October 16, 2021

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What to Do As an alternative of Saying ‘I Do not See Race’

Photograph: Maria Vonotna (Shutterstock)

This previous yr, racial injustices dedicated towards Black People and Asian People have reached new heights. Hate crimes towards Asian People have risen 149% for the reason that pandemic started. On the similar time, worldwide protests within the wake of George Floyd’s killing by police additional highlighted the lengthy historical past of the brutal policing of Black People. Regardless of the seen violence, many individuals consider one of the best reply to those systemic issues is to counsel all of us reside as if we don’t “see” race—as if totally different pores and skin colours actually don’t have any that means.

In a survey performed at Ohio State College, Affiliate Professor of Psychology Philip Mazzocco discovered 73% of the contributors believed they have been racially colorblind. One other survey performed by the Pew Analysis Middle confirmed 56% of individuals stated being Black “hurts your possibilities of getting forward” in america. These two outcomes can not peacefully coexist, which is to say: Being racially colorblind in a society that also discriminates on the premise of race slows the development of ending racism. Listed below are some methods to change a colorblind mindset and embrace a follow of lively ally-ship.

Acknowledge the historic impression of race in America

The Affiliation for Psychological Science defines racial coloration blindness as, “the assumption that racial group membership shouldn’t be taken under consideration, and even seen—as a method for managing variety and intergroup relations.” This ideology emerged from inside the Civil Rights Motion in a misinterpreted response to Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech. Dr King seems in the direction of a world the place persons are “not be judged by the colour of their pores and skin however by the content material of their character.” This assertion was not offered to encourage the dismissal of race, however moderately as a name to motion: Dr. King requested that all of us do the work to take away racial biases and discrimination from our nation and our personal perceptions.

In an effort to obtain what Dr. King proposed, we should deal with race at its core moderately than reside as if it has no weight or consequence. Individuals of coloration are reminded of their race on a regular basis. A private instance: After I was an intern at a widely known theater firm, an HR rep mistakenly gave my internship employment letter to a different Black girl who occurred to have been a full-time worker on the establishment for years. The corporate’s mistake solely bolstered the stereotype that all Black individuals look alike. Despite the fact that the oversight was theoretically minor and simply rectified, our individuality as workers members was referred to as into query, and our morale lowered.

Illustration for article titled What to Do Instead of Saying 'I Don't See Race'

The truth is, racial colorblindness only benefits those who have the privilege of not needing to think about race in their daily lives. Those who are unlikely to be discriminated against have the luxury of buying or renting homes, going into stores, or interacting with law enforcement without being reminded of the color of their skin. As Monnica T. Williams, Ph.D. remarks in Psychology Today, “[c]olorblindness creates a society that denies [people of color’s] negative racial experiences, rejects their cultural heritage, and invalidates their unique perspectives.”

Without critical discourse on the issue, microaggressions and racist systems will persist.

Understand the effects of racial colorblindness

In the wake of his survey at Ohio State University, Mazzocco surmised there are four types of racially colorblind people in the U.S.:

  • Protectionist (high prejudice, low awareness): They believe interracial inequality is minimal, or the fault of minority culture. They are likely to say minorities who complain of mistreatment are “playing the race card.”
  • Egalitarian (low prejudice, low awareness): They want racial justice and think it has been mostly achieved. As a result, they believe discussion about racial issues is no longer necessary.
  • Antagonistic (high prejudice, high awareness): They know there’s a problem with racial justice, but they are fine with it, because they believe it is their privilege as white people to be favored in society. They disingenuously use claims of color blindness to oppose programs like affirmative action, saying that government policies shouldn’t favor one race.
  • Visionary (low prejudice, high awareness): They agree there is a racial justice problem and believe the way to overcome it is to stop emphasizing racial boundaries and differences and to focus primarily on what people have in common.

These descriptions detail behaviors that are detrimental to establishing true racial equality. An egalitarian approach denies all parties the opportunity for discussions that could help eliminate systemic racial injustices, while an antagonistic one will serve to erase any strides we have made.

Illustration for article titled What to Do Instead of Saying 'I Don't See Race'

Engage in anti-racist actions instead

Rather than dismissing the idea of race, acknowledge your privileges and use knowledge to create anti-racist environments. Educate yourself on the history of racial mistreatment in this country. Analyze situations you may have been involved in that have made someone of a different race uncomfortable, and learn how to confront and change harmful behaviors and mindsets. If you have decided not to “see” someone’s race, you may be ignoring ways you’re hurting them. Acknowledging these facts is not an indictment—the blog Jostle provides a diagram of basic racist systems that you could be participating in and not even know it. Research micro and macroaggressions and properly assess your own implicit biases, and do the work to reverse them.

Racism cannot be tolerated, so make sure that it is recognized where it arises. Anti-racism openly acknowledges race and the history of racism in this country, but is not effective unless it is a conscious practice. There are several resources available to help you engage in anti-racist work. The organization Hollaback! offers workshops and training on bystander intervention. You can learn how to intervene when you see a hate crime occur, and how to support the lives of people of color. Anti-racist work does not only mean becoming a part of a group or heading to a rally (though those actions do help). Anti-racism can begin with changing your mindset, calling out your own and other’s actions, and learning to be an effective ally.

As the book How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi explains, just because you believe you are “not racist,” that doesn’t mean you are advancing efforts towards ending racism. Kendi provides tools for executing anti-racist work, including in the book’s study guide, where one prompt notes the author,makes the case that to be anti-racist, one must stand against all forms of bigotry. Why is standing against other bigotries so essential to standing against racism?” The book will start you on the right path toward acknowledging the reality of race while actively working against racism.

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