I’ve heard it said many times… “I’m not racist because I don’t see colour.” Unfortunately, I am not convinced that this statement is completely inclusive of all races. In fact, I would be willing to say that it is still racist.
What Is Behind This Statement?
I must admit that the person who makes this statement is usually not intending to be racist. In fact, they think that by saying that they don’t see colour, they are actually not being racist.
Behind this statement is the idea that “we are all one” and that they don’t see colour because that would make us somehow different than each other. “If I just ignore skin colour and don’t recognise it, then I won’t be creating unnecessary tension.”
They want to basically put us into a melting pot where we are all on equal footing & no one is treated differently because of their skin colour. So what could be so racist about that?
Where Does It Miss The Mark?
Unfortunately, this statement misses the mark because it assumes that somehow being different makes someone less equal. If two people have different skin colours, somehow one of those skin colours is not equal to the other. The only way to resolve the tension would be to treat both of them as if they have no skin colour. That is an implicitly racist point of view.
If we truly believed that all skin colours are worthy of equal value, then we wouldn’t neglect to see those skin colours; rather, we would celebrate them and their culture. Skin colour is indicative of a rich family history tied to some unique part of the world. Different parts of the world have so much worth celebrating.
The solution is not to stop looking at skin colour; rather, to celebrate our differences. In saying “I don’t see colour,” the person is implicitly saying that a certain cultural history doesn’t matter & shouldn’t be celebrated. They want everyone to be equal whilst losing their uniqueness and diversity. This statement implies some sort of vague cultural identity which everyone must fit into (like a melting pot which dissolves differences that ought to be celebrated).
If we truly don’t want to be racist, instead of pretending that someone doesn’t have a skin colour, we should respect the diversity that comes with different cultures. Of course, not everyone lives according to the country that their family history comes from; however, we shouldn’t be quick to reject other cultures and assume that they must live according to some vague worldview that wants to make everyone the same in every way. Difference is good.
– Tyson Bradley