I wrote a blog entitled “In defense of the color blind” about three months ago. It was a ranty bit in response to the “I, too, am Harvard” movement that was sweeping the nation, and the world. My brilliant best friend recently dropped me an e-mail with a long-awaited answer to my original article (which can be found here) with some personal insight that I didn’t feel could be overlooked.
Here’s what she has to say about it:
“It’s 2014 and race is still an issue. In order for people to clarify that they are not racist, the phrase “I don’t see color” is used too often and never meant. The fact of the matter is that everyone sees color, but that doesn’t mean everyone hates, discriminates, judges, or condescends.
I see color. I notice the differences in our faces. I observe your darker skin. I hear your accent. I see your religious symbols. I see how you and I are not from the same history.
But that’s the thing. No one shares a history. All of our life experiences have been different. No two people, no matter how similar or different they look, share their entire lives, every experience. But we can relate, and we can learn.
I have never known what it’s like to be black, Asian, middle eastern… etc. I have white skin and a Hispanic heritage. I associate more with my Hispanic culture than with someone of European decent who could be my twin. My little sister is so beautiful with her dark olive skin and chocolate brown curls; I’m beautiful with my ivory skin and freckles. But I will never know what she may face growing up. Even in a town where Hispanics are not the minority, I don’t know what discrimination she may encounter.
What I’m trying to say is that I see color. When I meet you, yes, it occurs to me that you are different. So if I seem cautious, or hesitant, please forgive me. It’s not that I dislike you, or your race/religion/background, or that I fear you in the least. I fear the ignorance you have suffered at the hands of others- weather their intentions were good or bad. I fear being associated with that group of insensitive, ignorant people.
My hesitancy is because I want you to know that I respect what hardships you may have experienced throughout your life. I’m cautious because I am trying to convey proper empathy to situations I will never understand.
I hope we’ll get to a place where there’s less hate and more tolerance. I’d like to help shape that world. I see color, tell me your story.”
Liz “Red” Rojo, is an accomplished director, writer, cinematographer, photographer, listener, trouble-maker, sister, daughter and friend. She works for Scaryman Studios in St. Louis, MO and her most recent piece of film can be found below.
My name is Chelsey Mick, and this is how we let Red write blogs because they’re awesome.