Color Blindness, Or, How I Refuse To See You
There’s a saying I hear, I must admit I used to believe this also, “I don’t see color. I’m color blind. Everyone is the same in my eyes.” As nice as this may sound. As much as it might make one feel objective and fair, it’s a load of bullshit. At least that’s what I’ve come to realize over the years.
For one to say they are “color blind” is the equivalent to saying, “I can’t differentiate between myself and others,” “I pay no attention to history, culture, or racism that has, and currently exist.” This is statement of being color blind proves one thing about the person talking: They are, in fact, blind.
One might say, “Well, race isn’t a real thing!” That is true. Race is made up by Whites, but this made up differentiation between people has become one of the most real realities we now have. The idea of race has crushed a group of people strictly based on color of skin, and nothing else. It has come to define daily existence, relationship with others, and authorities.
For example, when speaking on police brutality and police murders I often hear people say, “If they only listened they wouldn’t force the officer to shot them.” This very statement is on my last nerve. Our knowledge of the police comes from experience. As a white male growing up in Orange County I have no fear of cops. I’ve talked back and I’ve been respectful depending on if I did something wrong or not, but at no point did I ever think that my life was at risk. Now if I was someone else whose family and community history with the police is one of violence, death, and distrust. This isn’t a statement that all police are bad, but about the general state of everything as it stands now.
Now I’m come to this person with my experience and relationship with police and I tell them, “Hey, just obey and you won’t get shot.” Suddenly all the stories, the videos of those with their hands up and still being shot come to mind. A whole history of violence and distrust comes to mind, but here I am standing like a fool with a stupid grin and an ignorant look in my eye telling them, “Obey and live.” It’s stupid. My relationship with law is the opposite of theirs. If you are big man with dark skin, you look like “a bad dude” from as far as a helicopter.
T0 say you’re color blind is to ignore this reality that is lived by people of color. It is to ignore injustice and evil. Would you consider yourself “gender blind” too? I don’t see gender, I see all as equal, but meanwhile women are paid less because they are a woman, and transgendered people are dismissed as non-human, but you rest easy because of your objectivity and fairness, right?
In an ideal world we’d all want race to die, but you can only get rid of something by recognizing its existence. To deny it now is to continue its strength and growth. To deny it is to make oneself comfortable. It is selfishness. It is self-serving. Race and its history is ugly, but we must look it in the eye and reconcile ourselves to others.