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Things You Need to Understand #5 – Color Blindness

When white people say:

“I don’t see color”


“We should live in a colorblind society”

What they’re actually saying is:

“I refuse to deal with how our culture and societry treats people of color because it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to understand how having a different skin color or ethnicity affects other people because that means I would have to think and consider other points of view. What I want is to not have to think. I prefer to believe I live in a fantasy land where no one ever pays attention to skin color, ethnicity, culture, or religion. I am part of the problem with race relations, not its great savior.”

Just so you know.

109 thoughts on “Things You Need to Understand #5 – Color Blindness”

  1. Pingback: “Colorblind” in race and art « it’s all one thing
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  3. Jooswah says:

    As I said in TYNTU #1, the idea that we should ignore the hundreds of years of colonial history where non-POC carefully and methodically placed themselves in positions of control, and then systematically drafted legislation to entrench that control; for a utopian colorblind society without examining first the root causes of this power imbalance is not productive IMO.

    The arbitrary delineation of a “pre-civil rights” and “post civil rights” era do not take into account my ancestors experiences did not magically transform from terrible and oppressed to rosy and equitable overnight. Their pain lives in me, their dysfunctional childhood manifested itself in their poor parenting skills that lead to a self perpetuating cycle of abuse. Can I use my intellect, reason and heart to lift myself up and make a better world for myself? Yes I can. Can I forget about the hundreds of years of atrocities? Never. And even if I somehow manage to forgive the actions of the (not so distant) past I still have to endure the backlash of both good and bad intentioned people who won’t acknowledge their privilege or my lack of it.

    One thing that has been on my mind since I started reading this thread is, “Why would we want to live in a colorblind society in the first place?” What about diversity? I shudder when I imagine a world where Margaret Cho, Youssou N’Dour, Noam Chomsky, Ani DiFranco, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Chuck D, Robbie Robertson and Elvis Presley were all the same blandness. It would be like eating bread and water for the rest of my life, blah.

  4. Natoya says:

    No one is colour blind.
    We all judge.
    Its just some of us make decisions to ignore the stereotypes.
    and I try to do that.
    being of ‘mixed race’ I have found that I can relate to lots of different people black or white. whether they can relate to me is another matter…..
    but one thing I have noticed about a lot of young people growing up in London (my experience in inner city) is there is a large group of young people who all share the same consciousness of being a south londoner and are fully aware of racisms/stereotypes etc….this new hybrid culture exists amongst themselves and they blend their cultures together. It is often the outside world (family,society,class) that interfears.
    But when I here white people saying for example someone at university said to me ‘if we started a society called white British society’ it would be accused of being racist’.
    I just shake my head. I explain about marginalisation etccc..
    but they feel like they’ve ‘done their bit’ by keeping quiet and not being racist, but the nfeel ucomfortable when the afrco carribean society spreads their power about

  5. Natoya says:

    they are still an ethnic minority fool, the mainstream is British white culture! does seem to be ‘cool’ to act like an ‘other’
    make up your mind!
    and angry black woman is right, those white people who say these things dont realyl understand because if they did they say things like ‘yes your black, so what?’ and admit their faults.
    I personaly like it when someone admits their ignorance to me.
    I just get into a discussion with them, hopefully they’re think it a bit more.

  6. Natoya says:

    ‘about it a bit more’ sorry bad typing

  7. Pingback: Gender blind, right… at Feminist SF - The Blog!
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  9. Nancy Fulda says:

    I’d just like to say thanks for this post and for the ensuing conversation.

    I’m another of those white people who grew up in a predominantly white community. Racism isn’t an issue that’s come up for me very frequently. Thanks for beginning my education.

  10. Oops...I need a name. says:

    Every time I find a discussion that I would like to comment on, I’m usually a little too late. The first posts were done over a year ago, so I’m sorry.

    The following short story highlights the fact that white privilege and discrimination exist in U.S. society, in case anyone reading this wants to deny it:

    My uncle (who is white and a doctor) and his friend (who is black and a doctor) were each driving in separate vehicles and were both speeding. Both of them passed a police car. The police officer (who is white) turned on the lights and raced after the black man. Big surprise, huh? My uncle had to talk the police officer out of writing that ticket. I want to make it clear that the police officer had no intention of writing my uncle a ticket, even though he was clearly speeding. Racial profiling? How about blatant racial targeting?

    (If this posts, I hope it doesn’t post twice. I forgot to fill in the name the first time. I need some sleep.)

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