Shades of Gray: Faux-liberalism and colorblindness

“It doesn’t matter to me whether you’re black, white, green or purple. I don’t see color — we’re all human beings!”

If I were a betting person, I would bet quite a lot of money that the vast majority of students of color on campuses across the political spectrum have heard some variation of this statement at some point in their collegiate careers — likely more than once. 

There seems to be a number of standardized faux-woke political discussion topics that arise on college campuses — usually including almost any conversation with the ‘socially liberal but fiscally conservative’ person in your class who ‘doesn’t agree with Trump’s immigration policies’ but ‘there’s a legal way to come into this country.’

I do not venture to deem all those who claim to be color blind as racists or bigots. Oftentimes, when someone asserts their own ‘color blindness,’ at the very least they demonstrate that they believe that the ultimate goal of racial justice is a society in which color means little in comparison to a person’s character — in which people and systems are truly color blind in their dealings. While perhaps uninformed and misguided, there is no malice behind their words.

Of course, this is not always the case. There are those who are not particularly concerned about discrimination against people of color in society because they simply don’t believe it exists — at least not anymore. Their color blindness is less about fighting racial discrimination and more about invalidating the experiences of people of color and denying the existence of the social, political and institutional systems in the United States that currently exist to oppress people of color. Color blindness, is, however, universally harmful regardless of whether or not the intentions of its proponents are malevolent, because the problem with color blindness is not the principle itself — rather, it is the consequences of its perpetuation. 

Despite what the Trump administration would have voters believe, we do not live in a post-racial society. Macroaggressions against people of color — particularly black and brown people — such as housing discrimination, police brutality, disenfranchisement and hate crimes persist in American society and are the harsh realities of their daily lives. 

By underscoring these realities with a color blind ideology allows these realities to go ignored and unaddressed, and thereby upholds the institution that exists in the United States — an institution the United States was essentially built upon — that oppresses black and brown people.


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