Color blindness: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_blindness
“I am/we are colorblind,” is a common phrase that I have seen written in a news article, on a Facebook comment, a blog post, and I’ve heard multiple persons use this phrase with my own ears. And it’s often used in correlation with an individual justifying his or her stance on racism, as if to say, “I am colorblind so therefore I cannot be racist”.
As a mother of a multi-racial family, I find it odd that someone feels they need to be colorblind in order to not feel racist. Especially since being colorblind is an actual condition and form of a disability. It’s like when I hear someone say, “I’m practically deaf.” And this person is nowhere near deaf nor do they wear hearing aids. As a person who is hearing impaired, I take offense when someone makes a comment like that.
I’ve read blogs about adoptive parents claiming their colorblindness and on the flip side have read blogs by adoptees being very aware of their trans-racial experience from the time they were young. How can one family have two very differing experiences, one being so blasé about skin color as if they don’t even notice and another experiencing some sort of emotional detachment because of skin color?
So let’s examine this color blindness a little deeper. I wonder why some people claim to be colorblind as opposed to acknowledging they can see a person’s skin color effortlessly. Seeing colors is not a bad thing, is it?
How is it that we can we see the beautiful colors of the rainbow, the wild flowers in the field, the blue skies, the tiger’s and zebra’s stripes, our red, white and blue American Flag and be in awe, but then deny that we recognize someone’s skin tone? It’s like saying; you don’t notice someone’s striking blonde hair or their piercing blue eyes. Does that make sense?
One of the things that drew me to my children’s father was his rich darker skin tone.
On the contrary, the other popular phrase is, “People of color,” while referring to every other ethnic culture or race except the white race, as if to say white is not a color. This is a strong misconception. White is a color in the Crayola Crayon box, just like, brown, black, tan, yellow, pink or red. To claim that white people are not “people of color” is to claim that white people are clear or translucent. As far as I can tell, my skin has color. My skin color may or may not be as beautiful as others but it still has color.
Perhaps that’s part of the problem. When we are all permitted to recognize each other’s skin colors free from preconceived notions or judgments, while acknowledging that every human being is a person of color, then maybe we can move from colorblindness and racism to acceptance.