It’s been a while since I last posted and I’ve been racking my brain thinking about what to write for this piece.
Donald Trump and North Korea are seemingly going down a one-way collision course straight to hell would’ve been an exciting area of focus, or how about Brexit and all the back stabbing and treachery that is going on between politicians? A striking phrase that I heard regarding Brexit was that whilst Theresa May, may be the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Boris Johnson is well and truly the Prime Minister of Brexit. Whilst these two subjects would’ve made interesting articles, I have decided to make this piece a bit more personal and talk about a particular phrase I heard the other day that really rubbed me the wrong way. Apologies for the rant which is about to commence, but this needs to be discussed, I might even run the risk of sounding like one of those Social Justice Warriors (SJWs) that I so greatly despise. I was listening to a heated conversation about race on the radio, and during this conversation a gentleman made a questionably racially fueled comment, and when he was asked if he was a racist he emphatically denied the accusation and proceeded to say, “I don’t see colour” and when I heard him say that I absolutely lost the plot.
I’m sure you are probably thinking what’s my problem, or maybe perhaps “it’s not that deep” but in this piece, I’m going to explain to you why I think statements like “I don’t see colour” are incredibly backwards, damaging, dismissive and why I think they actually do more harm than good.
The phrase “I don’t see colour” comes from the school of thought where we can sit around a guy playing a ukulele, holding hands whilst eucalyptus oil is sprinkled all over the place and all in the world is made right. My eyes inevitably roll when I hear blanket statements such as: “I don’t see colour” or “I don’t care if you’re purple or pink” or “colour shouldn’t matter, we are all one race”. These are all sentences that sound good principally but of course color matters. Colour matters when an Asian man with a beard sits down on a train and people refuse to sit anywhere near him. In fact, even the color that people can’t see directly matters. Adebowale Ogunjimi may have a sensational CV bursting with superb skills and relevant experience yet his CV may be drenched in tea and being used as a mouse mat because his name is a bit too “exotic”. Or how about when you are playing your PlayStation online and you have some scrawny little rat in Canada hurling all manner of racist and offensive slurs towards you because you beat him at FIFA. We all know that in an ideal world color shouldn’t matter, but it does, and it is important that we don’t ignore this. Asinine comments like “I don’t see colour” pour water on the important conversations that need to be discussed surrounding race.
Living in 21st century Britain… well London anyway means that we are privileged to experience a kaleidoscope of different colors and cultures and in turn different struggles. I don’t want to sound soppy or cliché but I genuinely believe that difference is what makes the world beautiful. Can you imagine living in a monolithic world where there was a uniform look and every one of us looked the exact same? Imagine if you get the same exact same experience standing in a street in Hackney as you would in Hong Kong? I love the innate beauty possessed by difference, why would you want to deliberately ignore this by choosing not to see color? Let’s appreciate the differences in the shape of our eyes, noses, and lips. As well as admiring our own hair let’s also admire the way the hair grows out of the heads of people who don’t look like us. Why would you not want to see all of that diversity? Why are you ignoring difference… embrace it because after all difference is beautiful. I want you to appreciate your colour and understand that people from all different backgrounds have scars that tell a deep story of struggle, which is not to be ignored.
Let’s live life with the blinders removed and let’s not allow ourselves to be restricted by living our lives according to limited dogmas or moral codes like “I don’t see colour”. Let’s admire our differences and utilize them to create positive change because we know that unfortunately there are people who see the colour of our skin and use it against us.