Racism, unfortunately, continues to be a problem in society. While we may want this problem to end, and for everyone to be truly equal, pretending like it doesn’t exist won’t improve the situation. By saying you’re “colorblind,” you’re not working to end racism- you are running from the issue.
While someone that says they “don’t see color” may have good intentions, meaning that they see people as humans and their opinions of them are not affected by that person’s race, it actually achieves the complete opposite. The problem isn’t that people are of different races- that’s a beautiful thing. The problem begins when people wrongly believe that one race is “better” than another.
The concept of colorblindness negates the cultural values, norms, expectations and life experiences of people of color. While one white person might be able to “ignore color,”, the whole of society doesn’t. Denying someone what is an essential part of their identity is, in actual fact, a form of racism. It’s erasure- which in the past, has been used to dominate marginalized groups, like in the times of colonialism.
Furthermore, colorblindness is used to avoid the uncomfortable topic of racism. While it isn’t always easy to talk about it, the only way we can ever actually improve the situation is to have those difficult conversations. We need to acknowledge the fact that racism exists, and it sucks, and we need to actively work to change it.
So the next time you’re tempted to say, “Oh, I don’t see color!”, don’t. Acknowledge that individual’s race. Ask them about their experiences, if they are comfortable sharing. Attempt to understand them, and really listen to what they are saying. Because we aren’t all the same race- and that’s a beautiful thing.