There is one thing you will always hear from casually racist white people either right before or immediately following some casually racist comment. It’s meant to absolve them of any fault for the casually racist thing they just said or are about to say. It’s like an ace of spades they throw.
Over and over you hear:
I don’t see color.
This is the second largest pile of BS a person can say, right behind “He’s just a friend.” White people who say they don’t see color is the casual racist’s equivalent of people with small penises purchasing large pickup trucks and assault rifles. It’s an extreme over-compensation for an embarrassing condition. Claiming you “don’t see color” is item number one on the “Is This Person Secretly A Racist?” checklist.
Here’s the thing about “not seeing color”:
- Shut up, idiot. Yes, you do.
- In the words of The Bard, “Methinks thou doth protest too much.”
- You should probably start seeing color. Soon.
Let’s assume for a moment you legitimately did not see color. That would be one of the largest contributing factors to racial division in this country since the invention of multiple mounts for water fountains. While you assume you’re half-heartedly fighting against racism, you’re actually encouraging racism. Lots of it.
People are different and they always will be. People have different backgrounds, religions, and yes… are of different races. This means that people have different customs, habits, foods, language, and traditions. Irish-American culture, with all its quirks and idiosyncrasies, is vastly different from Korean-American culture and all of its quirks and idiosyncrasies. Each community deserves to have their experience recognized and celebrated.
To “not see color” is to minimize the cultural experience people of color go through. It is another way for white people to say “your culture is not important enough to be recognized, and you should assimilate into my culture.”
Seeing color is important. When you have an African American or Latino friend, you should recognize they are African American or Latino. You should accept that they have a rich, wonderful culture and that culture is different from yours. Acknowledging their culture allows you to know them better as a person. “Not seeing color” robs you of this and effectively erases their history and experience.
Recognizing that someone you are speaking to is of a different race, is how you relate to that person. We are not just people, but members of a community. It is disgustingly arrogant to say “You don’t belong to this community of people who look and speak like you. You’re going to be in a community that has nothing to do with your culture.” In case you’re confused as to the definition of white privilege, telling a person of color what community they have to belong to… that’s it.
If you have the audacity to assert you “don’t see color”, you should consider learning how to see color. You should take the time to recognize someone’s uniqueness and cultural history, and celebrate the diversity it brings. The United States is not a “melting pot” but rather a cultural salad. We maintain our individual identity and allow it to merge into a collage of wonderful things. We can enjoy these cultures individually, or in mixed forkfuls. Either way, these cultures maintain their own place in the salad.
Stop saying you don’t see color. Because you do, you should, and claiming this is the rallying cry of casually racist white people bent on assimilation and cultural repression.
See color. See culture. See the cultural salad of America.