I’m worried about a large swath of white folks here in America. It’s shameful that no one is talking about this issue when there are literally thousands of people struggling with a disability that should have been addressed by medical professionals long ago.
Apparently, many Caucasian Americans aren’t able to properly see color. Just imagine how hard this makes day to day life. Driving, picking out matching clothing, becoming fighter jet pilots. Is this some kind of epidemic that only afflicts the melanin-deficient? What can be done about this obviously crippling affliction of colorblindness?
Fortunately, there actually is a cure: education.
I wish I had a dollar for every white person who told me she doesn’t see color after being called out for saying or doing something racially insensitive. I’d have a whole lot of dollars. Whenever I hear this tired refrain, if I’m in a good mood, I reply with: that must make navigating stoplights difficult. If I’m not in a good mood, I reply with something more along the lines of: bullshit.
What is the source of this seemingly convenient affliction? The culprit seems to be a deliberate misreading of a portion of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s most famous speech (and often the only MLK the white person in question has ever heard and/or read):
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
But to these white folks who have chosen to believe they don’t see color, what they hear in that single line of a single speech MLK gave in the 1960’s is that he had a dream that, one day, no one would notice that he was black. That he would be whitewashed and everything would be great in America in this post-racial version of Orwell’s 1984…
What the man was actually saying — and I have had to school dozens upon dozens of white folks over the years on this very point — is that he dreamt of a time when his children would be judged by who they show themselves to be through their actions and not automatically by who white people think they must be based solely on their skin color.
Acting like you don’t see color isn’t an excuse for racist fuckery. Racism is interwoven into the cloth that makes up the very fabric of America. That’s what makes it systemic. No one grows up in this country without either benefiting from or suffering because of these systems of oppression. So, just because you have a friend who is black or you voted for Obama (twice!) doesn’t mean you aren’t a product of a racist society that has had a hand in shaping your every thought and action.
Stop using Martin Luther King, Jr. as a weapon against black folks, y’all. Stop. He was a radical thinker who was hated by the establishment back in his day. Let’s not forget, the man was assassinated for crying out loud. That’s how much of a threat he was to the white owned status quo. You don’t get to use a single line from one of his speeches to absolve your racist and insensitive behavior.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that people are different colors. I’m black and I’m proud, as the song goes. The trouble starts where your preconceived notions come into play. You see a black person and make judgments based solely on skin color about criminality, sexuality, intellect, etc. Your prejudice is the problem MLK was talking about, not the actual color of my skin.
Colorblindness only when it pertains to skin color is not a thing. Stop pretending that it is. And stop using this made up affliction as a shield to deflect from all insinuation that your words or actions, no matter how unintended, actively work to uphold systems of oppression.
You see color. We all do. Claiming otherwise is willfully absurd and ignorant. And, y’all, stop dragging MLK into this foolishness.