Color-Blind Racism: Think you’re not Racist? Think Again!

Abolishing inequality in the world is a big goal, one we continuously try to move closer to. One aspect of it is racism and the challenges it creates in our society. You see, the problem is, we all are racist to a certain degree, even those of us, that claim to be color-blind or treating everyone the same.

We all make racial judgments deep down in our consciousness. It might not be outspoken, but there are certain ethnic groups we may generalize in one way or another. We may look at certain races with unease because we perceive them to be threatening, be it to crime, poverty or even power. We also may realize that these brief moments of racist judgments are wrong, but even then, doesn’t their mere existence in our minds mean we are ever so slightly racist in our perception of the world? It’s not even necessarily our fault. Racial prejudice is deeply rooted in our society, especially in the US, which has never stopped its subconscious stigmatization of certain racial groups. While the practice of deepening the inequality for African-Americans over the past decades is a topic for another day, the issue I want to talk about does correlate with it. Being racially color-blind.

Color-Blind Racism

There are certain people that claim to be completely color-blind to race, implying that their solution for racism and inequality would be to be unapologetically equal to anyone. It does sound like a logical practice, to just start treating everyone the same overnight, miraculously ridding the world of one of its inherent issues. Unfortunately, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, being color-blind to race can actually be, in fact, racist in its own right.

I can already see certain people roll their eyes, thinking I’m one of those leftist social justice warriors, trying to dig up racism at every turn just to shove it in peoples faces. It’s easy because it’s everywhere. The whole American justice system is based on racial disparity. It’s not that hard to find racism everywhere because it is, in one form or another, always looming. And that is the inherent issue with self-proclaimed color-blind people. It’s a title that says “I’m just gonna start to ignore racism, so maybe it disappears”. It doesn’t.

When was the last time ignoring anything worked out great? It doesn’t work. It never has, it never will. Color-blind people are a danger to the whole endeavor of getting rid of racism in the first place because they try to establish something as fact that doesn’t yet exist in the US: equality. While everyone is the same, in as much as being a Human of flesh and blood and should be treated as such, the system we live in is not equal. The justice system, with mandatory minimums and the war on drugs, is not equal. Public perception is not equal. Opportunities, education, and employment chances are not equal. Being merely a color-blind person doesn’t fix these things, it amplifies them.

United in White Supremacy

You know who the worst of the color-blind are? White people, people like me. Simply because equality for many of them means losing all unique racial features that distinguish them from their own race. Equality for white people often means treating everyone else as white. Such as gender equality for many men means treating women like men. It blatantly ignores the matter at hand. It ignores the uniqueness that we have and tries to squish them into one, losing all potential points of friction. Oh, how equal we’d all be if all of us could be straight white males.

Gender Equality and Color-Blind Ignorance

It’s comparable to the much-discussed gender quotas, with one side arguing they’re needed and the other side claiming they are an unfair benefit. Treating women as equals doesn’t help them if the system is not equal by design. Take the inherent gender bias in the workplace for example. Some may claim women should earn their position “just as men do” and claim that’s equality. But if they have to work twice as hard due to obvious obstacles, is it really? If they get the back seat on a role just because of their different biological needs, is it fair to say that a quota puts men at a disadvantage? We are not talking about charities or giveaways, we are talking about trying to balance out the unequal parts of our society to level the playing field.

The name of the game is ignorance. Being color-blind is a nice idea, but it also sprouts ignorance as it denies the existence of our reality. Our reality is inherently racist and gender biased, and while being color-blind in interpersonal relationships is a great start, it is no solution in the grand scheme of things until inequality is fixed across the board.

About Andreas Salmen

Born and raised in Germany, learned a job in IT and Business and ultimately decided that this wasn't exactly where my life was going to end. Left everything behind to become a writing backpacker instead. The world's crumbling away anyway so why not write about it and get a few good Instagram pics on the way, am I right?

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