Wednesday, September 3, 2014

are you colorblind?

What an interesting concept.... Are you colorblind? Do you live in a technicolored world or do you only see gray? Do I need to paint a picture for you? Or will you paint one with me? What does your canvas look like?

When I was younger we would talk about how we did not see color... my family still references this statement. I wonder now what kind of effect this has on the world? When I say we did not see color I am referencing race and color of skin. We were all varying shades of brown and my mom was a shade of peachy white. We did not know the difference, we just loved each other. We had friends of many different races or ethnicities and we did not care what the color of their skin was, we just loved them. We lived in a world that was so lovingly ignorant. Even though we loved and were colorblind, others were not so loving and were not so colorblind!

What happens when you see color? You have to admit that there are differences in the world?! You have to see that others live differently than you and they do not share in the privileges that you have?! Think of all the things you are privileged to.... what do you have that you did not have to work for? Is it money, a car, a job, a house/home/shelter, a life, safety, comfort, etc.... Now think about how that looks or feels for others....

I went through a lot of my life trying not to see color. Trying to blend into the shades of gray and believe that I was the same as everyone else. Sometimes I can fit in as white, other times as brown.... but sometimes I do not fit in as either. My eyes slowly started being opened to the idea that it matters. My life is not the same as the other white people I know. My life is not the same as the other brown people I know. It surely isn't the same as the black people, or another other shade of color that I know.

So where do we go from here? I want to live in a world that is technicolored and tie died on the same canvas. A world that sees color but understands and accepts the differences. A world that allows men and women no matter race or ethnicity to have the same privileges.

.... that would mean sacrifice. I would have to give up some of what I have in order to allow others to have more. People who have more than me would have to give up most of what they have so that others can have more. What would life look like if we all were allowed the same privileges?????

What if every child had the opportunity to eat 3 meals a day?
What if every child had the opportunity to be successful in school?
What if every young adult had the opportunity to explore their dreams?
What if every young adult had the opportunity to pursue a higher level of education?
What if every male/female had the opportunity to provide for their family?
What if every male/female had the opportunity to achieve a debt free financial situation?

I know these things are minimal... these are what we see.... but what if....

Every person was safe in their own home?
Every person felt safe walking to or from the local park?
Every person was happy sharing experiences with strangers?
Every person did not have to fear tomorrow and the unknown?

What would life look like if we as people, as human beings, were able to come together and be? What if we could all just be okay being different, embrace it, and learn a little more about loving each other and not being ignorant?

Sometimes I feel like the worst part of it all is that we are knowingly ignorant. We know that what we are doing is wrong and yet we do it anyway. We use the people who are less privileged and we take advantage of our positions in life. We know we are doing it and yet we do nothing to change it. Why?

Are we afraid of losing our power? Is that what all of this boils down to? Are we afraid of not having as many material objects to distract us with? Are we worried that someday the people who we currently boss around will boss us around?

I always said I did not see color because even though I know there are differences, I did not want to base any of my life decisions on color. I did not want to make anyone feel objectified or different. I did not want to make anyone feel less. But, that in and of it self is ignorant thinking. Other people already feel that way because everyone else is treating them that way. At points in my life I felt that way because I was treated poorly by others.

I have this unique color palette. I fit in multiple categories, but don't really fit in one. People sometimes will say things to me not knowing that I am brown. They will be racist or derogatory and not think twice about it. Most of the time I don't talk about it because I don't fit in the brown category either. I do not speak Spanish, I did not have a quinceanera  and I do not know all the smooth dance moves. I also did not know how to make ethnic dishes and I do not share in the cultural holidays the same way. I grew up a brown girl in a white world. I never really fit in there either because once someone realized my tan never went away... I was no longer like them.

I have been on both sides of this and I feel like that is what allows me to see things differently. I want a world full of color. A world that is seen and known for it's beautiful differences. Where people can admit they do not know and start to learn. Where people can admit they are privileged and sacrifice a little. Where power is not the most important aspect of who you are and where you reside. A world that does not speak for others or give others a voice, but actually allows those people to speak out and tell the whole story, not just the story that works in favor of those who want to share it.

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