Not a Goal
want to start off by thanking you for including the Anti-Racism
Unpacked segment in the last issue of the Review. I, along
with many of my peers here, was brought up to avoid the topic of
race. As far as I can tell, however, avoiding the topic of race
only perpetuates racism, so the more we discuss it, the more we
work to eliminate it.
The part of the segment that disturbed me was the last sentence:
Color blindness is a goal; color consciousness is a way to
action. I believe that colorblindness is not and
should not be a goal in our work towards a society free of oppression.
Much of my generation was brought up to be colorblind,
including me. If we cant see skin color, we cant discriminate
against it, right? Wrong. Besides the fact that its impossible
to believe that sighted people dont actually see skin color,
colorblindness as a goal ignores those facets of race
other than skin color such as culture, religion, etc. Of course
race and culture, or race and religion do not always come as a package,
but race and skin color do not either. Some peoples skin color
is the same as my own, but they identify as black, Latina/o or Asian
American. Pretending that skin color is the sole determinant of
the thing we call race is inaccurate.
In my experience, colorblindness has only put up a barrier to keep
me from dealing with racism. Were taught that were supposed
to be colorblind, so when we notice race, we cant discuss
it because were not supposed to see it. Racism exists, we
all know that, and not talking about it is not making it go away.
We cant fight it if we cant even acknowledge what it
is without feeling guilty.
Colorblindness as an end to racism also assumes that
racism only exists in its personal prejudice form. This discounts
institutional and cultural racism, such as racial profiling by the
police, or mass marketing of inner-city hip-hop culture
to white suburban youth. These forms of racism are just as present,
and in many cases, far more oppressive and
destructive than discrimination against one person by another.
Much as we wish it wasnt true, colorblindness
also often means, consciously or not, everyone should assimilate
into one race. I believe that our racial and cultural differences
are unique and extraordinary. We should not have to give up our
heritage and our identity in favor of assimilating into a colorless
We should cherish and celebrate our differences. The goal of our
work towards equality and against oppression should be diversity,
not conformity. Our lives would be far less rich if we did not have
our own individual stories, personalities and cultures to share
with each other. Denying the differences between us that come with
our races is denying each of our cultures, histories and personalities.
To me, diversity is a goal; deconstructing the power structures
and assumptions that create oppression is the way to take action.