There have been efforts better and more in-depth than my quick rant here on this topic of “colorblindness” when it comes to racism. I encouraged you to read those as well, along with the sources cited here throughout. Knowledge is power.
You probably know the sentiment often delivered by a white person (no, it’s not racist to say “white person,” and yes, it’s ok to talk about race) whenever the topic of race comes up:
“I don’t see race. We’re all the same.”
- Did you know that research shows that presently, in 2016, black children in the ER receive less pain medication than white children, because of an erroneous belief that black people don’t feel pain? In 2016. Black children. Denied pain medication. Because of superstition.
- Did you know that women of color are more likely to experience unnecessary birth interventions and birth trauma, and less likely to receive breastfeeding support?
- Did you know that in the past few years there have been multiple lawsuits against banks, car dealerships, and landlords for discriminating against people of color — lawsuits which have been won due to ample evidence of blatantly racist practices?
- Did you know that white school children are punished less severely than black school children for the exact same infractions? Did you know that white criminals are punished less severely than black criminals for the exact same crimes?
- Did you know that a white person who has a criminal record has a better chance of getting a job than an equally qualified black person who has no criminal record?
- Did you know that, in the past several decades, white men have killed more police officers than black men? Did you know that black boys age 15-19 are 21 times more likely to be shot by police than white boys? Did you know that under the NYPD’s violating stop-and-frisk program, almost 90% of people stopped were people of color? Nationwide data shows similar numbers, as people of color are far more likely to be pulled over and arrested than white people, despite the data showing that white people commit more crimes.
This list could go on and on and on, and it includes Native people, Latinx, and any person of color disenfranchised and oppressed by our inherently white supremacist system. You see, racism is not just lynchings and the KKK. Racism is systemic and it reaches every part of our society. And before anyone points to affirmative action as some form of reverse racism, it’s important to know that white women actually benefit from affirmative action more than anyone else.
“We’re all the same,” except we’re not, because we all have different traditions, histories, cultures, and lived experiences. And the various systems in our society certainly seem to notice skin color. It’s mighty convenient how the “I don’t see race” people tend to be those who are not affected by race on a daily basis.
In order to dismantle these systems, we need to see and acknowledge these issues. Colorblindness is a quaint cop-out, but it does nothing to create change.
Thumbnail image via Beatrice Murch
Featured image via Pug50