How to Respond When Someone Says They are “Colorblind”

By William J. Jackson

First, you must apologize for not being mindful of their disability. 

Next you must inform them of how dark skinned Sicilians of Italy were considered black for their roughly 10 percent north African lineage.  Also that they were subject to segregation similar to Jim Crow.

From here, it is okay to dramatically fast forward to the trans Atlantic, Christian, chattel slave trade.

This will provide a good framing for informing them of color-ism among slaves.

Those with more melanin being given harsher working conditions than those with less and how that feeds modern color-ism among black Americans today.

Before jumping there, it will help to tell them about Bacon’s Rebellion in the 1600’s and the Naturalization act of 1790 which led to the social invention of the “white race”.

Moving forward, you can tell them about how even among this new idea of a “white race” that the appropriation of a term used by African slaves upon poor whites and immigrant white servants which was ‘White Trash’ was used to push the fear of inferior whites over-breeding that 15 states passed sterilization laws.

After sharing that bit of info, it would be useful to remind them that during all this time, Africans were still subhuman in the context of the trans Atlantic Christian slave trade.

(…because it’s true)

But hey!!! It’s cool because next you get to tell them about the 13th amendment and that didn’t actually end slavery, but just put it in prisons.

Immediately following that, you get to tell them about Jim Crow segregation and how the name Jim Crow came from a black face character that was invented during chattel slavery as a joke about black people being where they aren’t supposed to be.

(hahahaha… because that’s funny)

It’s probably safe to assume they already know that Martin Luther King existed so you can skip that and go into how the suit and tie response non-white folks being considered a little more human was the John Birch Society.

They believed in capitalism and the need for a permanent underclass and that those blackity blacks ought to be the main face of that underclass.

They had a name for it and it was “Healthy Poverty”.

This was their idea of wonderful family based poverty without the gosh darned ‘gubment’ disturbing it.

The same folks from the John Birch Society went on to be the Heritage Foundation.

Their children were funded by Koch industries to form the Tea Party and they have the exact same race based ideas smothered in anti-government rhetoric.

Now we are in the modern day.

These people don’t just spend their entire lives holding misspelled signs at rallies.

They are business owners.

They are in management positions with chains and corporations.

They are cops.

They are judges.

They are lawmakers and lawyers.

They are elementary school teachers. (with black students)

Now that you’ve given the base information that will help them shed the cognitive blinders that disabled them from seeing color, they will be aware of behavior based on it and speak up against it in the work place and wherever they see race based injustice.

If that wasn’t fun enough…

Wait until we get to through this all over again with gender politics!!!



William J Jackson is a writer living in Florida.  He is the host of the podcast “Father Teresa’s Wine Cellar“.

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