I used to think that not "seeing race" was a way that I could be a helpful, contributing citizen to a country with such rocky racial relations. Racially colorblind. Yes, that's what I'll be.
I don't see color.
Except, that's a complete lie. I do see the color of someone's skin.
So do you.
We all see race, immediately. It isn't to be ignored, even if we actually could.
The color of my husband's skin is not something to hide away or something to be separated from who he is (a la "I don't see color, I just see people."). His blackness is his culture, his experience, his identity, his personhood and his life. I can't ignore that or pretend it's not there.
I don't want to.
Racial colorblindness is a mythical, blissful idea. A myth that someone wrapped in a pretty bow and intended to be the right answer to hot topics we don't feel comfortable discussing.
People wonder why all these racial problems are "bubbling up" now, fourty-nine (yes, just fourty-nine) years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered.
Maybe it's because while we've been busy convincing ourself we could ignore race, we've been ignoring a lot of other things.
Perhaps ignoring those huge wounds in our country's history?
The wound of hundreds of years of slavery. The wound of racial injustice. The wound of redlining. The wound of criminalization. The wound of stereotyping. The wound of unjust sentencings.
And while some of those wounds aren't still open, did they not leave scars?
Are we just ignoring those instead?
And another reason that I'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to a point where we are going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history, but the demands didn't force them to do it. Survival demands that we grapple with them. - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I Have Been to the Mountaintop, April 3, 1968
Ignorance isn't bliss. Grapple with racism. Discuss it. Listen. Learn from it.