It’s Okay to Call Me [White]

When the topic of diversity or racism comes up, some people toss around the phrase “color blind.” Such as, “I think we should be color blind. I don’t see him as black.”

I going to be blunt — that’s absurd. People are different. We need to acknowledge people are different. Yes, he’s black. Yes, she’s Asian.

Saying, “I don’t see you as black” is the equivalent of saying “I don’t see you as a male.” It’s offensive.

Our racial and ethnic background is part of who we are. Our Greco-Roman philosophical heritage has de-emphasized the physical and sometimes portrayed the physical as dirty. But we are physical beings.

Our bodies shape how we experience and view the world. A man perceives the world differently than a woman, a blind person experiences life differently, kids have a particular perspective compared to adults.

It’s okay to say I’m white. Being a white (race), male (gender), 20-something (age) has affected who I am.

Being stripped of your identity is painful. A 12-year-old boy is hurt by being called a “little girl” … not because being a girl is bad, but because he is a boy. A friend of mine shared how he was offended when people called him an Oreo (black on the outside, white on the inside). He was offended because he’s black, not white.

Saying that we are different is okay. Racism only happens when people or institutions hurt someone (even unintentionally) because of their race.

Color blindness is not the answer. Instead of covering our eyes and pretending we are the same, we need to accept and respect each other.

I’m not an expert on this subject, and you’re totally free to disagree with me. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Post a comment down below.

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2 Comments

  1. i think the incentive behind encouraging people to be “colour-blind” is to promote equal treatment of everyone so i understand that notion. actively distinguishing people according to their race is usually viewed negatively due to our tendency to stereotype. but the bottom line is the same – treat everyone with respect. i agree that ignoring our differences can cause hurt.

    Reply
    • Agreed. I think being “color blind” is probably better than outright racism, but it’s not a full picture of race relations.

      Reply

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