I'm Not Colorblind and Neither Are You

Every day I am constantly learning, growing and finding new understanding when it comes to race, culture and context.

I can easily admit that I am white guy, raised in a white world and I have a white perspective on life. I can never understand the perspective of a black man, an Asian man, a Hispanic man or any other color or race! It is simply not possible. So, I am always seeking to learn. I find that I have often been wrong in my assumptions and ideas about race, culture and context. 

As a transracial, or multi-racial, adoptive family we are constantly learning the nuances of culture, language and concepts that surround our unique family. We aren’t just a white family with black children. We are an American family with kids from Ethiopia and Haiti. We are a Southern family with non-traditional values and traditions. We have many factors that impact our family. As a result, many of the phrases and comments we use are often confusing to others, and even to our selves.

One such term that I have used much of my life regarding race and culture is the term “colorblind”. I have always believed that this term defined me as being as far from racist as possible. Not true! It sounds good, but its context is meaningless.

My intention in using this term is to imply that I do not see color in regards to race or racial context. But, the more I converse with my black friends, Asian friends and others, the more I realize this term is deeply flawed. And, when I get brutally honest, I can see it for myself.

In reality, not a single one of us can truly be colorblind. You and I will always see color. We will always identify a person by the appearance they carry. We simply cannot, are not and never will be colorblind.

For example, if you are trying to tell someone about another person it likely goes something like this: “It’s the white guy with brown hair.” It’s the tall black dude.”  “The short, redheaded girl.” We identify people by their colors!

So, I am making a choice NOT to raise my kids to be “colorblind”. I am going to raise my kids to be fully aware of color. I am going to teach my kids to celebrate color. I am going to teach my kids to be comfortable with color, to be comfortable talking about color and to be a champion of color.

If I don’t raise my kids to see color, I will set them up for confusion and struggle. After all, my own house has lots of color. I have a ginger kids, a dark brown child, a light brown child and I am a pale shade of white! We need to celebrate our color, our cultures and our family.

Instead of being colorblind, we should become champions of color! Color is beauty. Color is possibility. Color is necessary. Color is powerful. Color is a gift.

More than anything, we should learn from each other. We should listen to each other. We should celebrate each other. We should honor each other. We should care for each other. We should stand together and champion the beauty of color in this world!