The phrase “I don’t see color” may be a well-intentioned statement but it is inherently flawed. I applaud anyone who sincerely fights against the human proclivity of prejudice. God bless you for your desire to be like Jesus. However, not “seeing color” is a problematic way of trying to rid ones self of racial prejudice.
In love, let me give 4 simple reasons why we should abandon that language:
1.) Unless you are blind, you do in fact SEE color. It is not a crime to notice someone’s pigmentation just as it’s not wrong to notice a persons gender. (Don’t condemn yourself for that)
2.) It stops any meaningful, soul searching, and transparent conversation on race dead in its tracks. We have given everyone a free “I’m not a racist card” with minimal requirements. It’s as if the “magic words” to evade awkward dialogues on race are “I don’t see color”. This is not magic. It is tragic. We are ducking our calling to be reconcilers in the world.
3) Not “seeing” color ignores God’s glory, beauty, and diversity in creation. Nowhere in scripture are we asked to be star blind, moon blind, or mountain blind. We are told to behold these created things because they point to the glory of their Creator. Humans are fearfully and wonderfully made. Your ethnicity and my ethnicity are gifts, not curses.
4) Teaching “Colorblindness” in a society that has had racism in its DNA for 400 years is like bringing a butter knife to the front lines of a military battle. It is a very weak spiritual and moral weapon. The problem is not that we “see color” it is that we read horrible meaning into color. Innocence, purity, social worth, superiority, privilege and humanity has been attached to whiteness while inferiority, social disposability, criminality, depravity, and sub-humanness has been attached to black, brown, and red folks. The institutional, systemic, and internalized affects of 236 years of land stealing and slavery followed by 100 years of legal segregation do not disappear in 50 years with no residual affects. (That’s not even including the ways in which racism actively operates in our society) Colorblindness inadvertently blinds SOME well meaning people to racial injustice. For others, it is a disingenuous rhetorical device employed to uphold the status quo of racial injustice without raising the eyebrows that overt brands of racism would.
God wants us to SEE the #WalterScott’s, the #RekiaBoyd’s, the #CoryKanosh’s, the #AntonioZambranoMontes’, & the #FreddieGray’s of our world! God wants us to SEE, lament, and repent of the flagrant racial separation in the Body of Christ. God wants us to SEE the racial inequalities that still plague our educational, economic, housing, and criminal justice systems and commit to the love-fueled work of justice!
“….in a racist society, God is never color blind. To say God is color blind is analogous to saying that God is blind to justice and injustice, to right and wrong, to good and evil. Certainly this is not the picture of God revealed in the Old and New Testaments.” -Cone 1970
We desperately need to wrestle in prayer, scripture study, and honest dialogue to have our minds renewed to SEE color in a way that bears witness to the Kingdom of God.
it’s ok to SEE our complexion folks. 🙂
We give you permission.
Just don’t read meaning into it.
Racism is not “SEEING” or mentioning skin tone or ethnicity.
It is “READING” ungodly meaning into it.
It is oppressing, separating, hating, and prejudging because of it.
Racism is man’s gravest threat to man–the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason. -Heschel