Color Blindness? I Don't See Color? Real or Fake?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Color Blindness? I Don’t See Color? Real or Fake?

October 10, 2018 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( Although I am confident that she would never believe it, however, I understood what the enraged young lady was attempting to say. I also comprehended the place from whence her passion emanated. However, I did not appreciate the manner that she tried to articulate her point. I am sure that you have had a contentious interaction with someone whose favored tactic of making their point bordered on a disrespect that offended all that disagreed with her viewpoint. Put simply; this female student was disagreeable for no good reason.

The above student had made it clear to all that this “debate” was not a debate at all as her offensive language demanded that it would either “be her way or the highway.”

What had turned into a spiraling conversation began with a comment issued by the least likely of sources, a white female taking an African-American Studies course. The lone white woman shocked her thirty classmates by asserting that “America will never get past Race. It is who we are. So how can we ever get past it?”

Although I agreed with the above assertion that reminded me of W.E.B. DuBois’ ominous warning that “the color line will be the problem of the twentieth century,” I soon learned that one particular student vehemently disagreed with what others considered a pessimistic, yet accurate statement.

Without warning, the aggrieved black female issued her protest by informing the class that she had conquered Race.

The assertion that America’s most divisive social construct had been subdued led many students to laugh aloud. I considered it outlandish that this young lady, a mere undergraduate student who could not manage to attend class on a regular basis had somehow managed to conquer Race while notable blacks such as Ida B. Wells, Assata Shakur, and Michelle Obama never accomplished the remarkable feat. As is so often the case, I soon discerned that this young lady was haphazardly using non-specific language to advance a point that had little to do with “conquering racism in her lifetime.”

The alluded to student argued against the common notion that white bigotry is a permanent fixture in American society by asserting, “If we stopped talking about Race it would simply go away. Just give that a chance!!!!!”

When challenged on what her peers considered utter foolishness, the young lady attempted to abruptly terminate the conversation by screaming, “I don’t see color!!!!! I only see human beings.”

Prior experience taught me that the color-blind argument was a simpleton argument used by those who failed to understand what they were actually saying. Like other foolish arguments, the “colorblind” argument was equal parts foolish and insulting. Yet, it provided a cavernous opening that I would use to educate my students.

I began my lesson by pointing at a white male student and asked the emotionally disheveled young lady to “please describe him.”

Instead of honoring my mundane request, the young lady, apparently sensing that my request was the opening of a counter-argument, refused to respond with anything other than a dry reply of “I see a guy.”

Unfortunately for the aggrieved student, I was not going to loosen her from a trap that she created. I peppered her with questions such as “What type of hat does he have on? Is he tall or short? What is his hair color?” As I expected, this female student responded to each question with a sarcastic answer that culminated with a shout of “I still don’t see color.”

I calmly retorted, “That’s not true. There is no way that you can look at this gentleman and not see that he is white. It is a physical reality that not even you can ignore.” As I paused, the agitated student reiterated like a preschooler, “I still don’t see color.” Her frenetic state increased as her classmates began laughing at her failed attempts at escaping this moment. It was at this moment that I shared the following. “You may not ascribe negative characteristics to what you see. However, there is no doubt that you see that this fella is white.”

To the amazement of all, the student insisted, “That’s what I have been saying the entire time.” This revelation caused additional students to laugh at the stubborn student who hurried to gather her belongings prior to stomping out of the classroom.

I was neither disturbed nor amused by the students behavior; twenty years of teaching allows one to see a host of different scenarios. A long time ago, I settled on the fact that there are some people who are unwilling to either listen or learn, this particular student happened to be such an individual.

I merely sighed and mused that if she were able to move from her position of self-righteousness, she would have learned that the “colorblind” argument is offensive as it causes its well-meaning possessor to deny portions of a person’s identity to accept them. With those types of friends, who needs enemies? In many ways, it is ironic that in their rush to embrace all, the “colorblind” crew manage to offend a multitude.

Despite what the “colorblind” crew would like others to think, they do see “color” and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It is only through the recognition of our differences that we are able to celebrate this nation’s diversity. And that is a fantastic thing, too bad that the “colorblind” crew refuses to see it.

Staff Writer; Dr. James Thomas Jones III

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One may also connect with this brother via TwitterDrJamestJones.

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