Colorblindness VS Race-Consciousness

This post is a little different than something I normally post. In fact, it’s a lot different. However, this blog is about the meaning of a “peachy” lifestyle as in a lifestyle with no worries. This refers to the well being of humans, and I mean ALL humans. So therefore, a blog post about human rights is far more than relevant not to mention overdue.

This is a post I’ve been working on for awhile now. In fact, this post is probably one that I’ve worked on longer than any other. For the most part, writing comes fairly easy to me but this, this was different. I am opening up a huge can of worms here. Whenever I sat down to try to finally write this I had all these worries. I was worried that I am tackling such a complicated and complex issue that this post won’t even begin to dive into the depths of it, so naturally I would get overwhelmed thinking of writing this. On top of that, when it is such a big issue I am choosing to just write from my stream of consciousness. The only real editing that I will be doing to this is spell check because I want this to be raw. But as a writer this is just a part of the process. With all of that said, I am not writing this so that whoever reads it starts to think like me, I am writing this in hopes that it will just make you THINK at all. When something makes you think, it usually makes you talk about things and when you talk about things awareness begins to happen and ignorance starts to diminish, that is my end goal.

Now that all that jibber jabber is out of the way let’s get down to the real issue at hand: The concept of ‘Colorblindness’ and Anti-racism being used interchangeably, and what it really means to have privilege. At first, when you read the term anti-racism, one would say well what’s the issue here “anti-racism”, that’s good. However, most people think that they can use the term “Colorblindness” and anti-racism interchangeably. These two terms or concepts are very different, contrary to some beliefs. You see the thing is, in the same way that racism is taught the ideology behind “color blindness is taught.” This approach to race is something that happened through years of training. This current generation was taught from birth that pointing out race, to talking about race, to even acknowledging race was basically a shake of the first finger *tsk *tsk. I mean to most people talking about race especially the history of it in this country can be a heavy topic and can instantly add tension or uncomfortableness in a room. So to compensate, instead what happened over the years was this term ‘colorblindness’ was born; “let’s start fresh where we ignore race and pretend like we are all equal in hopes to move beyond our racist past.” There are many incidents that I have encountered or have heard of happening to people around me that prove that there is a cry for this generation and the new ones to come to have a new way of training and thinking.

Now, I have to say this article is for everyone because I think a lot of different people could benefit from it but this is especially for my fellow white peers because it is NOT UP to people of color to be our trainers but it is the responsibility of white folks to educate ourselves. If you are reading this now, by the end of it, hopes are you will be saying: I need to do the laborious work of helping those who share my identity to recognize their own role in realizing justice, no matter how hard and frustrating that work may be. That my friends, is THE only way that we can see any progression from this issue. You may be asking, why is this my responsibility? Why do I care? This is not relevant to me. Well, seeing as this is an issue that involves people of all color no matter, white, brown, purple, yellow, red, black, orange, and you are a human being that has some type of pigment to your skin that should be reason enough why this is relevant to you. To begin, racial oppression is just one of the thousands of dimensions of race but right now in 2015 I think it is something that has been highlighted in the news and media lately so why not use this as a platform to talk about it. One of the biggest problems with the concept “colorblindness” is that by saying this and living by this mindset you are suppressing the whole factor of somebody’s ethnicity that makes up who they are. You are acting like we are all the same and all equal when in reality we really are not. Race is so connected with somebody’s identity, it makes up their morals, values, background, culture, and tradition. Through years and years passed down, it can explain why a person is the way they are and what they think and why they do the things they do. Denying this factor is denying the biggest part of them. Although your intentions may not be to deny this part of someone’s whole being simply by not consciously acknowledging it that is the result. Imagine, being forced to suppress a major factor such as religion that you openly acknowledge and accept. Being expected to completely slide that under the rug and drop that. For someone who is deeply rooted in their faith this would be unimaginable. As everydayfeminist.com said, “Colorblind ideology takes race off the table. But for many people of color – as well as for White people who work to dismantle systems of privilege – race is very much on the table. Racism forces it to the tabletop. Colorblindness just pretends the table is empty.”

                                           equity-vs-equality

The only way to end racism is to first acknowledge race as a factor. For someone to say they are “colorblind” means that having color is a negative thing in the first place. To move forward, many things need to happen. We need to acknowledge that we all are not the same, but that we all deserve equal opportunity. Also, my fellow white peers need to recognize that we do have a power and privilege by the mere fact that we are white. You would be amazed by the some of things I hear people say nowadays like “Well white people can be oppressed to, I get made fun of all the time for being so pale,” are you kidding me. Ignorance aside there, we need to realize that we don’t carry our race as an identity. We don’t need to make adjustments or modifications to fit into the norm. We get to walk into job interviews and other opportunities fully being ourselves. Now, with this being said I am sure a lot of you will say well duh..I know I have privilege. This term actually has happened to almost “trend” nowadays which is an issue in itself.  My challenge to you, is what are you doing about this. Being anti-racist is associated with action and behavior rather than identity and subject position. We need to become attuned to the subtle racial biased in everyday life. We need to start valuing equity not just equality. We need to start valuing human rights and social justice. We can’t just simply claim our privilege but then continue to use it in such beneficial circumstances. We have to join in conversations happening around identity and truly listen so that we can try to empathize with the feelings of others that have felt this oppression for lifetimes leading up to now. Most importantly we need to work from a place of love. The solution to fix what is happening with the discrimination of people of color is not to give opportunity simply from pity this will just enable and make them feel more guilt for years later on down the road. The solution is to teach self-determination and liberation so that one can truly overcome powerlessness and dependency. This is a huge issue and I just brushed the surface of a lot of topics on the whole issue of race. I could talk more in depth about privilege, or empowerment, or liberation, or culture, or trends, but seeing as I have already almost written a small chapter book, I hope this is just enough to make some of you think a little differently my friends.

 


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