Color Blindness and Assimilation, Food for Thought…

I’m currently listening to the thought-provoking book How to Be an Antiracist by  Ibram X. Kendi.

As a white woman, ‘of a certain age,’ I grew up believing that being ‘color blind’ was the equivalent of being antiracist. This, to me, has been a belief that racial classification does not limit a person’s opportunities. The reality is, it does.

The underlying falsehood associated with being color blind is that it ignores the fact that to succeed in the U.S. and perhaps in the world at large, is that it’s necessary for people to assimilate themselves into a society dominated by white men.

I’ve just begun the book, but the clear message from the author has already prompted me to take pause and evaluate my points of view as it relates to racism, sexual discrimination and prejudice exhibited toward individuals who identify with the LBGTQ community. As open-minded and accepting as I believed myself to be, I’m quickly learning that there is more for me to grasp.

There’s no denying that the struggles and oppression faced by the black citizens of our nation have been egregious and have persisted for centuries, it also strikes me that the attitudes regarding the need to assimilate apply to many of us.

For centuries women have been considered to be inferior to men, and still, in 2020, they continue to bang their heads up against the glass ceiling. It seems as though the only way they can break through it is to adopt a harsh and cut-throat approach to the world in which they are trying to succeed. I regularly shake my head in dismay at many of these women who seem to have abandoned what makes them women in favor of achieving in a ‘man’s world.’ People of the LGBTQ community have also hidden their truths until the last couple of decades.

A key difference is that if your skin color is white, regardless of whether you’re a woman or identify with a sexual orientation other than straight, it’s easier to assimilate into the white male world. You can ‘hide’ your identity and your viewpoints on life if you feel the need to.

If you are a person of color, it’s impossible to mask who you are, God forbid you are both a person of color and a woman or sexually identify with a gender that doesn’t match the stereotyped expectations,

While I abhor what has happened recently with the brutal murder of George Flloyd, an event that has triggered a worldwide movement toward awareness and a cry for a compassionate, equitable, and consistent execution of the law – I am also grateful.

Recent events have caused me to remove myself from my comfort zone and examine my contributions to the problems and consider ways to be an active part of the solution, in my own way.