The Flaws of Colorblindness

The way of peace they do not know,

and there is no justice in their paths;

they have made their roads crooked;

no one who treads on them knows peace.

Therefore justice is far from us,

and righteousness does not overtake us;

we hope for light, and behold, darkness,

and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.

We grope for the wall like the blind;

we grope like those who have no eyes;

we stumble at noon as in the twilight,

among those in full vigor we are like dead men.

Isaiah 59:8-10

 

An erroneous belief has been circulating for decades in white Christian circles. I know this to be true because I am a white Christian predominantly living my life alongside other white Christians. A simplistic summation of this position is that talking about racial injustices (both past and present) as well as ethnic differences, particularly between whites and blacks, fuels deeper divisions. From this perspective, the solution presented to silence racial tensions is the misguided exhortation towards a colorblind society.

At first blush, colorblindness appears to be a virtue worth our highest pursuit and the remedy for racial inequality. I have spent years trying to achieve this elusive state of mind similar to an ostrich with its head buried in the sand. I have preferred colorblindness to the uncomfortable reality of race that my privilege has allowed me to ignore. A more honest look at the movement towards a colorblind society has, in reality, been a push towards conformity to the majority white culture and the standard of “normal” generated from within. There must be a better way.

An alternative is an intentional pursuit of racial awareness where ethnic differences are not ignored but discussed and celebrated. Perhaps even more importantly, a move towards racial awareness requires the courage of serious self-examination to uncover our unmistakable complicity in racial divisions. Generalizations of people groups, negative stigmas connected to skin color, lack of friendships with people of a different color, and fear based off ethnicity are just a few of the ways racism manifests itself in society today. There is tremendous power where sin is exposed, repented, and confessed. From this position, white Christians can approach their brothers and sisters of color and humbly seek forgiveness in relationship. Herein lies the hope of reconciliation and the balm for racial discord.

Thank God we don’t all look the same or share the same culture. In His infinite creativity, God crafted a world inhabited by people of various hues and shades of skin, eye, and hair color. Pretending we don’t see color or recognize cultural differences is not only naïve; it is laced with ingratitude to a brilliant Creator and His masterpiece. Furthermore, closing our eyes (and our mouths) in the presence of overt racial injustice is absolutely contrary to God’s design for His people.

May God grant us the courage to open our eyes and to repent of our intentional blindness through the power of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Becky Carlozzi