This is one of the worst statements inflicted on people of colour. Yes, well-meaning people may say this with the best intentions; The road to hell is also paved with good intentions.
Colour blindness (apologies about the ableist language, I’m highlighting the use of it in common language) is damaging. It supports white supremacy, yes this puts you on the racist end of the spectrum.
Colour blindness (apologies about the ableist language, i'm using the common language) is damaging. It supports white supremacy, yes this puts you on the racist end of the spectrum. Click To Tweet
In a lot of ways race is not self-ascribed. I may declare that I am part of the global majority. However, no matter whichever box I choose means very little when labels and prejudice are placed upon sight.
To state that you don’t see colour is incorrect. I’m talking neurologically (reference).
Let’s postulate we live in a fantasy world where you are the bias-free mythical beast. The next step is to recognise that even if you do not see colour, the rest of the population does.
The statement implies that as long as you don’t see colour, the world is excellent. Hurray, we have solved racism, oppression is has been slain, let me get your medal, actually let me get your O.B.E (sigh).
let me reiterate ‘As long as individual people don’t see colour, racism doesn’t exist’.
This statement not only denies the lived-in experience of people of colour but even more dangerously it denies the power structures we live under.
Come with me on a journey into Narnia.
Pran Patel hates white people (I don’t, we are in Narnia). That’s all white people, I will not hire/promote, ignore the views of white people, etc. I will engage in prejudice towards people without colour in all aspects.
What happens next…
Really, what happens next?
Yes, some abhorrent discrimination and some white people are disadvantaged on the day they interact with me. The next day life returns to normal; they go to another establishment and the resume in their position of power.
Nothing has changed. Systemically nothing changed.
As my single fictional act of hate made no impact on the lives of white people.
What impact do you think that the declaration that people don’t see colour has?
Pupils of colour are still disadvantaged by their teachers. If you are a teacher, you are biased, accept that, there is not a teacher in the land who would state that they treat their pupils differently. It still happens (reference bias and underachievement).
The only thing the declaration does is fog the oppression. I’m okay, so the world is okay, and thus implying that racial discrimination doesn’t exist. We have to be better.
Recently, I wrote on being ‘not racist‘, not racist does not exist; there are two sides of the coin racist or anti-racist. If you want to be in the latter, you have work to do. Simple damaging declarations do nothing but force you into the former.