why non-Whites fail to perform in society as well as Whites.