"I don't see color" is a phrase I've heard a lot since entering this relationship. I've heard it from friends and family, strangers, new acquaintances. It's a phrase that, despite what you'd think, does not make anyone think you really don't "see color." It says not "I think were all equal" but rather "I prefer not to comment on the fact that we are all different" or "I'm not sure what I think about race but I sure am uncomfortable talking about it."
Racial issues are still prevalent in our society. But it's more than a culmination if historical prejudices, it's that individuals often shy away from diversity. One of the reasons I love living in the city is for the blend of people. On any day, I see as many brown people as I see black people as I see white people. I meet Indians and Caucasians and Europeans and Africans and African Americans. And this is important to me because it allows me to see people who don't just look
alike, or like me, but with whom I have interesting and challenging conversations nonetheless.
It challenges the perception of sameness- because we are all living in the same community, enjoying the same resources, but we don't all look like one another. For the record, in case I haven't already made this clear? I think people are beautiful. Colored people, pale people, pink people. All of us.
I grew up in a predominantly white community in rural Appalachia. I never thought about race because it always seemed like everyone was like me: we were pretty much all "white."
I also never thought that being "white" made me better/ smarter/ more priveleged- but guess what? It does make me more priveleged.
Being "white" in America is like being normal in a room full of people who may or may not be "normal" too, but with whom you do not identify.
Being the standard by which others are measured. It's something we often take for granted: our neighbors will look "like us," that cartoons and books will depict people "like us," that we can find plenty of toys and story books and movies that have characters resembling ourselves or our children, that when we place a phone call to our phone service provider/ Internet/ paper/ local radio station- no one will make assumptions about us regarding the sound of our voice and our income/ lifestyle/ racial heritage. That when we walk into a grocery store at 11:00 at night to buy diapers- the cashier won't stare at us thinking we're there to rob them. These are all elements of our culture and they're a given for many many people. Saying "I don't see color" is like saying "I don't even think what you're (you're=others) going though, is real" or "I want to believe that everyone is like me." It ignores the history of racism, it is a process of ignoring the history of slavery, and it is, in my opinion, a 'white privelege' comment.
I want you to challenge yourself to see color. See race. See people's differences, see their character, see their names, their scars. Hear their voices, their stories.
Don't turn your head because someone has a different skin color and you feel uncomfortable sitting next to them on the park bench. Don't make blanket assumptions regarding their story. They may be African, Haitian, Mexican, Spanish, Dutch, Sweedish. But they're still an individual, skin color shouldn't be the only thing you see.
By allowing others to say these things or saying them yourself, ("blacks are ignorant, thrives, have poor work ethic, are disinterested in education," etc) we are hindering the progress that so many people are fighting for every day.it is hateful, and perpetuates the cycle of racism. We are still a far cry from having equal rights for all Americans, and all I'm asking from you is to push yourself that little step farther: ask yourself where your assumption formed. What is the basis of your reasoning? Why did you think what you just thought? Why is it okay to assume that our President is not an American? Or for Chris Matthews to say on live TV that he " forgot [Obama] was black for a minute" (an incredibly racist comment indicating that Obama's
speech was so good he could almost pass as a white man)?, Or to make fun of his middle name? Ask your children, your friends, your family when you hear them say these things. Ask yourself.
Most of the time, you'll be surprised that people don't know why they thought anyone would
feel 'better' (as if "they" were the one who was uncomfortable with their own skin color) hearing those words:
"I don't see color" or other comments of authority. In reality, it's the same as saying "I'ts okay, we can pretend you're just like me!"
One more thing, about my sentiments: that person you're talking about? That's my life partner. My daughter. My family.
- mamma pie
Feel free to comment but please be respectful and leave the hate-based/ fear-based comments for someone else.