Today’s post is going to be difficult because it has the potential to offend. It is here that I must make something very clear about this blog. I am grateful for those who take time from their day to read what I write here, but this blog is something I started to help me appreciate more of what I have in life. Maybe there are some things I write which will inspire you to notice the things in your own life for which you can be thankful, and that is why I share my thoughts publicly. But I realize that I also run the risk of offending those who do not have whatever I am expressing thanks for in any given post, because my gratefulness could be interpreted as a statement that what I have is intrinsically better. (Put more simply, I am concerned a reader might boil my post down to “neener neener neener.”).
But let me be clear: sometimes the things I am thankful for having are better than the condition of not having them — safety, health, food, etc. — but sometimes I am simply thankful for them as an acknowledgment that they make my life easier, even though the “thing” itself is no better than an alternative.
That preface was needed before I state: today, I am thankful for the colour of my skin. I am thankful not because being caucasian is intrinsically better than not, but because I know that having white skin has made life easier for me, even though I feel it is wrong that society has made it so. I think of the challenges I have faced in trying to advance through life, and knowing of the discrimination that pervades our communities, I shudder to think how much more difficult it would have been for me if I had to face the added challenge of trying to get people to look past the colour of my skin to see my value as an employee, volunteer, human being, friend.
My friend, Owen, participated in a psychological test one time that asked him to look at an illustration of a man looking in a mirror and identify differences between the man and his reflection. Owen correctly identified that the man was holding a comb, but his reflection was not. The assessor then asked Owen if he could see any other differences, and Owen confirmed that he saw no other differences in the illustration. The assessor then pointed out that the man in the illustration was White, while his reflection was Black. Owen, who happens to be colour blind in the traditional sense, also appears to be colour blind in a racial sense.
I would love to hear your thoughts on “racial blindness” so please share them below in the Comments.