Tuesday How To: Piss People Off By Telling Them The Hard Truths
First of all, new site design! I see it as cleaner and easier to read but I’ve been looking at Worpress themes for two hours so maybe I need a fresh set of eyes. Drop me a comment and tell me what you think.
So yesterday I said
Color blindness is the new racism. it is, in fact, the primary problem exemplified in the bad writing of The Walking Dead. Ignoring something is not the same as respecting that thing and treating in equally.
which is true but it hit a lot of people in a tender spot. Many of my friends and readers were not happy at hearing this. (As an aside, seriously people COMMENT FUNCTION. Employ it.) A group of genuinely well intentioned people responded thusly,
If we keep making racial issues a big deal the problem will never go away! We’re all the same!
Your ability to ignore my experiences is not something to be lauded. It’s not something that I have to accept in order to make you comfortable. Why? Because it hurts me. No matter the intent colorblindness is not something that brings us all together. It’s an active attempt to make PoC invisible.
One of the most insidious aspects of systemic racism in America is the rejection of the individual experiences of PoC. Because white people can, if they choose to, embrace the “we’re all the same” ideal and that can be a good thing for them. PoC can never, ever do that. We may all be the same but we can’t all safely act the same. Even if I am accepted as a part of the group with my fiends I can’t be with the police or with a person in the store or any member of the public whom I don’t know.
This is part of the reason so many PoC react with disdain or anger when white parents or mixed race or black kids talk about “raising their children to be color blind.” Only white people can afford to be color blind. Colorblind can kill a a non-white child. If they don’t learn the dangers and the rules they can be killed in America and many people will say it was the child’s fault.
I so very much value the lessons my mother taught me. I have perfect recall of the moment I finally got what she was trying to explain to me. She told me “You can be colorblind if you want to, but other people won’t be. If you assume that everyone is going to think like you do you’re putting yourself in danger. I taught you better.” Mom was not always easy, but often right.
The same is true of adopted children. Raising them as colorblind does them a huge disservice and can put them in positions wherein they compromise their safety, wherein they think they can join groups and be a member and not the token, wherein they need to join groups to feel safe to have conversations about how things are sometimes hard to deal with and how it is sometimes nice to be able to relax and not have to conform every second, without being accused of being part of the problem.
That’s what is most difficult for me, personally. When I and other PoC point out racism we are accused of being the problem. You know what I say to that? Fuck right off.
Noticing racism is not the fucking problem. Actual racism is the fucking problem. Anyone who attempts to silence those who suffer from racism is part of the fucking problem. “Why can’t we all be colorblind,” is an attempt to silence those who suffer. STOP DOING THAT RIGHT THE HELL NOW!
As a PoC, I have to be constantly aware of the fact that I’m not of the norm because if I’m not that lack of awareness could get me very, very killed. That is not a flaw in my character or a blind spot in my awareness. That is a problem with the society I live in.
You want to be a good ally, and I believe that people really want that, unpack your invisible knapsack, stop demonizing the people most damaged by racism for recognizing and talking about that damage and get your shit together.