"I don't see color," and other dumb post-racial excuses
Have you ever tried to engage someone in a talk about race relations— be it police brutality, mass incarceration, civil rights— and the person hits you with one of these.
"I don't see color."
And you're sat there like:
What does post-racial mean?
So strictly definition-wise, post-racial refers to a society that's past race. Like race has no importance. We're all just walking around with blindfolds on. It's a meritocratic assumption— race isn't important anymore, so all you have to do in life is try your best, work hard, and you will succeed. Doesn't that just sound like rainbows and sunshine?
I'll burst your bubble right now— it's a myth. It isn't true. Never has been.
An example of a post-racial society for my Grey's Anatomy fans by Touré, author of Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness? What it Means to be Black Now:
"A show like “Grey’s Anatomy” gives us post-racialism: It’s filled with characters who are Black (as well as Asian and Latina) but race is almost always of no importance. Any of the characters could be switched to another race with little or no change to the character or the storyline. In that world, race does not matter" (58).
But, as I said earlier, it's just not realistic. He also notes,
"Post-racial posits that race does not exist or that we’re somehow beyond race and suggests colorblindness: It’s a bankrupt concept that reflects a naïve understanding of race in America" (12).
The problem with post-racial
It's so frustrating to think about the post-racial assumption from a historical perspective. Black people were brought, unwillingly, to America, South America, and the Caribbean. They were told that their dark skin made them subhuman. They were considered livestock on slave ships during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. They were forced into labor, raped, abused, murdered, lynched, mutilated— because of their skin color.
Now black people have more rights. Freedoms. And you have the audacity to tell us that skin color doesn't matter? Why? It's to excuse people from any responsibility or privilege that they have because of their skin color.
I say this over and over again on this website— white privilege is not an opinion or abstract concept. It's a fact. It's supported by facts. Statistics. Want some? Here's my post on privilege.
It isn't something you can just decide doesn't exist. But that's what a post-racial society dictates.
Do you see color?
Even thinking about it more critically, I wonder, do I even want to live in a post-racial society? Do I want to be blind to color? Not really. I find that my race makes up a key part of my identity, and that without it, I wouldn't be Skye anymore. I don't know what a post-racial Skye would be like, and I don't want to.
When people say they don't see color, or they're past race, they are willfully ignoring the struggles of people who don't look like them. It's ignorant of history, oppression, and power systems.
AND IT'S JUST DUMB.