Facebook – Lydia Stith Rosebush
Ignorance (Noun) – lack of knowledge or information
A heartwarming story of a Caucasian boy who shaved his head so he can look like his black friend went viral recently.
And before I start, I want to say that there is absolutely nothing wrong with this story. I love it. It is an incredible anecdote full of love and friendship and I hope that these two kids will use this moment as a foundation for how they see race going forward.
However, as I was scrolling through the mostly heart-warming and well-intentioned comments, there seemed to be a misguided ideology: the idea that love knows no color and that love is “colorblind.”
“True love knows no color.”
“Now that’s the way it should be! Colorblind.”
Wrong. Absolutely and horrifyingly wrong.
True love knows color. Love sees color and embraces it because of its differences.
Turning a blind eye to color is not the answer to society’s problems. It’ll merely throw a veil over the plight and misfortune of billions around the world. Let’s face it: to not see color is to see the world through a lens that’s been washed in white. That is the cold, hard truth no matter how many times we attempt to paint over it with rainbows.
We see it in Snapchat filters. We see it on our TVs and in our theaters. We see it in skin products and in the skills of plastic surgeons.
Choosing to not see color diminishes so many people and even more groups. It instantly erases the beauty of culture and pours shame onto identity. It delegitimizes the struggles that seem to be attached to the hip of people of color. It minimizes our victories and allows for hatred to breathe and incubate inside the underbelly of America.
Although I hate to attach a word with such negative connotations to innocent children, frankly, these kids are ignorant (see definition above). They have yet to understand how the world works and what role race plays in their daily lives. While the lesson of love needs to be celebrated to its fullest, we must come to grips with the fact that sooner rather than later, these two kids will learn of the wide disparity in social status that comes with the differences in skin color.
The black kid will undoubtedly experience first-hand the racial epithets that come along with being an African American in a country where racism and bigotry continue to thrive albeit the history books that say otherwise. He’ll have to see racist and fear-mongering people be elected as POTUS. His parents will have to sit him down and give him protocol on how to survive a traffic stop, a talk that is mostly unheard of in other minority groups. He’ll be followed in convenient stores owned by Caucasians and Asian Americans while his white twin will be greeted with a bright smile and a “thank you, come back soon.” He will have moments where his humanity is reduced to nothing and will be forced to stay put for fear of his livelihood. He’ll turn on the TV and watch yet another unarmed black man get murdered by police officers for arbitrary reasons while the white terrorist who shot up an entire church gets driven to a fast food restaurant upon his arrest because he asked nicely.
And the white kid will mostly be shielded from anything negative due to the color of his skin and the blue in his eyes. He’ll be told that the world is his and that he can conquer it if he so chooses. He’ll be successful and not have a worry in the world. And there is nothing wrong with this. Every kid should be told the same positive things and be given a chance to succeed no matter their circumstances.
But there will undoubtedly come a moment where he’ll have to witness his friend have his world shattered and be forced to choose whether he’ll be a bystander or a fighter in the name of justice and brotherhood.
My hope is that when these children are presented with this fork in the road, both will be compelled to walk down the right one.