What Does Being Colorblind Mean Today?

I was having a conversation the other day with a fellow blogger, her link is at Failure To Listen,  about being colorblind in our society. I do agree with her that her definition of being colorblind should be that all races are viewed equally and not judged by the color of ones skin, and also that everyone is given the same opportunities in life for advancement in every aspect of life from home ownership, education, to employment.  I think that definition is what color blindness is suppose to mean, but unfortunately all good intentions have fallen through the cracks and White supremacy has taken the lead once again. While it’s true that the definition of being colorblind means something different to different people. I thought it would be a good idea then to define what being colorblind means to me, or rather why I am reeducating myself to not being colorblind.

I am not color blind. I see that you are African-American, Asian, Latino, Native American, European-American,  and etc. I see that you have a language and a culture that defines who you are, and I love the fact that we are all different and the yet still the same. I am raising my children to embrace all cultures, races, and lifestyle choices. I believe that being colorblind neglects the embracing of others, because it sets rules to abide by and to hide behind, because you don’t know any different. Being European-American I can easily assimilate into majority of circumstances. I can go to restaurants, festivals, the mall, or my school and be surrounded by faces that look like mine. I sit in school and learn about the history of my European genetic background. I can turn on the television, go the the movies, or open up any magazine, and see faces that look like mine. I don’t feel out of place, and I feel welcome no matter where I am. The realization of this kills me, because this means that I have been living an ignorant life. That most White people live in this state of ignorance every day of their lives, because it is safe and it is comfortable. The fact of  this realization has seeped into the rawest parts of my soul, and now where ever I go, I see this emptiness, this neglect to embrace all races. This neglect to include all races, and the half-ass attempt to include the “token” in advertisements or television shows is a joke, and a slap in the face of people of color and enlightened White people.

I feel that being colorblind gives people an excuse to say “I am colorblind, and therefore I am not racist.” Then they can turn around and neglect to see that we live in a society geared to White people, and that our world is run on global white supremacy. They neglect to see that our education system and our prison system are run on structural racism, and that the foundation was built in 1865, and the bricks that have been placed on top of each other ever since screams racism then, and still screams racism now.  The only difference is now we are “colorblind,” so we don’t have to talk about any more. We aren’t racist, and therefore we don’t see the color of your skin. I know that this isn’t true, we do see the color of your skin, racism still exists, and I believe that we need to reeducate ourselves to allow ourselves to see the color of ones skin and to embrace all races. European-Americans need to allow themselves to talk about race, so that we can learn to see discrimination, and work towards interrupting racism inside our own families.

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15 thoughts on “What Does Being Colorblind Mean Today?

  1. Your post rocked… This is called white privilege and its a rather controversial deal in our american culture right now. I agree with you, to say that you are colorblind is doing two things:
    1. Saying that you don’t acknowledge my background and personal struggle. Even if a black person says I’m “colorblind” it means that he is subtracting a white persons personal heritage (be it Irish, Italian, Russian, etc) and in turn making a blanket statement about him as a person.
    2. It shows your ignorance and disrespect for people who are really, “colorblind”, because even they can differentiate race.
    You hit the nail on the head with how you are going to raise your children. We should always acknowledge differences and learn to accept different people from different walks of life and backgrounds. However, We must focus on our larger similarities in order to escape racism…

    Are you in college, btw?

    • Thank you for your kind words, and for reading my posts. I have noticed that White privilege is controversial among many, it’s hard for White people to see experiences differently, because we have been taught to be the way that we are. I still have a long road ahead of me to fully grasp all of the new information that I am learning about racism, but my eyes have been opened and there is no turning back. Yes, I am in college; third time’s the charm I keep telling myself.

      • Hang in there and finish no matter what. That’s my only advice.. And we are all still learning about ourselves, our culture, and our world. Once you start, your right, there is no turning back. Prepare to be different, prepare to be enlightened…

  2. Thank you so much for posting this! I appreciate the honesty unpacking your privilege and what it means to the conversation of colorblind racism. It’s important for allies to participate in this type of analysis, as well as putting these perspectives into practice, such as raising children with a higher consciousness about white supremacy, privilege/oppression, and actually hearing the voices of communities that are often times silenced in American society. Keep it up!

    • Thank you for your comments and support. Raising conscious children is difficult, because they receive so many negative messages from the world. I only hope my that messages are louder, and I know my little one is listening to me.

      • I’m sure your messages will have a significant impact. It’s all about disrupting the racist/sexist/heterosexist ect. conversations, ideologies, and systems that dominant society.

      • Thank you for saying that. It’s a constant battle, as every time I see something, hear something, or they repeat something I am correcting them and pointing out the truth. The other day we were at World Market, and we happened to be in the card section. I pointed out to my son that there were no representations of other races on the cards. They were covered with European faces and animals. My head was reeling, and I know he was listening. You would think at World Market there might be world representation, but I guess that tells me who they want as customers. I think if I ever shop there again I am going to talk to the manager, and voice my disgust.

      • That’s interesting (and not surprising). Whiteness is normalized so much that even the cards we use to celebrate, grieve, apologize, thank etc reproduces white supremacy. Good insight!

  3. Pingback: White Fear | Dreaming of a Colorful Future

  4. Reblogged this on Failure to Listen and commented:
    In her article, “What Does Being Colorblind Mean Today” Tigerilyorange cuts to the chase by bolding declaring Colorblindness a Denial of Differences that leads to further Biases.
    Please read more and enjoy.

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