I am white. Pasty, to be precise. My predecessors are English and Irish, electing me a perfect candidate for crispy, scorched skin, ginger(ish) undertones in my locks, and splotchy freckles.
I live in a rustic town that is technically a "village," where students drive their tractors to the K-12 school, and wear cutoff flannels, sh*t stained boots, and cowboy hats 365 days a year. Nearly all of the people in my "village" are also white.
10 years ago, my stepfather moved to our tiny Wisconsin village from Milwaukee and has since helped expand our family and household with 4 beautiful siblings, ranging in age from 2 to fifteen.
Top: Sister, brother, me, mother, stepfather, and brother and sister. Bottom: Brother and stepfather.https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=1259193660...
In addition, my stepfather brought with him life experiences comparable to occurrences I'd only ever witnessed on television. I mean, nobody really witnesses the death of their friends and acquaintances, nobody really has to own a pistol at age 15 to protect themselves (and their business), nobody really has to continuously live in fear of whether they and their family will wake up the next day.
I realize now that this disbelief was based solely on ignorance. I had assumed that everybody experienced life in the same way that I did, and continued to believe this until the reality of my stepfather's experiences set in.
I had to start "seeing color" in order to fully understand the reality that social equality has a long way to go in this country.
I had to start "seeing color" in order to fully understand that it isn't a coincidence that Black men receive sentences 19% longer than white men. I had to start "seeing color" in order to fully understand that mass incarceration of Black and Latino Americans are not coincidences - rather, it's systematic erasure. I had to start "seeing color" in order to fully understand the heinous impositions of upholding Trump's travel ban.
When people proudly express, "I don't see color," the aim of their statement is actually counterproductive for what they're attempting to accomplish. It's great that you aren't racist or xenophobic, but far more goes into discrimination and oppression that blatant hate.
When we say, "I don't see color," we are telling people of color in America that the daily microaggressions they experience don't matter because "color" doesn't exist - everybody experiences life in the same way that white folks do, and because we don't live in fear, nobody else does, either.
When we say, "I don't see color," we tell people of color in America that we don't see them.
Black men don't experience life the same way as white men do in America. White men and teenagers aren't terrified of being gunned down because of a cell phone, or a plastic, toy gun, or because an officer asked for one's license and registration.
Black women don't experience life the same way as white women do in America. White women aren't consistently subjected to the same stereotypes that plague black women in America. White women aren't routinely asked if they know who the father of their child(ren) is, or assumed to be utilizing food stamps, or to be "sluts" chasing after their next "baby daddy."
We need to see color, to see people of color, in order to be aware of social injustices and be competent enough to call out the perpetrators with radical and effective solutions.
I see color. Why don't you?