Don’t be “Colorblind.”

I am white.

I am a white woman.

I am a white woman born, raised, and living in Iowa.

I am a white woman, born, raised, and living in Iowa and I have never lived on a farm, never driven a tractor, and honestly, I still hold my nose when I drive by a farm.  Heck, I’ve even voted for a democrat or two… OMG!

Why do I say this, why should it matter?  Honestly, it shouldn’t.  But don’t you think we have gotten a little ridiculous lately?  I can’t turn on the TV, check my Facebook, or even sit down in a public place without hearing or seeing racially motivated comments.

They’re everywhere and some are just ridiculously ignorant.  Why we think we can say absolutely anything and it be okay.  Or say ignorant and flippant comments and defend ourselves with, “but I’m not racist,” or “I’m just joking,” or “That’s just who I am.”  Seriously, stop the comments, stop the controversy and start a conversation.  A real conversation.  If we are concerned about race, if we are uncertain about an issue or situation, talk about it- LEARN something!!

I’m taken back to the movie CRASH where the characters are forced to face their spoken or hidden stereotypes, ignorance, and hatred.  Such a powerful movie.  How we want to complain about how things are towards us, but we never look outward, reflecting on our own perceptions.  Maybe it’s time we start doing just that.

My pastor once sat down in a small group I was in.  She looked around the table and told us we needed to do better.  If we really wanted to reach out to other mothers, we needed to diversify ourselves.  We were all the same age, same stage of life, and the same color.  It’s hard to encompass everyone if we only represent one.  She was right.  What I took away most from her that day was that we need to be intentional.  Intentional in reaching out. Intentional in our relationships.  Not to simply ignore the race issue… or the gender issue… or the age issue… but to intentionally include others in our lives.

With the current events of today, race is surely in the spotlight.  I read and hear some of the comments and it just makes me sick.  I think, “Isn’t this 2013?!”  But in the same breath, maybe we should talk about it.  Not shamelessly comment without repercussion.  Not ignore it.  Have a conversation.  Learn what we don’t understand.  And for gosh sakes, get off our high horses… we are not that great… we are not that much better than everyone else… and we are surely not without fault.

I used to think I was “colorblind.” That the color of people’s skin really didn’t matter to me because people were just people.  In high school, I carried around a good luck cabbage patch doll with me to every track meet.  It was a Jackie Joyner Kersee doll, my favorite athlete.  I would get many comments, “Why are you carrying around a black doll?”  I really couldn’t understand people’s curiosity.  It’s JJK for goodness sakes!!

Now that I’m older, and am raising biracial children, I do see color.  I do notice my son’s preschool class is all white.  I do see that all the book covers at Target are of little white boys and little white girls.  I do see that the splash pad I take my kids to on hot summer days is occupied of mainly young, white mothers and their kids.  Sometimes I get angry, “Couldn’t this cartoon have at least one non-white kid?”  Other times I feel guilty that I’m not providing opportunities for my kids to be around a more diverse group of kids.  And honestly, there are times I worry about how my kids will be treated because of their race.  Colorblind-I am not.

Race does exist, and sadly, so does racism.  And it’s worth discussing respectfully and honestly.

So back to my first statement, I am white.

If you saw me on the street, that may be all you notice about me.  Or it may be that I’m tall, or that I have blonde hair, or that I am crazy for walking around public places with three kids under the age of 6.

My point- you saw me, you don’t know me.

And isn’t that the truth in all of this?  We DON’T know each other from a quick glance on the street.  We Don’t know each other solely from a description.  We Don’t know each other if we don’t ask. People are People and they are worth getting to know, personally.

If we don’t intentionally take our blinders off, open our eyes, hold out our hands and say hello than we don’t know anything- we shouldn’t comment, we shouldn’t pretend, we shouldn’t ignore.

Be intentional.  Have a real conversation… and stop this ridiculousness already!

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
― Martin Luther King Jr.

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