Color Blindness and Racism
I AM THINKING about Color Blindness and racism.
“Color Blindness is the racial ideology that posits the best way to end discrimination is by treating individuals as equally as possible, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity.” — Monnica T. Williams Ph. D.
I had a hard time with the definition. I didn’t get it because I believed that treating all people as equal was good and just.
How can you ignore race and other differences?
How could the positive idea that all lives are equal promote racism?
Then I realized — I was color blind.
I wasn’t thinking about equity — fair treatment of all people by understanding that some groups of people, Black and BIPOC (black and indigenous people of color), have a long and cruel history of being denied what they need because of unjust, inequitable systems. Systems I was part of — educational, business, law, jobs, medical, social interactions.
I was completely dismissing the lived experiences of black people and people of color — acting like I was being fair to ‘all people’ and I wasn’t.
Racism will continue to exist as long as I, or anyone, ignores discrimination by lumping ‘all people’ together as equal.
Race — ethnicity — identity — distinction matter because while people say it doesn’t matter, black people are treated differently and that is unjust, confusing and unkind.
I see how I’ve denied and minimalized racism in my specific thoughts and words — “I don’t see color. I just see people.”
I was trying to convince myself that color didn’t matter, and I was actually perpetuating racism. That’s what racial color blindness looks like.
I want to understand difference and the injustices that other people have endured.
I’m actively asking myself questions and listening to black people talk about their lives and experiences with racism.
I’m grateful to say I’m learning and changing as I work on color awareness — color consciousness — examining my own biases and prejudices and not promoting color blindness as I do antiracist work.
This 3:30 minute courageous and beautiful video poem performed by Valyn Lyric Turner — Race in the Classroom: Seeing Color — will help you see so much more about Color Blindness and the changes we each should choose to make about race.
Thanks — Michael (he, him)