CALIFORNIA, July 29, 2013 — Colorblindness, meaning to not judge other people based on the color of their skin, is marketed as a sociological ideal intended to improve race relations. However, colorblindness is simply a contrivance used to stifle legitimate concerns about racism within a society where people can practice racism, and their defenders can condescendingly and arrogantly say, “It’s not about race!”
In order to lend credibility to this dubious concept of colorblindness, its advocates falsely attribute this sociological phenomenon to civil rights legend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Salespeople of the colorblind farce argue that Dr. King’s message advocated for a society in which nobody sees color, just humans, without noticing race.
This is a ludicrous misinterpretation and utter caricature of King’s argument.
In his now monumental “I Have a Dream” speech, given in 1963 on the historic steps of Washington, D.C.’s Lincoln Memorial, King preached, “I have a dream that one day … little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.”
That adherents of the cult of colorblindness manage to redecorate King’s lucid and logical philosophy on race into a preposterous call for eradicating racial distinctions is exceedingly insidious.
The notion that colorblindness and post-racial societies are laudable goals is arguably the cleverest trick racists have ever played. Racists understand that while people are pretending to be colorblind, they can clandestinely advance their goals while asserting that race has nothing to do with any of their actions.
Inevitably, colorblindness leads to a society where people are so desensitized to racism that it can be credibly denied as long as the accused racist does not wear distinguishable racist regalia. If colorblindness continues to have a foothold in Western society, however, “It’s not about race!” will be considered a legitimate retort to even the most virulent forms of organized racism.
Those who assert that overtly race-related situations have nothing to do with race are often among those who consistently posit race-based arguments. There is no greater example of this phenomenal hypocrisy than the recent Trayvon Martin saga.
Rather than addressing the clear racial issues in the Zimmerman murder case, many people on the right-wing of American politics think the best thing to do is to pivot from Martin’s unnecessary death to discussions about black-on-black crime. Those discussions appear to be a rationalization of why people like George Zimmerman are right to be afraid of and kill young black boys.
If those who chant the “What about black-on-black crime?” talking point were truly as colorblind as they claim, they would not deflect from an interracial crime to selectively comment on black intraracial crime. If they were as colorblind as they profess, all crime would simply be considered crime that needs to be eradicated.
The fact that they enjoy breaking down crime into racial categories that portray blacks badly is evidence of their colorblind hypocrisy.
The commentary on black-on-black Chicago crime from the American right is not coming from a place of genuine concern for black life. They could not care less about black life. The right’s deplorable demonization of dead victim Trayvon Martin is evidence of this point.
The dignified student Hadiya Pendleton is not representative of all the people killed in gun violence in Chicago. Every day in Chicago, there are people killed with objectively more “thug” credentials than Trayvon Martin.
If Martin was a “thug” destined for eventual death because he smoked marijuana, like right-wingers obtusely argue, then, according to their logic, many of the victims of Chicago gun violence deserved their fates, too.
Despite the pontifications of many naïve talking heads and academics, a post-racial, colorblind society would not be preferable to a race-conscious society.
Race-consciousness does not equate to racism, but colorblindness is the perfect societal condition for the proliferation of surreptitious racism, which will inevitably morph into full-blown racism.
In the literal sense, colorblindness is an ophthalmological defect. Why should we believe it is a social virtue? No logical arguments have been presented to lead to the conclusion that colorblindness is a social virtue. Colorblindness is based on the insulting premise that non-whiteness is a social defect, therefore being blind to race is the best way to improve race relations.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream will not be realized until little white boys and little white girls and little black boys and little black girls can hold hands together in agape love without their different colors being an impediment to their fellowship. If people have to blind themselves to color in order to love one another, obviously they are concealing their inner racism.
Colorblindness is not racial progress. Colorblindness is the unambiguous antithesis of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream; however, opinion-makers have hoodwinked people into believing that colorblindness is its fulfillment — and racists couldn’t be happier.
Chidike Okeem is a writer. Born in Nigeria, raised in London, England, and now living in California, he writes about race, culture, religion, and politics. You can find contact information and read more of his writings at www.voiceofchid.com.
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