I struggle with the term "color blind." I’m not talking about the inability to distinguish between certain colors, but rather, about the assertion that if everyone would just ignore the color of people’s skin, racism would come to an end.
I know that this concept has good intentions, but I see a fundamental flaw. By intentionally ignoring part of who a person is, are we sending a negative message?
If we decided to be gender blind, what message does that send me about being a woman? To dismiss my "female-ness" is to dismiss a part of who I am.
How would I feel about someone dismissing even a part of who I am? First, I would be angry. Then, I would begin to question. Maybe my "female-ness" isn’t important. Maybe this very core part of my being isn’t worth noting. Maybe I’ve developed my identity based on things that don’t matter to anyone else. Maybe I should be ashamed of my "female-ness." Maybe I should try to hide it.
Maybe instead of being "color blind," we should be "color cognizant."
Dictionary.com defines cognizant as "fully informed." If we strive to be fully informed, then we are able to recognize race as an important part of a person’s identity. Albeit, not the only part. And, we are able to dismiss racial stereotypes without dismissing the person.