(Before I get into this blog, let me be clear, I am not talking about anyone that is blind, that is colorblind or anyone that has an issue with their eyes that would genuinely stop them from seeing color.)
Dear White People, please stop saying that you do not see color. We all know that is a lie. Short of having an issue with your eyes, you do see color. However, you believe by saying that you do not see color you are saying something that proves you “can’t be racist” and shows that you are progressive and edgy. In fact, you sound ignorant. Listen to me Black people, the first time you hear a White person say they don’t see color, know that whatever they are about to speak out of their mouth next is a lie. Trust and believe they see color just fucking fine and have noticed yours.
This is the problem I have with White people that say, “I do not see color,” I WANT you to see my color. Who would not want to see this ebony queen kissed by God’s sun? My melanin-enriched skin is dripping in shea butter and finesse. I am serving Black realness on the daily, and you want to deny that you see this Fenty 470 goddess? That is how I know you are lying. We glow. We shine. You see us. Baby taste this chocolate rainbow! Understand, it is not that we want you to deny seeing our color, it is that we want you not to be racist and discriminate against us BECAUSE of our color. Saying that you do not see color does not validate someone’s Blackness. In fact, what you have done is erase a very foundational part of their being. I am Black. Don’t ignore that. I want you to see it. That is the problem in this world. You do not see us. It is like you are afraid to acknowledge or even say the word, Black. Trust me the world is not going to open up and swallow you whole. I want you to see me. And when you see me, recognize that I am Black and do NOT allow that fact to allow you to not see my humanity. You do not have to erase a part of who I am to have compassion. You can acknowledge that I am Black AND have compassion and empathy for a fellow human being.
Also, using the blanket statement, “I don’t see color,” allows you to remain in your ignorance. It allows you to be “blind” to issues that disproportionally affect Black people and People of Color. It is not invisible people that are disproportionally incarcerated it is Black people. It is not invisible women that have a higher death rate in childbirth; it is Black women. It is not invisible people that are more like to die from an encounter with the police; it is Black people. The list is endless of issues that directly impact a people that you claim “not to see.” And that allows you to remain in your ignorance and act as if that phrase offers you some way to wash your hands of issues that you do not see as affecting you.
How ignorant do you have to be to go on national TV as Howard Schultz, former CEO and shareholder in Starbucks did, and say “As somebody who grew up in a very diverse background as a young boy in the projects, I didn’t see color as a young boy, and I honestly don’t see color now.” Dude. REALLY? Two Black men were racially profiled in a Starbucks last year that started a global discussion, but you don’t see color? Does he understand how ignorant that sounds? Schultz goes on to say, “It was a terrible moment for the company, it’s not something that we’re going to forget, and it’s something we learned a great deal from and we’re still learning about.” If it was a something they are not going to forget and that he claims they learned a great deal from, shouldn’t he start by ACKNOWLEDGING this happened to 2 BLACK men, simply because of the color of their skin? How can Schultz say they are still learning when he can’t even START there? That makes absolutely no sense and shows you, Schultz is just saying what he believes “sounds good” and makes him appear, “not racist.”
And while I am at it, parents, you do your child a disservice if you are raising them to be “colorblind.” Raise them to SEE color (because first of all they do) and teach them about history and not being racist. That is how they should enter the world. Not like a race horse with blinders on oblivious to everything that is going on around them.
SO PLEASE STOP saying, you do not see color. It is a lie, and it is ignorant! And WE know you are lying and YOU know you are lying so JUST STOP!
You don’t need to go around saying, “I am colorblind,” but here is a novel idea, acknowledge someone’s color, DON’T BE FUCKING RACIST and don’t discriminate against people because of their color.
So simple if you choose to see it.
Categories: Race Relations, Thoughts, Musings and Reflections
I enjoy reading your post. I have a daughter, I raised her to see, to notice and enjoy all people’s and the positivity they bring. It makes me feel responsible hearing this. I love seeing and complimenting (even if only in my mind if I didn’t get a chance) how beautiful a person’s skintone is and how we can keep each of ourselves, good energy going by noticing and being appreciative we have diversity, that we can see beauty and say how beautiful one can be with rich, golden and just deliberate naturally gorgeous, with so much more to compliment after that. I love and find I look forward to seeing a dark skintone I am completely pulled into and in awe, I feel skin is the last thing we should remember. There’s more beauty in the spectrum of colors, more than black and white. More to a person than appearances and more than my initial thoughts other than had seen on first sight. Teach children right, that a person is everything and what you notice, only sweetens what you learn and can add to relationship with them. I don’t know one person who has to justify another individual to better themselves and ever has. We cannot close doors by turning our faces just to break windows to get in. Good read.
Diversity in all things, including skin colour and heritage, is to be embraced and celebrated. As a white person, it makes me wince when white people claim to be colour blind. It is not just an outright lie but one that enables them to do all the things you outline so eloquently in your post. Claiming not to notice or recognise an aspect of someone’s identity is a hostile act of erasure. We need to call it out when we see it and hear it.
I like your style of writing, I’ve read a few posts on your blog in the past few days and they made me think. I’m a relatively recent migrant to this country and I came in very naive… I knew about inequalities in the US, but wasn’t aware of the severity of racism, or what “institutional racism” was. I stand corrected and I’m in the process of figuring out how to deal with whiteness, as a very pale person with a strong accent, coming from a very different cultural background and from a country (Italy) which has its own issues with racism, and where racism is raising its ugly head again.
Being “White” feels strange… knowing that Italians “became” whites only recently feels even weirder, but I don’t want to assimilate into a culture that pretends to be color blind and classless, but is so demeaning towards half (or maybe more) of it’s population. I’m trying to learn and your words help.
That phrase reminds me of a response I read on Twitter:
“If you don’t see color, then how are you going to describe me to the police, after I beat your ass, for that racist comment you about to make?”
I would never, but I still always find that answer incredibly funny!
Thank you for speaking the truth!
“It is like you are afraid to acknowledge or even say the word, Black.”
So true! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard people whisper it like it’s a swear word or something.
Another loaded phrase is “I don’t even think of (insert name here) as Black.”
Both phrases mean that we buy into racist stereotypes but, we don’t want to feel racist, so we aren’t ascribing those stereotypes to anyone in particular right now. Goes hand-in-hand with the White-people definition of racism which requires active hate or malicious intent.
P.S. Thank you for the post. This is not work you should have to do but, it is deeply appreciated nonetheless.