People love to tell me that they often forget that I’m black. They say this with a sort of “a-ha!” look on their faces, as if their dawning ability to see my blackness was a gift to us both.
When I point out that their eyesight had never left them, that my skin has never changed colors, and that they probably did not really forget that I am black, they inevitably get defensive.
First, they try to argue that it was a compliment; the smart ones quickly realize that complimenting someone on not being black is actually pretty racist, so they switch gears.
I don’t see race! is usually their next tactic, followed by I am colorblind, though they never give credit to Stephen Colbert. By “colorblind” they don’t actually mean that they can’t see green or red; rather, they are suggesting that they can’t ever be racist, because they don’t register skin color at all.
What was that Martin Luther King said..? Something about the content of character, rather than colour of skin? The old racist.
This ideology is very popular – like a racial utopic version of the Golden Rule – but it’s actually quite racist.
Well, of course it is. Stands to reason.
“Colorblindness” doesn’t acknowledge the very real ways in which racism has existed and continues to exist, both in individuals and systemically. By professing not to see race, you’re just ignoring racism, not solving it.
Well, of course you are. Stands to reason.
Nearly 70% … shockingly believe that we make society better by not seeing race or ethnicity.
Those idiots! What do they know? Why, it’d be a society in which people like Stafford would have to get a real job, or something!
… that ideology does present a very interesting question: If you were truly unable to see people’s skin color, could you still be racist?
I’m betting the answer is ‘Yes, of course you would be, whitey!’ and I’m not disappointed…
Our justice system is built on the idea that being blind is the same thing as being fair<./b>; our courts use portray justice as a blindfolded goddess, to symbolize the objectivity we equate with being unaware of appearances. She, too, is supposed to be colorblind – but, given the disproportionate number of men of color in our prisons, and the tendency to prosecute them at disproportional rates, that’s not exactly true, either.
Because that’s got nothing to do with their actions, but only the racist system, right?