In any sense of the term
I was scrolling through Facebook recently when I saw a status that caught my eye.
A Facebook friend of mine wrote about having the word “nigger” sung to him from the window of a White driver on the road. He looked back to see the driver happily amused having noticed he’d been heard.
I was disturbed by the arrogant and crass display of hatred expressed by the White gentleman, if I should even call him that. It reminded me of racial slurs thrown across a playground like …well, like racial slurs that are actually thrown across playgrounds — hatefully churlish.
I could so clearly see it happening. To some, this actual every day occurrence may sound like a deleted scene from The Help or 42 as thing of the past. Yet to a person of color, this is just Monday. Not even a Monday in the “wrong neighborhood” or on the “wrong side of town”, which supplies the argument that the Black person in this situation is not a victim because they, allegedly, ‘had no business being there anyway’. No, this is just a regular degular schmegular Monday you can find someone complaining about on a Target graphic T-Shirt. This incident is just one example of the regularity of racism people of color encounter every-single-day, but I digress.
Let me get off my 63 cents to the White man’s dollar soap box and talk about what sparked my attention. Under the Facebook post were a slew of comments, including one that expressed sympathy for the experience and thankfulness for a “….God that is color blind”, and in reply someone commented “Amen to that!”
You know, I wasn’t going to say anything. I was going to scroll past it, clear my mind of it, open up a book I’ve been reading and mind my business. And I tried to, I really did but as soon as I got some free time all I could think about was how not colorblind God is. So I figure I might as well get into why I think so.
First of all colorblindness, not the legitimate kind but the concept that an individual can wholly ignore race, is a farce. It’s insultingly ignorant and impossible to achieve. Sure, it’s cute to say you don’t see color when your daughter or son brings home their first minority partner but in reality claiming racial colorblindness perpetuates nothing but a narrative where Whiteness deems what is right, legitimate, and worthy to talk about and address as real and where the narratives of people of color are shoved into the bottom drawer of a cabinet labeled “When Racism Was Real: 1619–2008”.
Racial colorblindness usually coupled with the reading off of colors nobody is in hopes to unite everyone usually go hand in hand — I’m talking about when people say, “I don’t care if you’re purple, green, orange, blue…”. The problem with this is that it trivializes race. Yeah, race is a human made up construct set up to literally divide people into categories, but it’s also a bit more complex than what it was initially created to be. By naming off colors nobody is, one effectually ignores the colors that people are thus ignoring the issues they face, the histories they bleed, the voices they have, and the rights they deserve. It’s a great method to focus less on issues of race and promotes the fallacy that people are beyond it.
In my opinion and experience, the same people who call themselves racially colorblind typically don’t operate well around people of color mainly because they’re dismissive, uninformed, and awkward probably because they’re too busy trying to let everyone know that they don’t see color and they’ve got an adopted Black cousin who the family thinks will have a great future career in basketball. I just don’t think God fits into this category.
Claiming racial colorblindness perpetuates nothing but a narrative where Whiteness deems what is right, legitimate, and worthy and where the narratives of people of color are shoved into the bottom drawer of a cabinet labeled “When Racism Was Real: 1619–2008”.
For me, viewing God as a colorblind creator seems a bit inconsistent with all of the other things He does and says. If God is colorblind, would that mean that He took great time and attention to detail the skies, the seas, the Earth, and the creatures thereof but when it came to people He just … shrugged?
Perhaps, those who see God as colorblind are thinking in terms of bias, prejudice, and discrimination whenever color is involved. To this point, of course I don’t think God looks at people and discriminates against them based on of the color of their skin. I don’t know God with human-like habits such as those. Yet, I do think he makes people with their skin color for, perhaps, a grander and divine reason. In an anecdotal and corny example, without her skin color Maya Angelou’s writing would have been impacted by entirely different life experiences. With Brown skin, Albert Einstein’s findings might have been ignored and buried under piles of racist academic and scientific thought. Each person’s skin shade directly effects her or his impact, opinions, and experiences. Without our skin, although some may feel at times that they’d want to exchange it, we would be completely different people with lives, lessons, and meanings foreign to us. The bible is full of scriptures that describe the vast and inconceivable intentionality of God, who in my view undoubtedly designs our color with a meaning and objective.
The idea that God sees and creates color knowing it breeds divides among the people he creates may be a tough pill of an idea to swallow. But after I question why God didn’t just make us all grey with purple undertones, I think on how easy it would be to love another person who looks and thinks exactly like you, has the same opinions you do, and voted for the same Presidential candidate you did, but how trying it is to love someone who looks nothing like you and sings “nigger” at you through his window as you drive by. How the lessons of the bible are even harder to follow when your alleged “neighbor” and “sister” or “brother” is your exact opposite in every way, and the savior most have painted with pale skin and flowing hair instead has hair like wool and skin as bronze and looks like someone who one might call the police on when He’s living while Black. I don’t think God crafted our differences by mistake or to be cruel, but I do think he may have done it to ask how well we can love the “other” as he told us to.
The bible does not explain why God creates people the shades he does, but it does make it clear that people are made in His image, whatever that may mean and whatever it entails.