What Being "Colorblind" Means And Why It's a Bad Thing

Now, I’m not here to talk about the genetic condition where you see green instead of red or blue instead of purple – I’m here to talk about the colorblind ideology.

I was sitting down in my IAH 207 class discussing “Pudd'nhead Wilson” by Mark Twain and how his main point in the book is that race is a social construct, when a girl shouted out that we should all be colorblind. When she got backlash for her comment, she was confused. Many people who say that they’re colorblind don’t acknowledge that it is also a form of racism.

Colorblindness, or to “not see color,” is the idea that we should all treat others equally regardless of their race or ethnicity. Now that may sound like a good thing, but by saying you’re “colorblind,” not only are you saying that you choose to “ignore” racism but you are also saying that you choose to “ignore” people of color’s history with racism and reject people’s culture.

Race is a topic not a lot of people are comfortable talking about. By claiming to be colorblind, you are exercising your white privilege. You have the privilege to “ignore” racism since YOU don’t face it every day. It keeps you comfortable and limits your understanding of racism in general. But you need to understand that marginalized individuals don’t have the option to ignore racism since they experience it daily. By saying you’re color blind, you are also turning your face away from the struggles these marginalized groups face daily and denying that race matters. You are not appreciating their blackness or their color, and giving race a bad connotation. Let me break it down for you: color blindness = blind = not being able to see things such as the poor treatment of black in society = racial bias. Therefore, color blindness = racial bias.

Race DOES matter since it affects the way some people see or even treat you. How exactly? Well, as a white person, you can walk in your neighborhood with your hoodie up at night and not get shot by a police officer. You don’t think that things might go south or that  you won’t live to see the next day when you get pulled over. You don’t have to talk with your daughters and/or sons about how you have to react and speak to police officers. You don’t get called names or slurs because of the color of your skin. And, when you peacefully protest your treatment in this society (not like you have to), you don’t get called unpatriotic or get your protest taken out of context. You get away with half the sh*t you do based on just one thing: your race. So yes, race DOES matter because if you were born just a little bit tanner, you’d be treated way differently.

If you really want to change the way some people are treated in this society, start by educating yourself and reject this whole colorblindness bullsh*t. People need to understand that you can’t solve a problem by just ignoring it. The problem is not that people don’t know what’s going on – the problem is that they don’t want to know.