“I’d like to suggest that we are not color blind, we don’t need to be color blind, and we should strive to not be color blind. Instead, I’d like to suggest that we embrace being color smart.”
Can you imagine not being able to differentiate between reds versus greens or blues versus yellows? Or, imagine if you could only see things as gray? This is actually a reality for many people.
Color blindness is the inability to see certain colors as they are. The most severe form of color blindness is achromatopsia; this is when everything appears to be gray. Though you might think it’s a rare occurrence, about one in 10 men have some form of color blindness, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Unfortunately, this condition can limit job opportunities, and because it is typically associated with additional eye problems, it can affect one’s way of life in general.
Those who are color blind are unable to take in the varied beauty of God’s creation, and yet, many well-meaning people aspire for all of us to be color blind.
Diversity doesn’t require color blindness
People will often say in relation to ethnic and racial diversity that they are “color blind.” Many times, it’s their way of expressing that they see all people as just that, people. Everyone is the same, and they never differentiate between people based on color. I’ve also heard it as a defense against racism, “I’m not racist. I love all people. Actually, I’m color blind.” But I’d like to suggest that we are not color blind, we don’t need to be color blind, and we should strive to not be color blind. Instead, I’d like to suggest that we embrace being color smart.
Color smart celebrates God’s design
Being color smart enables us to see people as made in the image of God just like us, while also acknowledging the beauty of our differences. As image bearers, we are all the same. In other words, God doesn’t discriminate against certain people groups in his design. Regardless of ethnicity, we are all created equally to reflect aspects of our Creator God. However, God does create each and every one of us uniquely. We are not all the same in regards to skin color, interests, likes, gifts and desires. He has created us different for a purpose, namely his glory. So, instead of striving to be color blind, let’s be color smart—recognizing the differences in others in such a way that expresses genuine interest in and love for our neighbor.
To further emphasize this point, here are five reasons why we should see the beauty of God’s creation in the people he has created.
1. God created us in his image. We are all made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). No, we don’t look like him (John 4:24), but we reflect something about his character. So, if we are his image bearers, we should embrace different ethnicities instead of pretending there aren’t any. Our differences are purposed by God for his glory!
2. Racial and ethnic color blindness ignores reality. It’s simply not realistic to be color blind. As an African-American female, I cannot (and have no desire to) erase the fact that I am how God made me. There is no hiding my milky-brown, freckled skin. I am who I am. When I walk in a room and I am the only black woman, it’s obvious. There’s no benefit in pretending. What I’m not saying is that we need to act awkward around each other. If we’ve embraced that God has created us as equals, there’s no need for that. If someone who is culturally or ethnically different from you comes around, it is unrealistic, unhelpful and possibly unloving to pretend that you don’t notice.