Recently, I was getting a few items at my local Kohl's, when I stopped to browse the Easter towels. And that's when I found this one.
A few weeks ago, a friend asked me if I believed that colorblindness was a claim that negated a person of color's whole self. Meaning, does a person boasting to be "colorblind" mean that he or she is refusing to see the entirety of a person of color?
My answer was, without a second thought, yes.
You see, when a person looks at our family, the first thing they notice is difference.
This is NOT a bad thing. It's not wrong to notice what is glaringly apparent. (What is NOT an appropriate response is to turn your every thought into a question, comment, or stare.)
It's like the Todd Parr book that states It's Okay To Be Different.
What I want those who proudly boast of teaching their kids to be colorblind, or proudly proclaim to be colorblind themselves, is this:
- It's okay to notice that our family doesn't match.
- It's okay for your child to point out to you, the parent, that our family doesn't match.
- It's okay for you to respond to your child, inviting them to further discuss race and ask questions (during an appropriate time and place).
- It's okay for you not to have all the right words (perfect racial literacy) to talk to your child; the key is to TALK, not shush your child. You do not want them to believe there is something wrong with talking about race.
- It's okay for your child to be excited about having a friend or classmate who is a different race; it's okay for your child to express that excitement; it's ok for you to share in that excitement.
- It's okay to say that my kids are Black (because, newsflash, they are!).
- It's okay to admit that you do not have a completely confident and flawless empathy for people of color; but it's not okay to stop learning and growing.
My babies aren't bunnies. They are chicks. You won't find us trying to pluck bunny ears on their heads.
We celebrate and embrace our children for exactly who they are. We do not pretend not to see their chocolate brown skin, ignore their history as a Black people, or neglect to prepare them for the realities of living as a person of color in our "post-racial" society.
So dear colorblind-boasting-parent:
PUT DOWN THE BUNNY EARS.
Chicks are fabulous, too.