Why saying “I don’t see race at all” just makes racism worse
AnythingOld last edited by
bi4smooth last edited by
Excellent article! Thanks for sharing it! (I often like TED articles!)
This is a very poorly-composed attempt at a statement. It assumes that people who don't prioritize race and assess a person for who they are, rather than the color of their skin, are somehow blind to racism.
Racism is judgement based primarily on race. This is an inherently oppressive concept in the first place, made worse by people ignorant enough to assume something about a person's character from an inborn trait over which they had no control.
Not dwelling on superficial qualities or inborn qualities is a step in the right direction, but it also doesn't mean that there's no discrimination or bigotry left in the world.
Comedy skit showing how racists and woke'ists are the same.
@moonmonday the fact that a person would say to a person of colour that 'I don't see race' is an indicator that they do see race. Unless of course this is a standard statement they make during interactions with all human beings of all races, including their own.People do see race and they need to be conscious of that to ensure their biases do not impact the interaction. To proclaim that you don't see race, means you will also ignore your ingrained racial biases/stereotypes, thus unknowingly making decisions based on those biases and stereotypes. Thus unknowingly contributing the cycle of racism.
AnythingOld last edited by
@alias2us I wasn't going to touch that, but you've responded beautifully!! Kudos.
There is a spectrum upon which we must find a balance toward the middle when it comes to analyzing race in America. On one side of the spectrum is the "I don't see color" un-critical ignorance referenced in the original post. On the other side is modern Critical Theory, which posits that everything...EVERYTHING...is the product of power differentials, and almost everything can be explained by racism.
Why should I give a crap about race; ie "I don't see race"?
If I judge you as you, without viewing your race, aren't I doing exactly as MLKJr said?
If I judge you based on your race, that is what would make me a racist.
As was indicated in the original article, those who lie to themselves by telling themselves that they "don't see color" then don't have any motivation or inclination to examine the unconscious or implicit biases that they actually do possess, despite their lie to themselves.
In other words, someone who tells themselves they don't see color doesn't think they have any room for improvement. However, no one is free from all cognitive or social biases, no matter how hard they lie to themselves.
bi4smooth last edited by
I want to chime in on this discussion - from the perspective of a middle-aged white man who grew up in the US South: my kindergarten class was the FIRST in the State of Florida to be fully integrated (in the 1960s). I attended a good Southern college (where there were very few black students, in spite of being in a city that was majority black). I worked for tech companies with few, if any black tech employees.
I considered myself well educated, open-minded, and definitely NOT a racist... but I also didn't think MY upbringing had been particularly benefited by any racial bias... the other kids in my kindergarten class had all the same opportunities I did, right?
I was in my late 40's before my eyes were opened.
I fell in love with a black man: David.
David was attending a party I was invited to... we were introduced briefly, but didn't otherwise talk. I had my eye on another guy - white, successful, around my age.... unlike David: he was "in my league"...
I got a call a couple of days after the party - the guy said he was David, we met at the party, and he wanted to have dinner. I thought it was "my guy"... not the tall, lanky, BEAUTIFUL black guy who I thought was COMPLETELY out of my league... Thinking I was meeting the other guy, we made plans, I dressed well, and hoped for the best.
David walked in and I thought it was a joke or a mistake. He was gorgeous, and sexy as hell... not the kind of guy interested in a 49 y/o dad. I couldn't have been more wrong! David LOVED the fact that I had adopted so many kids and was raising them myself. David LOVED the fact that I worked from home so I could be there for my kids. David LOVED the story I had related about my standing up for one of my kids at his middle school and essentially costing the Vice Principal her job because of how she treated my autistic son.... and I loved David's dry sense of humor, his ability to find the good in almost everything, and his boundless energy and playfulness. He challenged my intellectually - but more importantly for me - he challenged me emotionally. He could read me like a book - a CHILDREN'S book! LOL
Skip ahead a year and a half - David was living with me and my kids, but we hadn't really described our relationship to the kids yet... he slept in my room, but the kids only ever saw him asleep on the chaise lounge sofa at the foot of my bed... we were being discrete But it was also Valentines Day... one of my 12 y/o daughters came home from school and was giddy with joy: it was her first valentines day with a real boyfriend!
David nonchalantly told her HE was happy to have a boyfriend this year, too! My daughter asked him "really? who?" and he calmly said "Your Dad, silly!"... My daughter was dumbstruck (I have it on video - we have security cameras throughout all of the public areas of the house!)... then she hugged him and said "that means you are kinda like my dad, too!" (that really touched David... those two had a special bond up until David's untimely death in 2017).
So it all sounds idyllic... except that, with David by my side we routinely were presented with odd obstacles...
Case in point: it was December, 2016 and both David and my birthdays (two Sagittarians! it was HOT!)... we planned to have dinner at a nice restaurant downtown. We both dressed well. I drove, and dropped David off in front of the restaurant while I parked. We had a reservation, but this was a popular place.
I walked to the front door, and David was out front - clearly unhappy. It seems they didn't have the reservation after all! I went inside and gave the maitre'd my name and he immediately said my table was ready! David had given him my name too, but when that name belonged to a black man, it didn't exist. When it belonged to a white man, there was nothing wrong with it. The maitre'd went pale when I went out and came back in with David - and after a frank discussion with he and the manager, we chose NOT to eat there after all... but that was just ONE example of many where things were VERY DIFFERENT when comparing how I was treated alone, and when I was in the company of a black man.
Most horribly, in September, 2017 David had chest pains and had difficulty breathing... so we went to the ER. He was seen, they took x-rays, they gave him some pain relievers and sent him home.
24-hours later, he was REALLY having trouble breathing, and the chest pains were becoming debilitating... so we went back to the ER. They took another set of x-rays and they said he had "mild pneumonia" - they gave him MORE pain relievers and antibiotics, and sent him home yet again... this time with instructions not to come back for at least 48-hours.
24 hours later, David was unable to walk and still couldn't breathe... we went back to the ER a 3rd time (in just 3 days!) and THIS time, they finally admitted him. The MOMENT we showed up in the ward upstairs, the floor nurse ordered a MRSA test. Sure enough, David had had a MRSA infection all this time (Google it - you don't want one!), and now it had become septic (in his blood) and his lungs were quickly filling with fluid.
24 hours later, David was intubated and sedated. He never regained full consciousness, although it DID take him a little more than 30 days to die.
As painful as all of that was (I spent every night at his side), the real crushing blow came when that same hospital was investigated for the pattern of turning away black patients when white ones were admitted with the same symptoms. (Lots more detail there, but you won't be interested in that... I'm already too wordy when I write! LOL)
I have no proof, just a pattern. And since we weren't yet married and David was over 25, according to attorneys that his family and I spoke to, we had no standing to sue anyways.
But in my heart, I believe firmly that, even though the ER physicians may not have KNOWINGLY done so, their racial bias cost David his life, me the love of my life, and my kids an adoring father-like figure who meant the world to them.