Colorblind - Part II
Colorblindness is the “content” of which Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke. It is the critical difference between awareness and obsession. When one speaks of not judging people by skin color but by the content of one’s character, it means that we no longer let our blackness, whiteness, or “Yupikness” define us. The cultural left, via most of the corporate media, academia, CRT, and the White Fragility and Privilege quacks, are obsessed with their culturally destructive catechetics on race. They have made race, identity politics, and repackaged fads like Critical Race Theory their new God.
A cursory review of popular, and some peer-reviewed literature, have popularized the argument that colorblindness has been used to dismiss the lived experiences of People of Color. They contend that it’s time we stop pretending to be colorblind and telling people we don’t see color. We all see color. Race industry advocates within the Democrat Party, including the President, say that we use what we see to give different levels of value to people based on the color of their skin. However, the cultural left’s polemic against colorblindness is a classic sophomoric debate trick of mischaracterizing an argument. Then they vigorously attacking the mischaracterization.
However, what needs to be emphasized and pointedly corrected is the following. No one is pretending not to see color; that is impossible, and more importantly, totally misconstrued. As suggested earlier, it is tragically beside the point. The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion acolytes, CRT bigots, and other heirs of 1970s multicultural tribalism have purposely confused awareness with obsession. Many on the political left have so hyphenated their thinking that they have forgotten or just plain distorted MLK’s words of judging one another by who we are as individuals. That is our content! The latter takes time and, for goodness sake, effort. Becoming colorblind and judging people ultimately by the content of their character is first and foremost a “journey” and not a fixed destination in one’s social, cultural, political, and religious development. To employ a term from philosophy, becoming colorblind is at its best teleological. It is a constant or ongoing becoming. We recognize our flaws and limitations as failed human beings. But most of us do our best to look beyond outer appearances and strive to know one another beyond the castle of our skin. Luckily, time and familiarity will do much of the work if we only let it.
A Journey Worth a Thousand Words
My spouse, a native-born German, grew up in the rubble and chaos post-war World II Germany. She is Caucasian, and in the 1940s and 1950s, her world and life experiences were extraordinarily different from my own. I was an unremarkable, semi-washed little Negro Boy growing up in the urban environment of the 1950s in upstate New York. Our worlds couldn’t have been more different. I grew up playing war with my friends, and we would often flip heads-or-tails seeing which one of us would get to play the American soldiers and those that had to be those “awful German soldiers”. My friends and I all tried to do our very best Sergeant Saunders (of Combat fame), and kill those damn Krauts. Ironically, my wife’s father was drafted into the Wehrmacht or German Army during WWII. He was captured by Allied Forces in Italy and was a German POW here in the United States for the remainder of World War II.
So, there you go! I went from playing war, making-believing I was killing those evil and despicable German Krauts, to marrying one and having a host of German in-laws, friends, and enkelkinder (grandchildren).
Yet, in our day-to-day lives, after years of marriage, seeing each other as husband and wife, as flawed and sometimes annoying “pains-in-the-butt”, has been the product of this “journey” of not seeing each other as black or white, German or American. When my wife and I reflect upon the variety of friends we have, who are American, German, French, Jivaro, Kenyan-India, Sri Lankan, Iraqi, Israeli, Chinese, English, South African (both black and white), Nigerian, Mexican, Korean, Crow and Cheyenne Indians, Yupik or Costa Rican and Swiss, their outward appearance, the variety of ways they choose to be human aren’t that important.
Years ago, I recalled seeing the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr on a news program speaking of the need for Americans to find commonalities and not exaggerate differences. He understood what today's DEI, CRT, and other race-obsessed constituencies fail to comprehend. Quite simply, the ultimate obstacle to peace has always been the demolition of commonality at the altar of temporal chauvinism.
[Patrick Hall is a retired university library director. He is a graduate of Canisius College and the University of Washington, where he received three advance degrees. He has published in Freedom's Journal Magazine, America, Commonweal, Headway, Journal of Academic Librarianship, American Libraries and others. He currently volunteers at a local VA hospital in the town of Erie, Pa.]
Thank you for a wonderful gift - sharing your life with readers!
That is what promotes commonality rather than division. CRT as you point out is focused on division/differences, rather than focusing on commonality. King pointed the way with judging by the "content of character" rather than outer appearance. Remember "Don't judge a book by it's covers."? As God's word says "Man looks on the outer appearance, but I look on the heart."