These two phrases: “I do not see color” and “I do not think about race” are indeed offensive. I am a Black American woman. I want you to know this, acknowledge who I am culturally without harming, hating, or abusing me. The goal is not for us to ignore race – which “good” Americans claim to do. The goal is to embrace our racial and cultural differences without fear or hatred in our hearts.
We are so uncomfortable with matters of race that we pretend to ignore our perception of race. That’s not a healthy way to progress society for our children. Do not teach your children to ignore race. Do not advise your children “Don’t see color.” In order for our nation to become the “Great Nation” we proclaim it to be, we must teach our children to see and appreciate the differences among us – not ignore it.
The words you use in teaching your children about race are important. What? You don’t talk to your children about race. Well, that is another problem in itself. Race is a part of the very fabric of our country. This country was built on a racial divide and it is a long, large part of our history. If you do not talk to your children about racial and cultural difference they will remain ignorant of such matters.
Explain it to your children this way: a red traffic light causes us to stop our movement. Every time we see the color red we do not stop in our tracks. Simply because two things are the same color, it does not necessitate the same response. Nor do we expect them to behave the same way. We would not walk out into heavy traffic in a red t-shirt and expect the traffic to stop. We should regard people the same way. Just because two people are the same color does not mean that they are the same in any other way. Nor should we respond to them as such.