What’s wrong with saying ‘you don’t see color’? – Baptist News Global


In an effort to prove they are not a part of the American racism pandemic, I had a fair number of well-meaning people who told me they “didn’t see the color.” As much as I appreciate what they are trying to do, there are several reasons why it is actually counterproductive.

I’m not sure it’s possible for anyone with minimal perception not to see color. How can we ever achieve and participate in true healing when we strive to exist outside socio-historical reality? Neither denial nor delusion are helpful.

Sid Smith III

Even if personal color blindness is possible, how do you know that I want my blackness to be ignored or denied as if it were something to suppress? I truly love being black, and when we truly heal, we will realize that we appreciate and celebrate God’s artistic brilliance in creating us for who we are, individually and collectively.

Besides, how exactly are we going to identify when racial injustice is used if we are actively trying to ignore causal factors? If we really want to be part of the solution instead of being part of the problem, we must stop trying to be colorblind. Instead, we must appreciate the beautiful tapestry of racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity of which we are blessed. We need to be honest about where racism exists – historically, institutionally, introspectively. The truth will set us free.

We must be boldly committed to breaking down racism wherever we find it, even if it is in the comfortable habits we enjoy, even if it is in institutions that value and profit from it, even if it makes us admit that we are a little more like Archie Bunker or George Jefferson than we would like to admit.

But don’t try to pull the wool over my eyes by telling me not to see the color. No matter how big your intentions are, it’s not a good look.

Sid Smith III is a consultant in the music service and serves at the Third Baptist Church in San Francisco. His father, Sid Smith Jr., was a pioneer leader of the Southern Baptist Convention credited with founding more than 400 predominantly black SBC churches.

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