Home » Anti-White Supremacy » The Problem with Colorblindness

The Problem with Colorblindness

I don’t see color when I look at you.

There’s only one race, and that’s the human race.

We’re all the same.

At one point or another, we have all heard these and other similar declarations from non-melanated people who want to be perceived as bias-free.

Colorblindness is a social norm that white people use in an attempt to “prove” to themselves and others that they are not racist. The problem with colorblindness is that it minimizes differences and devalues people of color by essentially saying, I refuse to acknowledge and value your unique qualities. Consequently, colorblindness has the opposite effect, because it avoids critical consciousness, dims individual perceptions, perpetuates delusions, diminishes empathy, and strains interpersonal relations.

Why is it so difficult for non-melanated people to acknowledge racism and talk about race? I’d love to hear from you.


3 thoughts on “The Problem with Colorblindness

  1. Mary,
    I deal with this a lot in my current workplace. I, like you, often ask my white counterparts if they are “colorblind” when they declare that they don’t see color. What exactly does that mean? Or when they say things like, one of my best friends is black. Okay, and? Like somehow that makes them exempt from the conversation. These very same people pick and choose when to turn it off and on. I don’t pretend with them. Once they show me their true colors, I handle them accordingly.

  2. How can we not see color (unless we’re literally color blind)? The beautiful ebony sheen, the toasty brown, the almond creaminess and subtle beige? Color is what makes the world worth seeing. But even saying this, I am aware that my beige skin affords me privilege that I do not deserve. As a pagan diversity is important to me; as a humanist I am an advocate of true equality. As a woman of paleness I struggle to listen, understand and not patronize. I have made many mistakes, which my women of color friends are happy to point out to me and I am far from perfect. I’d love to talk about race!

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