Step I: See Color
These two phrases: “I do not see color” and “I do not think about race” are indeed offensive. I am a Black American woman. I want you to know this, acknowledge who I am culturally without harming, hating, or abusing me. The goal is not for us to ignore race – which “good” Americans claim to do. The goal is to embrace our racial and cultural differences without fear or hatred in our hearts.
Race should not be motivation for how we feel or behave towards others. Our initial impressions are often shaded by race. As good, God-loving Americans, we consistently have an undercurrent of race that has been projected upon us by our experiences, our nation’s history, and popular media.
Imagine a man in his mid-thirties, beer belly driving a pick up truck. He is dipping snuff and spitting out of the window. He is on his way to pick up a six pack from the package store and then head out to the pond to do some fishing. Imagine a man in his mid-thirties, slim and well groomed. He is driving a silver family sedan. He is dropping off his children on his way to work at the bank where he is a Vice-President.
What color are these men? Some of you will say one is White and one is Black. Some of you will say both are White. A few of you will say both are Black. Most of you will say “you do not know” because that is the true answer to the question.
How did you imagine these men when you read the description? THAT is a different question. The human brain assigns a picture to your thoughts. Those men had a physical appearance in your mind. The fact that your brain assigned a race to 80 words on a page means that race is evident at the core of our being. The longer we continue to ignore this, the longer our journey as a nation of diverse people.