A lot of people have synonymously exchanged colorblindness with not being racist. You cannot be racist if you don’t see color and see humans as one race. Sure, that is correct, and there is a point to that, but to say you don’t see color is problematic.
Coincidentally, as I was writing this article, Tomi Lahren was a guest on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. When she said “I don’t see color,” there was a small uproar in audience that mirrored my exact emotions. I cringed when she said that. I understand the concept behind it, but I think there’s so much more depth to those words than people realize.
There is more depth to race than just physical attributes. There is also more depth to being colorblind than just simply looking past someone’s complexion. Looking at someone and choosing to ignore their race and the color of their skin essentially erases identity and culture. Within each race you have different ethnicities, languages, religions, traditions, and so much more. You have culture and groups of people that identify with that culture. If you ignore someone’s race, you’re ignoring everything else that comes with it. Culture is how people identify and it’s human nature to rightfully want to belong somewhere. That’s the reason why I also cringe when people further their argument about not seeing race because it creates a “division” amongst people. Skin complexions don’t divide people, only ignorance does.
Racism is very much still alive. More often than not, it’s a common occurrence for people of color to face discrimination. Whether it’s part of their everyday lives or it’s more systematic and institutionalized, race continues to play an important role in people’s lives. These are experiences that generally happen to people of color. By saying you don’t see color fasts forwards progress and doesn’t acknowledge that racism is an issue. You say you don’t see color, but color is a big factor in so many people’s lives. It’s not something that can be ignored because you are colorblind to the issue. Ignoring these issues pushes everything under the rug and puts your privilege over others. Not everyone has the privilege to ignore race because it’s part of their life and their experiences.
My cultural background is a big part of my life. It’s something very close to me and who I am as a person. There’s something comforting when you’re around people who have the same cultural background as you. Everyone wants to feel like they belong somewhere. Race and culture is one way. Lately, I’ve been finding it really hard to be away from home because of this reason. I love the school I go to and the friends I’ve made, but I wish I knew more people with the same cultural background(s) as I do, speak the same language as I do, and eat the same foods as I do. I wish I knew more people who have had same or similar cultural experiences as I have had my whole life. My cultural background has been my whole life, and moving away from college and being away from it all has almost made me feel homesick in a way. I wish I knew more people who related to me. And ultimately, that’s what everyone (especially minorities) ideally want: To feel like they belong.
Race and cultures should be celebrated. Learn from your neighbors, peers, family, and friends about their languages and their cultures, what they eat, how they greet each other, and the different holidays and traditions they celebrate. Don't choose to ignore it all because you don’t see color. Race becomes a problem when you choose to let those kinds of things be a factor in how you view people, not noticing the complexion of their skin.