This is an open letter to a small minority of folks who say “I don’t see color.” or why can’t we just say “We’re all humans.” or some other phrase that they emit with open arms that sounds all shiny and rainbow-y on the surface, but deep down, it’s just…so wrong.
While it may seem a nice utopian sentiment, it doesn’t solve the problem of racism. It is ignorant, disrespectful, and at least to me, racist in and of itself.
Having a different skin color is not taboo, folks. Being of a different race or culture or religion or whatever is not wrong. We should not shun it or ignore it. We should not close our eyes and put our fingers in our ears and go “Lalalalala…I can’t see you.”
This post-racial “colorblind” bullshit is an attempt at an easy way out of dealing with racism. Let’s just all pretend we’re the same, right? Same color, same race, same gender, same religion, same culture…and bada bing bada boom, our racist, prejudiced country will fix itself.
Racism is not some surface level visual issue with skin color. Racism is how you view a group of people as a whole and subsequently how you learned to react and behave to that perception.
My race and ethnicity define me, folks. It is who I am.
It is a part of my birth.
It is a part of my childhood.
It is a part of my relationships.
It is a part of my career.
It is a part of my census participation.
It is a part of every aspect of my life.
For one thing, I have been constantly reminded of it so therefore it has shaped me. I also, ya know, look in the mirror once in a while, all quicklike so as to not scare myself into an uncomfortable comatose state and notice that I do not look like everyone else. None of us do…no matter skin color.
So, to blatantly deny my race and my skin tone to my face denies my culture, my history, my life experiences, my presence…my very existence.
If you say you don’t see skin color, then you don’t see me. Or any other person of color.
Don’t try to make us all white or clear or all the colors…or whatever in your well-meaning, pretty little heads. We are not the same. And, that is more than okay. It is okay that you are white. Or black. Or brown. It is okay that I’m a mixture. Neither of us should feel ashamed of our skin color or who we are…unless we’re horrible fucking people. And then, yes, being a dickwad most definitely warrants shame.
I can see all kinds of fucking colors, skin tones, races, religions and not be a racist, prejudiced nincompoop. The only people I tend to treat differently are just close-minded assholes…plain and simple. Or at least I try. I try to be aware of how I size up others, and I usually look to their character. And, that’s really all I’m asking of you.
I don’t have all the answers. They are way smarter people than me who have a clue, without a doubt. But, I do know education needs to be more of a priority. Getting out of your bubble and expanding your knowledge of this vast country will go a long way to help. Being perceptive to new ideas and different ways of living and open to those who are different than you will help our world be a kinder, gentler place.
Teach your children about all the beautiful, unique people in our world. Talk about these things. Have a goddamn real conversation without the intent to argue or debate “opinions”. I can almost guarantee if you have any legitimate questions about someone different than you, they will be more than willing to have that conversation with you. (Within reason, of course. Don’t bombard them. Don’t ask questions you could just google or learn about in a book.) Just be kind to one another. It’s not hard. And this is coming from a socially averse person who’d rather have a conversation with a dog than a person.
And most importantly, in your journey to more racial and cultural enlightenment and acceptance, do not be afraid to mess up. It’s a tricky road to travel. You’ll get some things wrong. You’ll say the wrong thing. You’ll do the wrong thing. It happens. Recognize it, learn from it, and move on.
So listen, we should be different. Right?
We are different.
We should be equals. Agree?
We most definitely can be different and equals. That, my friends, is utopia.
We embrace our differences. We learn from them…from each other.
Life is beautiful.
La vita è bella. (Because I think it sounds better in Italian and that movie was fucking beautiful… apologies for the tangent…)