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Would a colorblind society be a good thing?

Certain ideas, like getting good grades or believing in God, are portrayed as intrinsically admirable. We tend to not even question their value.

On that short list belongs the concept of a colorblind society, a culture where racial differences are irrelevant. Many people will loudly proclaim that this is the ultimate goal of America. However, as with all ideas that are presented as flawless, it’s worth asking if pursuing colorblindness is noble or misguided.

Now, the idealists among us will sputter that it’s absurd to even float the question. A colorblind nation that ignores racial differences will, by its very nature, have eliminated racism.

Well, that’s a nice theory. Yes, banishing prejudice would be a first in recorded history, and it may even be biologically unlikely, but it certainly sounds great.

The issue, however, is that we have just accepted the idea of a colorblind society as synonymous with racial justice.

But there is nothing inherently virtuous in promoting the myth of a colorblind society. In truth, the concept benefits the status quo.

For example, plenty of people who hate affirmative action or diversity programs aren’t too fond of ethnic minorities. But they appeal to the idea of colorblindness as a principled façade for their bigotry.

However, we’re not just talking about sneaky racists here. Many of the people who most fervently want a colorblind society are not bigoted. They just get wildly, absurdly, intensely uncomfortable when discussing racial issues. And because racial problems defy easy answers or quick solutions, the tendency is to shut down the discussion.

Witness the reaction to the Trayvon Martin shooting. Many people really want to believe that the incident has nothing to do with race. Nope, not here in twenty-first America.

So they strive for a culture where race never comes up. They plead with us to dismiss such talk, because “it only serves to divides us.” They will never have to be uncomfortable or acknowledge the dark side of human nature if everybody would just shut up and be colorblind already.

Still, there must be some kind of baseline. Is a colorblind society one where people speak without noticeable accents that might identify them as being from the hood or the barrio? Do we all sound, you know, suburban white? Most likely, that is how it is envisioned.

When it comes down to it, wouldn’t a truly colorblind society be devoid of ethnic celebrations, quirky neighborhoods, and cultural differences? Well, that sounds perfectly boring.

Many of us don’t want a racially homogenous world, or one where ethnic variety is avoided at all costs under all conditions.

So how about this: We strive for a society where racial differences don’t matter when it comes to issues of the law or basic fairness. But we approach each other with respect and even interest in our diverse backgrounds, rather than try to ignore them.

It would mean opening our eyes instead of actively wishing to be blind.

About Daniel Cubias

Daniel Cubias is a writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Being Latino, his work can be found in such publications as the Huffington Post, Change.org, Aqui magazine, and his website, the Hispanic Fanatic. In addition, he has been published in many literary journals and won the occasional writing contest.

He is a Wisconsin native who still roots for his hometown Milwaukee Brewers. He is way too much into horror movies, and he is inexplicably still unable to tune his guitar properly.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

Comments

  1. Daniel Ruiz says:

    A colorblind society is a pipe dream that will never happen. Even in Latin American countries with the largest amounts of racial and ethnic diversity you sadly still see socially accepted colorism. You will never be able to eliminate the need for some to believe in innate reasons for their superiority to others.

  2. It’s about as stupid as the melting pot metaphor. I like my, your and everyone’s color, thank you very much.

  3. no, it is one of the most racist theory there is

  4. Well put.

  5. This is an area of well-established research, for which there are mountains of data (as the article correctly notes). Not only is promoting a mindset of “colorblindness” ineffective, but it actually makes individuals blind to very obvious instances of injustice and marginalization. Again, this is well-established research backed by mountains of data. Opposing viewpoints to date are based on nothing other than opinion and conjecture.

  6. The world should be less like a “melting pot” and more like a “salad bowl”. There are so many awesome facets from every culture that should be shared and enjoyed by all.

  7. Americas Salad Bowl!

  8. Huh??? Actively wishing to be blind?
    Why not actively working to NOT be prejudiced and be accepting?

  9. people will always be prejudice because they’re insecure. Latin America likes to pride itself (falsely) on being color blind saying there is only social class differences. So where many are poor of all colors people with euro features feel they are better than people with afro features. It’s all many have as their ‘wealth’ in many places so they can feel better about their miserable lives. We cannot be equal to others we have to be better than our neighbors because humans are dumb

  10. Call me naive but I have always believed in the concept of being ‘color blind’. Just not the way described. To me there is a difference between being color blind and culturally blind.

  11. This is the second time that I have seen an article posted with a question asking you what you think and this is the second time I have read Nick taking people down about thier views. Whether wrong or right, why would you ask the question if you are just going to tear down peoples views?

  12. Diversity and harmony is what we should strive for. Not color blindness. Different is not deficient or proficient. It’s just different.

  13. Michella C. says:

    Call it whatever you wish! If we choose to be people that don’t judge others based on their ethnicity or their cultural background but instead look at the individual as a whole that would be better. The affirmative action has resulted in consequences that were likely not meant when it was created. We should be who we are not what is “acceptable” due to stereotypes. I believe that people spend too much time buying into stereotypes and that is their problem not the color of their skin.

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