RACIALLY COLORBLIND MYTH
WHY I DON’T BELIEVE IN BEING RACIALLY COLORBLIND
“Wouldn’t it be great if we could all be celebrated instead of just tolerated!”
“Do you think racism will ever cease to exist?”, my Humanities honors teacher pressed me after class. I was the only African-American in his class of approximately 30 students. “No!”, I stated. “Why?”, he uttered back. “Not until we are all no longer different but all the same.’ As long as differences exist then racism has a driver”, I replied. He was bewildered and thanked me for my time.
A WORLD OF HOPE AND CHANGE
In an age of hope and change, these same sentiments now resonate with me once again. After hearing race inciting remarks being made by prominent public officials and throughout many public forums. And continued by the media’s hype and hunger to show case rioting and race-based fear across the U.S. A fear that recently lambasted our home town of Charlotte, NC and gave even more merit to the reality that being racially colorblind is a lie. “A myth that skin color does not impact our interpersonal relationships and interpersonal and institutional racism no longer exists in the U.S.” Source: The myth of racial color blindness, manifestations, dynamics, and impact.
As previously shared, from a young age I was aware of race. My parents groomed me as an African-American woman for the “fact” that I may not be liked merely because of the majestic chocolate brown hue of my skin. However I was/nor am I any better or worst than anyone else because of it. And they were right, race and racism sought me out on the playground when I was in the 4th grade and I was prepared for it. I also made a decision to learn more about race and ethnicity because I did not want to “hate” because of it.
RACE & KNOWLEDGE
Hence when I had the opportunity to take part in a school diversity initiative upon entering the 9th grade I signed up. The program’s intent was to raise awareness of ethnic diversity, social injustice, and social-economic disparities. On the first day, of the after school program the instructor said, “Welcome, I want all of you to go outside of your norm.’ Look around, you have all self segregated,” “What if you all decide not to self segregate?’ What if you all decide to intentionally sit down next to someone that doesn’t look like you and you instead go beyond your comfort zone?” I looked around and we were all segregated based on race row after row. Now, he said “let’s do an exercise! ‘ Get up and sit next to someone that doesn’t look like you ethnically.” I did and I was nervous and jittery. He then stated “relax, the person next to you is also nervous and/or somewhat uncomfortable because they do not look like you, or they may not know you and that is ok.’ Don’t let that fear define you!” I had never thought to do something so simplistic yet so defining on my own. At the end of the first day of the program the instructor remarked, ” I challenge you all to continue what we did in our first exercise today when ever possible.’ Who will accept this challenge”? I raised my hand and accepted his challenge.
At my next school event, in the school gym, I decided to sit next to a student that didn’t ethnicially look like me. Once again, I felt nervous and jittery but as I sat there and watched the school program those feelings weaned away, and I didn’t care that the person looked different than me. We were all there for the same purpose and having a great time.
BEING COLOR CONSCIOUS
Thus how can you or I truly be racially colorblind when ethnicity is so apparent? It’s akin to a tree having green leaves and brown bark, or the sky being blue. These are all obvious traits that we can all see and realize. Perhaps, instead if we are all more color conscious to go outside of our comfort zones then that is when race will not be so important. It won’t have to be a continual “hot topic” that rides the wave of fear to no exhaustion. Furthermore, as I heard in church today, “wouldn’t it be great if we can all be celebrated instead of just tolerated.” Thereby enabling us all to focus on the local and global issues that truly demand our attention.
Will you try this exercise I mentioned above? What do you think about being racially colorblind? Write us! Post a comment below. Share this post! Like our content? Subscribe!
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Copyright 2016 Growing Up Gupta