Colorblindness

  

     Perhaps one of the most dangerous things about the current racial dialogue in our country is that is just isn't happening, and color blindness is a popular cover up. Essentially, colorblindness is the ideology that "color doesn't matter," which seems good in theory, but as Dani Bostick explains in her article "How Colorblindness is Actually Racist," it is actually racist for five reasons. First, it "foists whiteness on everyone." The assumption behind colorblind racism isn't that all races are equal, but that everyone should be viewed as if they were white. Secondly, it "strips non-white people of their uniqueness." If white is the assumed normal, and everyone should be viewed as white, then there is no room left for any one of another race or even culture. Third, it "suppresses critically important narratives of oppression" by enabling white people to deny the discrimination and hardships that people of color face. In the same vein, Bostick's fourth point is that "colorblindness assumes everyone has the same experience here in America," when that couldn't be further from the truth. Lastly, it "promotes the idea that non-white races are inferior," by implying that if someone is not the white "norm," white people should pretend they are, rather than recognizing them as different but equal.
      In an op-ed piece on CUIndependent.com, Lauren Arnold wrote about her experience with color blindness in the classroom, which she sees as part of a "discomfort or fear of talking about race." When white people claim that they don't see color, what they really mean is they are trying to erase the significance of and ignore color. As Arnold says about her reaction to a classmate's comment that "I don't see you as black": "First of all, I don’t believe you because you literally just acknowledged me as being black. Second of all, that’s a problem because I am." 

     This color blindness doesn't just give white people a false clean conscience and minimize the feelings of people of color, it is a dangerous ideology that allows for victim blaming. If everyone, of every color, is "treated the same" in the U.S., then of course any difference in outcome between two members of society must be due to something about them, not the system around them. Ultimately, color blind racism works as a way to protect the privileged racial status of whites by ignoring the injustices they have committed against people of color throughout history by pushing off responsibility on people of color. If you blame the victim for all his problems, then you never have to step in to fix any of them. In the same way, if you pretend a person's skin color doesn't exist, then you don't have to acknowledge and fight against the discrimination they face. 



Arnold, Lauren. (2017, April 25). "Opinion: If You Don't See Color, You Don't See Me." CUIndependent.com. Retrieved from https://cuindependent.com/2017/04/25/opinion-dont-see-color-dont-see-me-color-blind-race/

Bostick, Dani. (2016, July 11). "How Colorblindness is Actually Racist." Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dani-bostick/how-colorblindness-is-act_b_10886176.html

College Humor. (2017, April 8). "I Don't See Race." College Humor. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qArvBdHkJA

Ryan, William. "Blaming the Victim." Retrieved from learn.unm.edu

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