The Problem With The Phrase "I Don't See Color"
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Politics and Activism

The Problem With The Phrase "I Don't See Color"

"Living in a hyper-visible colorized system and being colorblind isn't an option."

The Problem With The Phrase "I Don't See Color"

Being colorblind isn't solving anything. I know a lot of people including family and friends that say or believe in the statement, "I don't see color." I'm not talking about the primary colors, but "color" in the sense of racial and ethnic identity. The problem with that statement is that color is actually pretty visible. In a world, where there are different walks of life, colorblindness is a problem.

By one saying that they "cannot see color" they are basically disregarding a major portion of someone's identity. Though the statement is supposed to be a statement of acceptance or tolerance, the phrase has a different premise. By saying "I don't see color", I'm saying I don't see you as Black. I don't see you as Hispanic or Latino/a. I don't see you as Asian. I don't see you as mixed-race. I think you know where I'm going.

Living in a hyper-visible colorized system and being colorblind isn't an option. Every day we are asked to identify ourselves. Whether we present identification, check a box for "race" or "ethnicity" or when we are asked the dreaded "who are you?" question at school or work. We cannot escape it. For most people of color, the first thing that comes to mind when identifying themselves is their racial or ethnic group. People of color are always taught to acknowledge their "color" because their skin tone isn't the norm. In a world where "whiteness" is standard, there is no way a person of color can go through life as invisible. Because everything associated with "whiteness" is invisible. Invisible?

For example, you are walking through the grocery store and you want to make tacos. You automatically know that you have to go to the "ethnic" food aisle and find the subsection "Hispanic Foods" to find spices, tortillas and any other ingredients associated with your recipe. Why aren't these items in the same aisle as non-ethnic food? Why are they so-called "ethnic"? Because they are different from the standard. If this analogy didn't resonate, here's another. This time, you are in the beauty department. You want to purchase some shampoo and conditioner but all the brands you usually use are in the "ethnic" or "textured hair" isle. Usually, this section is smaller and offers less options. Why is there a separate isle for "textured hair"? Because, again, it is different. The fact that stores have to differentiate food and beauty products as "ethnic" clearly shows that there is a "standard" and an "other." Ethnic of course being the "other". If the grocery store can see this difference, why do people disregard it? People aren't comfortable with color. That's the bottom line.

From a young age we are taught that everyone is equal, suggesting that we are all the same, right? Wrong. There are no two people that are exactly the same. Equality is a paradox. By saying we are all equal, you are basically putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound. Throwing "equality" around is a quick fix. I'm not saying that certain people should be valued at higher levels than others or be treated differently. I'm saying look each and every person as an individual. See that person for who they are, their identity. It's okay to see color. Everyone is equal by their individuality because the one thing that all humans have in common is that they are different from one another. That's the beauty within humanity. So see color, don't erase it.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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