This was originally published at Missing Filter by Basic Pitch on September 13, 2016.
I have a secret you guys, I’m white. Like seriously, I’m super white.
There have never been and will never be any questions of my race and heritage. People can look at me and know that I am a Caucasian of European descent and they would be 100% correct.
Let me be clear, this is not something I’m proud of, nor is it something I’m ashamed of, it is simply something I am. Being proud of being white for me would be like being proud my ability to roll my tongue or being proud of my crooked teeth. It’s a dumb thing to have pride in. The society we live in disagrees and has implemented and, to its detriment, doggedly adheres to the most ridiculous classification system ever and places varying degrees of value on people based on the melanin content in their skin.
Thanks to this ridiculously inefficient and ineffective system of value, certain assumptions are made about me based solely on my skin tone. My life is made easier because I am the color that society has deemed most valuable. This is stupid, but it is undeniably true. I have never in my life feared anything but a ticket I deserved (and maybe some sexual harassment, but I’ll save that for another post) when being pulled over by police. It is assumed that I am educated and intelligent. Assumptions about what art, music, food, drinks, or pop culture I might enjoy aren’t made. I have never existed in a world where my race was credited for my accomplishments or shamed by my failures. Success is expected, failure is considered an anomaly due only to the color of my skin. While these examples don’t even come close to encompassing the sheer number of benefits I receive because I’m white, they do illustrate that the life I experience and the perspective I work from is undoubtedly influenced by the color of my skin. I get to, at least where race is concerned, play this game on the easy mode.
This is where the problem lies in “not seeing color”. It sounds wonderful to care so little about race you are able to be blind to the diversity around you, but it is only possible in a utopia where people are treated with equal value and offered equal opportunity regardless of color. We don’t live there. Refusing to see or acknowledge color is ignoring the voices of those who must navigate through a far different world with wildly different rules and fatally harsh penalties to simply survive, let alone succeed. Our society needs these voices. They are voices of strength, endurance, and perseverance from a perspective I cannot even begin to pretend to understand. To claim to be “colorblind” silences them. Worse, it denies their existence. This society is already teetering on the edge of the downfall because we have, for far too long, ignored the voices of its most disenfranchised people. To do so with this cloak of false tolerance is deplorable.
I’m not colorblind. I see color. It is beautiful.