What’s wrong with being color blind?

August 8, 2013 — Leave a comment

When I was thinking about what I would put in my museum of tolerance I thought about the concept of being color blind and how its meaning has changed.

It was how I was raised. To view the person not the color of their skin. We are all human beings and that’s what counts. While the sentiment and or the intent of this teaching seems to come from a good place, I have since learned that the impact, has the opposite effect for many people of color.

It is true we are all human. But if I don’t acknowledge someone’s skin color I am denying that the color of their skin has literally colored their life experience. I am choosing to ignore how they may have been treated because of it. I am avoiding coming to terms with how I exist in the world because of my white skin.

As a white woman in affluent suburb on the East Coast, I can walk into a boutique, whether or not I can afford anything, and be treated with respect or at least left to my own devices. I know for a fact (because a friend of color shared that story with me ) that if you are dark skinned and walk into that same store, you are followed.

If I ignore this truth by saying I don’t see color I am also saying I don’t believe or care that you have been followed in that same store because of skin color. I am denying someone else’s reality. And who wants to do that?

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