there’s a phrase i hear a lot that i really think we all need to stop using, & it’s this: “i don’t see color.” here are 4 things that will hopefully free us of thinking we need to not see color, or thinking that not seeing color is a good thing:
1.) first of all, of course you see color (unless you’re actually color blind). you wouldn’t be saying that, i’m guessing in an effort to not appear racist or whatever, if you didn’t. most people i’ve heard say this are white, & i’m sure most of those people use this as a figure of speech; but think about how it could make a person of color actually feel, you saying you don’t see color. are we supposed to feel relieved at that? would you like us to applaud you for not seeing something that is such a huge part of who we are? i’m proud to be black, or for the sake of this blog post, “colored.” you telling me you purposefully choose not to see my blackness kinda rains on my black-&-proud parade in which i’m constantly trying to remain strong. & i gotta say this: minorities are already minorities. we don’t need any more help not being ‘seen’ in certain spheres. so, SEE US. everything that makes us us? see it. & don’t apologize for SEEING it. celebrate it. let’s have conversations about it. let’s not say phrases, even figuratively, that would make someone feel from another: “in order for me to prove i’m ok with you, i need to ignore your race, your ‘color.'” which brings me to my next point…
2.) it’s a shame that things having to do with race have got to the point where people feel like in order for them NOT to be racist or appear racist, they have to not see color. COLOR… something our Artsy Creator God purposefully put in place. something that is a huge part of who i am. like i’ve said, majority (if not all) of the people i hear say this phrase are white, & i hate that my white friends feel this unspoken need to not see my color, something that i love about myself… or other people’s color who are different from theirs. when i hear this phrase, i just think: but why does anybody have to ignore color in order to not be racist? who made that rule? & why are we accepting it?
3.) being ‘color blind’ & ignoring our differences rather than celebrating them isn’t the answer. treating people who look different from you with respect is the answer. notice i didn’t say “treat the same.” (i’ll come back to that.) it’s much more impressive to me that you DO see color, that you see me for all of the things i am, including my color, & YET still treat me with love & respect. i’m sure the heart behind someone saying they don’t see color is actually good… but like we addressed above, claiming you don’t see color doesn’t make me or anyone else feel ‘seen’ at all.
4.) let’s not confuse treating everyone the same with the importance of treating everyone with the same RESPECT, regardless of their skin color. i don’t think it’s realistic to expect that we all treat each other “the same.” hear me out. just like i wouldn’t treat my best friend esther the same way i would treat my boss at work… i'll just go on a limb here & say, i don’t treat certain people the same way i do others. but it has nothing to do with my respect for them or how much they do or don’t look like me. maybe it’s that i don’t know them as well, maybe it’s that i’m in a professional setting, whatever. because of all the racial crap that has gone on in our world, i can imagine that for some white people, being around a black person they don’t know well coooould make them nervous ~ not because they’re racist, but because they so deeply don’t want to offend them & instead actually wanna show them just how FOR them they are, but maybe don’t know how. & let’s be real, sometimes it’s possible that things our non-black folk don’t mean to make about race, we make about race, because of our own baggage. now, would this white person feel this way around another white person? probably not. does that mean they’re treating that black person with any less respect than a white person? no. in some senses, unfortunately it’s just not realistic anymore to treat people of different color the same. so let’s just take that extra pressure off of ourselves. but treating everyone with respect? we can & should do that, no matter the color.
as always, i’m 100% open to questions/comments, even if they’re from an opposing stance than mine. we should be able to discuss different opinions, because that’s 1 way we grow! so please keep that in mind as you question or comment. promise to do the same for you. =)