Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Handful of Them Odd

The myth of color blindness by CYNTHIA TUCKER

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/20/08
After a recent column describing Barack Obama as "a presidential candidate who happens to be black — not a black presidential candidate," I received countless responses from readers, a handful of them odd. That odd handful declared they take no notice of superficial traits such as skin color, and they took me to task for making any reference to Obama's race.

"I thought of [Obama] as a person. I did not see black or white or Hispanic or that he was a man — I saw a person! If people really, truly want racial equality — then the first step has to be to STOP looking at skin color," wrote one reader.

"When I look at a person, the last thing I think about is skin color or heritage," wrote another.

Sorry, but I'm not buying it. While I am sympathetic to any desire to get past dated and useless habits of mind — especially the contentious politics of the color line — that's just nonsense. Not one of us, black, white or brown, is colorblind.

I think Ms. Tucker is incorrect. I know that there are many times that I do not notice the color of someone's skin just as I realize that I often miss that a person is in a wheelchair until after I have walked away from them. This color blindness or blindness to a superficial element may not be present each and every time I am with the person, but I know there are many times I do not notice the superficial, and that does include skin color. Sort of like not noticing someone's new haircut or glasses... yes, it is as simple as that.

No comments: