Saying you “don’t see color” isn’t inclusive

One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone says they don’t see color or that the are “color blind” when it comes to race.

I get it. The person saying it is usually trying to say that the color of someone’s skin does not shape their opinions of them or how they view them. That is a great concept and that’s how it should be. However, that’s not the way to express it.

Saying that you don’t see color is actually I microaggression. While your intention is to say that you won’t stereotype for the way that they look, the impact is that you’re denying to acknowledge a part of someone’s identity.

At the end of the day yes you can “see color” when you look at someone so there’s no reason to feel that you should claim that you don’t. Skin color is one of the first things that you can see about someone. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s what you think, do, or say afterward that matters.

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46 thoughts on “Saying you “don’t see color” isn’t inclusive

    1. You know who you are? You’re the type of person who shouts “Not all men!” when women discuss topics you don’t like. Instead of listening to what someone is saying, you reject everything and pretend you’re somehow better because you’re not like that.

      But you are. By refusing to listen, by refusing to understand and accept another’s point of view, you are like that. You bury your head in the sand and pretend these problems are worse in other places, that the grievances people are expressing are imagined slights.

      Saying you don’t see colour is racist. It’s dismissing the very real experiences, prejudice and oppression that race has been affected by. While it’s nice to think you don’t judge someone by their colour, at the end of the day, others do. Racism still exists. People are still hugely affected by it.

      Rae isn’t telling you what to think or how to feel. She’s saying that if you say “I don’t see colour” at best you’re an ignorant asshole dismissing someone else’s life experiences because you’re a privileged son of a bitch who wants to live in a fantasy world; and at worst, you’re racist yourself for using such a statement and refusing to listen when someone tells you you’re wrong.

      So here’s a plan: before you jump out because you’re dying to share your goddamn ignorant and privileged opinion that ignores the reality so many others face, how about you sit down and shut the fuck up and just listen?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I read, I listened, and I think it’s a misguided notion. What she proposes is to fight oppression with oppression. “They told us what to do and think, now we’re going to tell them what to do and think.” In other words fighting X with X. That formula has failed throughout most of history.
        The one that does work is recognizing individual rights (which we’ve known since the enlightenment); meaning accepting that X is wrong in and of itself.
        What the author does in this post is lay out a law, a rule. Do not do Y. It’s not an aggression when referring to her, it’s an aggression, period. It’s quasi-religious. By using this method/format she sets herself up as an “authority” who speaks for everyone else in society.
        As a person whose parents are from two different countries, whose grandparents were born in three different countries, and who grew up speaking four different languages, I’ve always enjoyed the notion of colourblindness. I much prefer it to the “so, where exactly are you from?” So thank you very much for your outlook, but you don’t get to decide for me how *I* prefer ethnicity to be treated. Neither does your friend.

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      2. She literally doesn’t say that at all. Literally. She is simply pointing out that saying that you’re “colour-blind” dismisses an entire race. She never once said “This is what they’re going to do” or anything of the sort. You said you read it, but your response appears to suggest otherwise.
        You know what? You’re right. I don’t get to tell you how to view an entire race. Nor does Rae.
        But neither do you.
        You stating that Rae is wrong is doing the exact thing you’re pissed about. You do realise the hypocrisy, right?
        Also, there’s a difference between race and ethnicity, right? It’s an important distinction, and one you need to understand, because Rae is discussing race, not ethnicity.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “Saying that you don’t see color is actually a microaggression.”
        That’s from the text above. It sets out a law. What I’m saying, which you seem to have not understood, is that we make a grave mistake by setting out laws in that manner. There’s an enormous difference in saying each person can decide for themselves and saying there is only one way to look at this. The first option means freedom, the second option, which is imposition, is totalitarian.
        Furthermore, your defence of it isn’t intellectual or on substance. It’s purely tribal. You’re defending her because she’s your friend/acquaintance. Note you’ve made excuses for what she said but you haven’t laid out an Aristotelian argument supporting any of it.

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      4. Ummm …. no. I’ve replied because I think your comments are bullshit. My reply has nothing to do with Rae whatsoever. It has everything to do with the fact that you’re ignoring what she’s saying. What so many other people are saying.

        That statement isn’t setting out a law. I’m going to assume you mean a metaphorical law, and are being hyperbolic in regards to her ‘totalitarian’ statement, otherwise I should really be giving Rae more props for creating and establishing a rule over a country, as well as turning it into a totalitarian one. Not an easy feat.

        No, it doesn’t say what you have to think or feel. What the text does say is that, by stating you don’t see colour, the statement is usually made either out of ignorance or actual racism. It dismisses a person’s value. It dismisses a person’s existence. It dismisses the racism and prejudice a person has experienced.

        Ummm … that is a defence. I don’t care if your family has been born in different countries and you have the ability to speak multiple languages. That’s good for you. But it doesn’t mean you’re right when you say “You don’t see colour”. It doesn’t mean that statement’s any less racist, or any less ignorant.

        My defence is pretty damn clear: listen to those that are speaking. Rae is not the only one who is saying colour matters. Listen to Jesse Williams’ BET speech. Listen to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. So many people are crying out the same thing: that colour exists, that race exists, and it goddamn matters.

        If you don’t think that’s a substantial or intellectual response, perhaps it’s because your argument sucks, so it’s really difficult to build off of that. Saying she’s ‘stating law’? Her law is ‘totalitarian’? Give me a break, please.

        This is a blog. It’s an opinion piece. To be fair, it’s an opinion supported by many people of colour. This post revealed nothing new or special to me; I’ve heard similar statements from my friends who have different racial backgrounds. You either get that, or you don’t.

        I just choose to listen, instead of being an asshole. You’re a prime example of someone like Stacey Dash: you assume because you have a different race or a different ethnicity, you speak for everyone.

        But I did notice how you deflected when I called you a hypocrite. Nice try.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That’s just a combination of rambling and personal attacks. It’s childish and nonsensical.
        You and the author are proposing a false dilemma. Either you do it her way or you’re classified as an “ignorant, racist, a-hole.” I’m saying that’s absolute rubbish.
        It was rubbish when she first said it and it’s still garbage now when you’re defending it.
        She’s not proposing options whereby people be treated as they feel most comfortable. Which is: The Ethical Position. She’s laid out an either/or.

        And btw, try educating yourself, a class on logic would serve you well. I’m not assuming anything, much less speaking for everyone. If you don’t understand the difference between letting each individual choose or imposing a structure you’re no different from those in the religious right who equate civil rights for LGBT people with an encroachment on their rights. Idiot.

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      6. Oh yes, because you’ve spoken so flawlessly and eloquently. It isn’t childish to ask someone to listen. You can say it’s absolute rubbish: I still think you’re an ignorant asshole who isn’t listening.

        She’s not proposing “whatever makes everyone feel most comfortable” because she’s discussing racism. By stating “I don’t see colour”, people are dismissing the racist prejudices others face. End of story. It’s not about ethics, it’s about someone, who is a person of colour, is telling you that a statement is not only racist, it’s ignorant and dismissive.

        Uhhh … no. That’s not the same at all, and a terrible metaphor. I listen to people, instead of going, “Oh, this is what I think. I haven’t been affected by a) so I’m sure it’s never happened.” I fight heavily for LGBTQ rights, and will always do so. I also listen when someone from that community airs a grievance. When someone from the LGBTQ community tells me there’s a problem, or they prefer the words ‘cis’ and ‘non-cis’ over ‘transgender’, I listen, instead of saying, “Oh, that’s some totalitarian law you’re trying to propose! I’m part of the LGBTQ community and I prefer to use the word ‘transgender’.” Which is exactly what you’re doing. Which is your argument: that you fall into different ethnicities and speak different languages so that somehow makes you correct.

        There needs to be an either/or in some situations. It can’t always be ‘what everyone feels like’. That’s how we end up with people like Trump wanting to run a country.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Dismissing ethics is about you being an undereducated imbecile. A person of whichever minority can speak for themselves and themselves alone. That’s what I explained and which you, because you have the IQ of a ripe melon, don’t seem capable of understanding-you fool.
        I’ve said many times now that usage should be left up to EACH INDIVIDUAL. If you prefer a particular word in relation to your identity people should respect that. Just don;t go dictating what other people should or shouldn’t prefer. You can decide for yourself, not for other people, so there’s no either/or. Cretin.

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      8. Hi,
        We both got carried away and said things I’m sure we didn’t really mean. I know the sentiment behind your defence of the idea discussed here is benign- and intended to protect people and their feelings. I can also understand why Rae would take that position.
        What I probably didn’t express well enough was an argument explaining the dangers of it on a practical level. Acknowledging race works perfectly in the context of a non-racist world or community. Add a racist individual to the equation and acknowledgement quickly turns into discrimination. Put racists in a position of power… and we have disaster.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Hi,
        Thank you for taking the time to apologise and send a message back, I really appreciate it.
        I should have taken the time to explain my point about colour-blindness and how dismissive it can be to people of colour. I understand that racist people will use that idea to further fuel their racism; but, I think we both can agree, when it comes to racism, racist people will use anything to further their agenda.
        I completely agree – racist people in a position of power is a dangerous thing. Somehow, god knows how, we’ve managed to elect two dangerously ignorant and racist people into our Queensland parliament (I’m Australian). One is the Australian female version of Trump; the second is the Australian version of Sarah Palin. The one that’s like Trump not only wants to ‘build walls’ and ‘monitor Muslims 24/7’ (seriously, like some Nazi bullshit), but she also wants to have a ‘Royal Commission into Climate Change’. Seriously. Because we can’t believe the 97% of scientists who say it exists … they must be somehow wrong. I know that’s a little bit off point, but my point is meant to be, today I fully realised just how racist, xenophobic and bigoted some people in my state are (let alone my country!) and how horrifying it is that they’re in the position of power to do some truly terrifying things.
        I think we need to acknowledge race, because it’s something so many people face oppression and disempowerment via. However, I think I understand what you’re saying – that many people use racial stereotypes to their advantages. (Maybe I’m reading that wrong … I’m awfully tired, so if I’m not making sense, please let me know. I just saw your reply, and I wanted to reply in case I accidentally forgot to come back to it tomorrow. I’m not sure where you live … I’m guessing potentially France by your last name? Amazing country, btw) but it’s 11.30pm at night for me 🙂
        Anyway, I just wanted to say thank you again for taking the time to respond and acknowledging that things, on both sides, may have been heated and misguided. Not many people are willing to do that, and I appreciate the level of maturity that takes. Thank you.
        I hope, next time, I am able to reign in my hot-head and explain my view points more eloquently.
        Hope you have a good day/night.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Can I make a suggestion? Why don’t we make this discussion into a proper issue discussed on this blog? You and Rae could do a post together?
        How does theory translate into action and what can be the consequences? That sort of underpins all these ideas we’re exchanging and people rarely look at things from that particular angle- which is actually phenomenally important.

        Liked by 2 people

      11. First of all, I’m not stating a law or telling other people that they HAVE to listen to me. I simply provided perspective on how something that someone may think is helpful can actually be harmful. I never said that if you make this statement that you’re ignorant or racist or an asshole. I never gave an ultimatum or claimed that this was the way that it has to be, I offered my stance on something simple. And I am not fighting oppression with oppression not that you would know anything about that anyway. I’ve told you before that I have no issue having conversations with people who disagree with me but clearly you are incapable of doing so without being rude to me (someone that you don’t know) for absolutely no reason. This could have been a simple conversation where each of us explained out opinions but instead you insist on calling people names. We’re adults, how about we act like it.

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      12. If something is optional we use conditional words. Some people dislike, some people might prefer. When you assert/state that a certain behaviour *is* racist, you’re making a rule based on your point of view.

        Again, go over the comments and check how rude I was. All I did was question the right of imposing a single point of view and your friend immediately fell back on a personal attack.

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      13. I never said it was racist, I said it could be seen as exclusive. You could have simply said I disagree because of…what ever you want to say. Instead you were rude and overly sarcastic for no reason. Now you’re attacking Carla and calling her names. That’s not how adults handle a disagreement. You could have simply explained it instead of being an asshole about but you chose not to. So yeah you can see in the comments (just like last time) that this didn’t have to be a drawn out discussion if you knew how to speak to people with differing opinions. I didn’t give a single point of view I gave MY point of view which I don’t mind you disagreeing with nor did I attack you. Now you’re being overly passive aggressive and writing a post about me. But of course you still think you’re right no matter what because you are literally incapable of having a normal conversation and have to result to insult and childish behavior

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      14. You’re profoundly intellectually dishonest.
        My first comment said nothing more than: “Where does dictating to other people what they can think or say come on the microaggression scale?”
        Oh my goodness! How offensive and aggressive!!! Certainly meriting being called an a-hole… right?

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      15. I know what you said and I told you that that was not my intention. Instead of listening to me and asking clarifying questions if you still didn’t understand where I was coming from you were rude. I didn’t call you an asshole until after that so that’s not why that happened. And yes, you are being an asshole an extremely aggressive toward Carla so it was well deserved

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      16. Do you know how to read time stamps? After my first comment: “Where does dictating to other people what they can think or say come on the microaggression scale?” Her response was to say I was an ignorant, privileged, male, racist. You have the nerve to call *me* aggressive? You had no problem with that at all, which shows exactly who and what you are. You will not only excuse but embrace xenophobia, bullying and exclusionary tactics if it’s to your advantage. And the same is true of Carla. Neither of you is fighting for a more equal world; you’re seeking personal privilege. You want to substitute/become the oppressive class.

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      17. Okay, your conversation with Carla has nothing to do with me. I was responding to you not her. And see, talking to me like I’m an idiot and know how to read time stamps isn’t rude? If you really think this is about “seeking privilege” then you really need to find something better to do with your time. You taking your anger from her out on me just proves that you really can’t have a normal conversation, so I’m done talking to you. Although, I’m sure you will commenting, and calling people names, and being condescending so have fun with that

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  1. I want to agree with this because it says more about a person to acknowledge the way a person looks and who they are and react to it than it does to ‘ignore’ how the person looks. That’s not tolerance and acceptance. It’s avoidance. While I don’t exactly know what people should say yet in regards to how they feel (if anything at all, since bringing it up and not acting like it’s normal to see different people is making it seem less normal), I agree that being ‘color-blind’ is necessarily the best term for people who don’t judge based on skin tone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You make a good point. Some people make it like they don’t notice. Like don’t get me wrong, judging someone based on the color of their skin is wrong, but let’s face it, like you said it’s one of the first thing you notice. I think it’s the same for attractiveness. It’s just something we see.

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  3. This is why this blog exists. It exists so we can discuss different ideas and points of view. It’s frustrating to see the discussion get as heated as it’s become, but at least there is actually discussion, rather than an isolation of what we think from one another.

    Right now I’m exhausted from a busy day, so I’ll weigh in more on what I think later.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Ok, I’ve been through everything that’s been said so far (as best I can, given the lateness of the hour here and the travelling I’ve been up to), and I’m going to weigh in. I would ask everyone to please not mistake my honesty with aggression.

        There’s a little bit of over-reacting going on here.. Rae, I know what you’re trying to say with your post, and I believe I understand where you’re coming from – for some of us, our race/ethnicity forms part of who we are, no matter how big or small. Ignoring that in a person can be construed as denying that part of a person (though, I don’t think it’s a wilful act, and I also understand where Merveilleux is coming from – people sadly can and do play the victim card). I think the phrasing you used could have been clearer – I don’t think aggression is the right choice of word – misunderstanding might have been a better one.

        Merveilleux, I think you seized upon that word and ran with it, and unfortunately that didn’t help. You have your own blog and you are free to write whatever you want there, but the post certainly hasn’t helped to calm things down at this end.

        I must also also say that Carla, you reacted very strongly, too strongly, and then you and Merveilleux trapped yourselves in a spiral of increasing anger and aggression. This has escalated when it didn’t need to.

        That’s my two cents.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I also acknowledge in my post that the intention is not to be exclusive but can be seen that way. And me using the word “aggressive” comes from the fact that is not the first time that he has started an argument with me over one of my post in an immature manor. So while you are trying to make peace here there’s more to this than just what you’ve read right now

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      3. I think what everyone should do is take a deep breath, and for the moment, walk away from this discussion. I don’t know all the history between all of you; what I do know is that each and every one of you holds a lot of passion for what you believe in. You all want to leave the world in a better condition than what you found it in. You all want to see a world where petty prejudices and hate do not drive us. Merveilleux, for what it is worth, I don’t believe for one moment that anyone who contributes to this site is seeking to further personal agendas or seeking privelege.

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      4. with all due respect if your excuse now is that you don’t know the history then you should not have intervened in the first place. And although I’m sure that it was not your intention to, it looks like you’ve taking sides.

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      5. Bear in mind, I take no sides. I think Merveilleux has failed to distinguish himself by being quick to judge and he’s made several unfair assumptions. I think Carla’s response was very heated and unnecessarily so. I created this site and don’t want to see it become a battleground for grudges and hostility. If that means I have to delete the comments here and have everyone start again with cooler heads, I’ll do that, but I’d rather not.

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    1. Things take a turn for the worse at… carlalouise89 JULY 2, 2016 AT 1:24 AM. That was the third comment on the post. She launches into the *you’re the type of person, man, racist, privileged, ignorant*- that’s an assault. It undermines an honest discussion. Particularly so when the author of the post lets that slide and returns to accuse me of sarcasm. That demonstrates profound bias and deep intellectual dishonesty.

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  4. Okay – I just think we should point out a few things here.
    In my first comment, I never called Mr Pink racist or ignorant. I stated that people that use ‘colour blindless’ are people who are a) ignorant of how that effects an ENTIRE RACE or b) actually racist.
    Mr Pink, let’s stop pretending you’re the victim here: if you’re going to go on about throwing insults, you’re the one that’s thrown the most. So stop acting like you were picked on by a bunch of girls.
    You want food for thought?? You want to listen to a discussion that will further explain how Rae is right? That the notion of “colour-blindness” is racist? Or, like I said, at best, ignorant? I’ll leave you an article to read. You don’t get to decide certain things. I’ve never known a PoC to be happy when someone’s said they are “colour-blind”. And this article will explain WHY such a statement is racist:
    http://everydayfeminism.com/2015/02/colorblindness-adds-to-racism/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ok, first things first,

    One of the pillars of this site and the idea behind it is honesty. If we cannot be honest with one another, and disagree with each other without resolving it in a mature fashion, then this place will become a hotbed for hostility and resentment, and I’ll end up pulling the plug on it, which would be a shame, because we have members from various walks of life whose voices should be heard, and this site already has more followers in a few weeks than Meerkat Musings has managed in two years!

    So, let’s be honest. If any of you don’t like what I have to say, please remember I say what I say not with the desire to offend, but to stand by what I genuinely feel. If after I’ve said my piece you are unhappy with me, you are of course free to challenge me. I will always listen.

    Carla, I don’t think for a moment that your intentions in the discussion are anything other than honest. I’ve already told Merveilleux that I don’t believe for one second you or Rae seek to become the oppressive classes – I don’t know what he was thinking there when he said that, but he’s wrong. I think he seized upon one particular bit of phrasing and ran with it, and that can be very foolish. It leads to misunderstanding and eventually, to this sort of raging argument.

    That being said, I also believe there is too much read into some of what he has said. His first post asked a question of what Rae said, and your first response to him was to be quite abrupt and say things like ‘you’re burying your head in the sand’ and equating him to the not all men idea. If I were sitting where he was sitting, I’d be miffed at a post like that, especially given my first response.

    His next reply was not rude either. It was still based on a misinterpretation of what Rae had said, but whether in agreement or not, his post was not aggressive.

    The first true aggression comes from you Carla. I’m sorry to say that but that’s the way I read it. I think Merveilleux’s conduct as the discussion wears on is equally unbecoming (Merveilleux, if you’re reading this, and I hope you are, I’m disappointed with your conduct as well). I get that you won’t sugercoat things – and yes, one of the pillars of the Coalition is being brave, but bravery doesn’t have to equate to what I’ve seen here. Bravery is about voicing an opinion that may go against the grain, or that you might have been afraid to voice but decided to anyway. Bravery is also about honesty, and for your honesty Carla, I applaud you and commend you. What I can’t do, is agree with you in this instance. If that creates a problem for us – then let’s work through it as adults.

    For what it’s worth, everyone involved has remained true to what they believe is right. Staying faithful to one’s convictions is not easy, least of all in this testing world.

    I also don’t believe that Merveilleux’s actions on his own site are somehow racist. As of this morning, it would appear he and Rae are talking this out on his site, and it would appear to be resolved. That should draw a line under it, and from there, we need to decide whether to to let these comments stand as a reminder to ourselves of this conversation, or whether we cut them out and move on, clean slate, so to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Ben,
      I’m sorry my reply is so short, but I’m really very tired! I do apologise if anything I write sounds funny, but I’m incredibly exhausted for some reason! It is late at night, I guess, but still! Normally I’m more of a night-owl.
      I spoke to my husband, and he believes I was a little ‘heavy-handed’ too. (I remember speaking to you about how our partners reign us in sometimes!)
      I’m not unhappy with you Ben, just so you know 🙂 I love this site, and I love your own blog. And I also loved your post on The Nudge Wink Report (I’m so sorry I posted today – I thought I was meant to post every Saturday, not one Saturday a month! I’m so sorry! I’m such a dud!)
      I’m glad to hear Mr Pink and Rae have sorted everything out. That’s good to hear, and I wasn’t aware that they’d discussed/’made up’ (for want of a better word) on his blog. That’s really good to hear. He contacted me, too, and I think we have a mutual understanding, which is excellent.
      I promise to try to be less heavy-handed next time, and to explain my position a little less aggressively in the future. I think this is a great site, with a great purpose. I wouldn’t want to do anything that jeopardises that.
      Anyway, thank you Ben!
      I hope you and you’re family are having a great day.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Let’s draw a line under it (I’ve said that to Mr Pink too) and have cake:) cake makes everything better. Unless it’s raisins masquerading as chocolate.

        As for Nudge Wink, I don’t think it matters – Blogdramedy doesn’t mind so I don’t mind 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad that Blogdramedy doesn’t mind!! I felt so bad! The worst part was, I was struggling to write something and I was like, ‘How am I going to keep this up every Saturday!?’ …. I don’t have to, that’s how. Sigh.

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