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"They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

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"They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Lorini » Sun Mar 24, 2019 11:02 am

Washington Post article:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyl ... 29c22f6e59

I think we talked about this awhile ago but I thought this article was excellent on why, even though it seems like the right thing to do, ignoring people's race is actually wrong. For one thing it eliminates a large part of their identity.
But in recent years — with the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, as social justice activism has crossed into the mainstream and discussions about race have dominated both national headlines and the vitriolic political landscape — more attention has been focused on the role that white people must play in addressing racism, and more parents like Cassell are trying to learn how to speak to their children about the realities of the world they live in.
Read this sentence:

A man was going down the street and an Asian woman joined him.

This is why colorblindness is not good. The man in the sentence is assumed to be white. But why? Because we've been conditioned to think that white people are the norm or the default. The reality is (particularly globally) white people are not and should not be the default. When that happens, kids who are not white can feel that they are weird or not ordinary or even creepy or bad.
“It’s not just one talk. It’s not ‘The Talk.’ It’s the practice of race consciousness on a daily basis,” she says. For instance: “We can’t walk into a store that is selling all white baby dolls and say nothing. Silence is itself sending a message, and that message is not the one that I want. I don’t want my white children to grow up thinking that white is better.”
I hope some of you at least take this to heart. The world is better when everyone is considered equally, not when all colors but white are ignored.

-Jennifer Schlickbernd, mom of bi-racial son and an African American.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by GreenGoo » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:00 pm

White people are the default in North America. Egyptian literature and media don't presume a person's race is white, for example. "Minorities" has been a pc term for decades.

Ignoring race was never about minimizing a person's identity. If people want to focus on a person's race in a positive way, that seems reasonable, and I assume this would include people with light coloured skin as well.

I'm not a big fan of different social rules for different races. I hope some of you can take this to heart as well.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Jaymann » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:09 pm

To say, "a black man was walking down the street" seems to put undue focus on race for no apparent reason.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by McNutt » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:33 pm

Saying "a white man was walking down the street with an Asian woman" would only make sense to me if their races played a role in what you're about to tell me next.

I think the age of assumed white is nearing an end. I'm still guilty if it too though.

I hope some of you can take that to heart.

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Post by $iljanus » Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:54 pm

McNutt wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:33 pm
Saying "a white man was walking down the street with an Asian woman" would only make sense to me if their races played a role in what you're about to tell me next.

I think the age of assumed white is nearing an end. I'm still guilty if it too though.

I hope some of you can take that to heart.
I'll have more to say about the topic later when I have time but I think the "age of assumed white" is not quite nearing an end but it has entered a phase where we are at least having the conversation.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by gameoverman » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:00 pm

I think one unsung value to talking about race and racial issues with kids is that by doing so you instill in them the understanding that we are all in this together and that we all should put thought into what is happening with other people as if it was happening to us.

For instance, if you don't ever talk about anything with your kids unless it specifically impacts your race, the message the kids get is 'if it ain't happening to us, it's not happening'. That's the kind of thought process that causes people to shrug at police abuse because the police are not seen as bothering their group.

Also, I'm of the opinion that when a child is old enough to ask a question, that child is old enough to get an honest answer. It doesn't have to be a detailed, complex answer, but it shouldn't be a "Shhh, don't ask questions, you're not old enough" type of response.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Lorini » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:03 pm

Jaymann wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 12:09 pm
To say, "a black man was walking down the street" seems to put undue focus on race for no apparent reason.
It’s not the mention of race that is an issue for me as the article states. It’s the assumption of whiteness and therefore the presumption of normalcy.

Just so you know, many black people including my extensive extended family always call white people white. 'I was talking with this white guy last night' might be something I could hear. Race matters more when you aren’t white, or at least it does to many non white people.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Lorini » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:06 pm

gameoverman wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:00 pm
I think one unsung value to talking about race and racial issues with kids is that by doing so you instill in them the understanding that we are all in this together and that we all should put thought into what is happening with other people as if it was happening to us.

For instance, if you don't ever talk about anything with your kids unless it specifically impacts your race, the message the kids get is 'if it ain't happening to us, it's not happening'. That's the kind of thought process that causes people to shrug at police abuse because the police are not seen as bothering their group.

Also, I'm of the opinion that when a child is old enough to ask a question, that child is old enough to get an honest answer. It doesn't have to be a detailed, complex answer, but it shouldn't be a "Shhh, don't ask questions, you're not old enough" type of response.
Yes! When I would pick up my son from school, kids would ask/say something about me. My son is fairly light skinned. I can remember one child asking if I were really his mom and another pointing out where my son got his curly hair. It was all good, denying the obvious sets a bad example.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by GreenGoo » Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:49 pm

gameoverman wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:00 pm

Also, I'm of the opinion that when a child is old enough to ask a question, that child is old enough to get an honest answer. It doesn't have to be a detailed, complex answer, but it shouldn't be a "Shhh, don't ask questions, you're not old enough" type of response.
But... that's already happening.

The last 2, maybe 3 generations have been raised on that awareness. At least where I'm from, or my background. Racial diversity as a positive has been taught in our schools for decades. My kids have racial (well, actually cultural diversity) diversity projects at school, for example. That doesn't mean that racists don't exist, but they are outliers.

Being colour blind is about equal treatment, not actual blindness to race.

As usual I don't get race relations in the US. Not that we are perfect up here, far from it, but the perspective on race relations is in some ways significantly different.

Good luck everyone.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Jeff V » Mon Mar 25, 2019 11:58 am

GreenGoo wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 1:49 pm

Being colour blind is about equal treatment, not actual blindness to race.
In a perfect world, one follows the other.

Unless they came to me first, or if they were involved an incident where race was an issue, I'm not sure having any sort of talk with my kids (currently 5 and 2) would lead to a more positive outcome. Both my kids have a rainbow coalition of friends, and that makes me happy. When they are at a playground or some such and surrounded by a group of unknown kids, they make friends with whoever seems amenable - they do not gravitate towards any particular ethnicity. It seems that suggesting that the color of their skin somehow makes them different and a topic of conversation might send a signal to kids that color is an issue they ought to be wary about.

I do not foresee any particular problem raising them properly in this regard. The kids themselves are multiracial - in the winter, they are as white as me and as soon as the weather is warm enough to walk outside in shorts, they turn brown faster than a chameleon blends in with a leaf.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by LawBeefaroni » Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:02 pm

I'm half Asian, half north African and at 45 I'm still learning what the hell race is. I'm your generic "person of color" by appearance. I can, and have, passed for Phillipino, Mexican/Puerto Rican/Latin Ameican, Spanish, Arab, Mongolian, various flavors of Pacific islander. You name it. If it's vaguely brown someone has assumed I'm it.

Culturally I was brought up "white" in a white family in a very diverse community. That is to say, that aside from Catholic Sunday school, Polish food, and Michigan football, I'm wholly culturally neutral.

I have a unique understanding of race and "seeing color". But I also have a unique blind spot for it too. When people make assumptions about me it almost always puts them at a disadvantage and knowing that, I'm wary of doing of doing the same to others. I always assume the highest level (not necessarily "best", but highest level) of someone which means I don't underestimate them but also don't really get into who they might really be. When someone gasps when I surprise them coming around a corner or into an elevator, I don't get offended. When they cross the sidewalk at 1am, I get it. They're playing it safe. I do the same.


I met my half-brother for the first time 2 years ago and it was a huge eye opener. He's half black and half Asian. He looks mostly black. People say he looks like Tiger Woods. For reference, we put on Nike hats and his friend told people we were Tiger Woods and Jason Day and people bought it. Those who didn't still gasped/laughed at the likeness. The path his life took vs. mine is eerily similar but starkly different. We both did similar dumb shit when we were young but he went to prison for 5 years. I have only spent one night in detox jail.

Last time we were hanging out, I was telling him about how I donated some money to a police charity. He told me about how cops outside Dallas recently stole $1,500 from him. He got an attorney and the sheriff Dept suddenly found the money and a receipt mysteriously dated 3 days before they took it from him - but they couldn't return it yet because it was evidence in an unrelated case (?). And of course the attorney letter cost like $400.

Anyway, talking to him, hearing how things work, I'm struck how just being noticably black can change everything. My problem is that I never fit in completely. I may look Mexican to a lot of people but stick me in a crowd of Mexicans and they quickly figure out that I'm not. I may be half Japanese but some guy who just read a manga book is probably more culturally versed than I am.

His problem is that he got arrested when his Uber driver ran a stop sign.


No idea where I'm going with this except to say that Race in America complicated enough to begin with. Throw in everyone's unique and unpredictable perspectives and it's a damned mess.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:11 pm

LawBeefaroni wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:02 pm
When someone gasps when I surprise them coming around a corner or into an elevator, I don't get offended. When they cross the sidewalk at 1am, I get it. They're playing it safe. I do the same.
Ok, I get the second but because it's 1am and I avoid everyone at 1am. It's not like if you were white we'd do the secret white handshake and go out for milkshakes.

The first though? Holy fuck. I'm sorry dude. That just sucks. I can see being startled because people suddenly where they weren't people before can be startling, but being startled by a person of one race but not of another? That seems outrageous. Out. Rageous. I don't mean as a sjw out to right the wrongs of the world, I mean "how is that possible?". Like telling me gravity works differently in Michigan.

Just putting this here for the first 5 seconds of the clip.


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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by LordMortis » Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:22 pm

LawBeefaroni wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:02 pm
No idea where I'm going with this except to say that Race in America complicated enough to begin with. Throw in everyone's unique and unpredictable perspectives and it's a damned mess.
This. I'm middle aged white dude. I wasn't raised to be colorblind but it was became the default setting and one I advocated for my young adult life. I have no children for whom to mold a world view. I've slowly and then more rapidly done a 180 with regard to what you might say being colorblind to wanting to continuous hones dialog in the Internet age, that probably started with reading Beloved in college and wondering why Morrison wasn't simply labeled "one the great late 20th century authors" instead of "one the great black woman late 20th century authors". It felt cheap at the time, like her work command more respect than needing to be qualified. I had a lot to learn but I still have no idea where I'm going. It's complicated. I'm not feminist or woke or an ally. My -isms don't extend into those worlds. But I am interested in being a better person and I'm still not too old to lose sight of that and stay on the complicated path.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by LawBeefaroni » Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:03 pm

GreenGoo wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 12:11 pm
The first though? Holy fuck. I'm sorry dude. That just sucks. I can see being startled because people suddenly where they weren't people before can be startling, but being startled by a person of one race but not of another? That seems outrageous. Out. Rageous. I don't mean as a sjw out to right the wrongs of the world, I mean "how is that possible?". Like telling me gravity works differently in Michigan.
I mean it's not all that. Like I said, I get it. I'm not offended, it's life on the city. It's almost a game at this point anticipating reactions, trying to avoid situations. 70% of the time it's nothing but the rest of the time I'm right. I don't even know if it's because I'm a man (in the case of women), how I'm dressed, race, or just someone being oblivious until the last moment. I mean I don't ask, "why did you turn around and get out of the elevator?"

Maybe I'm overly situationally aware and just notice it more. But as I learned from my brother, and this is kind of the point, my feelings on the matter are only mine and do not apply to everyone.


If the worst that anyone does to you and yours is use a slur, no biggie. But if they also systematically persecute you, shoot you, and whatever else, that slur takes on a whole new meaning.

It's why calling the 5th generation Irish American guy "Paddy" when he walks in the bar isn't exactly the same as calling the 5th generation African American guy "nigger" when he walks in.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Hyena » Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:16 pm

I was raised in a Marine household. I lived all over the world growing up, and as such developed a love for MANY cultures. I used to pride myself on being "colorblind", in that it didn't matter what color you are, I would befriend you if given the chance.

Flash forward four years ago to a summer institute conference for AVID (a middle school college prep class I was teaching), and I went to an "Importance of Understanding Cultural Diversity in the Classroom" strand. I had a conversation with a wonderful African American lady who was a principal at a school in the Houston area. I told her I prided myself on being colorblind for the reasons above and her response was, "I believe you really do think that you are coming at this from an angle of innocence and good intentions, but the word "colorblind" doesn't mean you are accepting of all cultures. It means that you see everyone the same, and that's wrong." I was mildly taken aback, and then she absolutely floored me when she said, "As a woman of color, my skin color is an identifying part of who I am, how I was raised, and a major part of my culture. I *am* a black woman, not a colorless person."

I was near tears. In my haste to be accepting to everyone around me, I was oblivious to not only who they truly were, but how they became that way; and their skin color, culture, and personal history is 99% of who they are. I was trying to fit everyone into a circle hole, filing off all their square corners, curved heart-shaped sides, and sandblasting the paint off them in an effort to show how accepting I was. At the end of our private conversation time (and I know this sounds SO cliched), I felt like that my eyes were truly opened for the first time to that. I was ashamed and embarrassed, but she handled it with such kindness and honesty that I truly felt that conversation alone has changed my teaching style and my approach to students of other cultures. I'm truly blessed to have met her and shared that moment with an amazing black woman.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:46 pm

Shrug. And white women is who white women are. And white men. And Chinese men. And Russian men (it's an ethnicity, I recently found out) and so on and so on. And Mexican women. etc. etc.

I get that your identity is important to you. Just as heritage is important to lots of people. It's putting too much emphasis on DNA in my opinion. And if we're not talking about colours, but instead cultures, then great. You and everyone else has their own unique culture that they come from and can be proud of. Being overly prideful of your heritage or culture in the face of other peoples' heritages and cultures is slightly offensive to other peoples' heritages and cultures. I say that as someone who has to be incredibly mindful of other people's feelings regarding race and/or culture.

There's no shame in who you are or where you come from. And pride is up to the individual. There's a difference between pride and prideful.

As a white man I am not allowed to be proud of being white. I'm fine with that. White pride has been usurped by supremacists. I'm not proud of the colour of my skin anyway. It's genetics. Completely out of my control. If we're talking culture, then I don't know what "black" means in that context. Scottish, Irish and and English heritage and/or culture could all be described as "white" culture, but it isn't. There are a zillion cultures populated by what could be described as "black" people. What does "black" mean in a cultural sense if we're not talking DNA? Is this unique to Americans? Can African-Canadian women also be proud of being "black women"? If yes, why? If no, why not? Do black people in Canada, the UK and America have their own unique cultures, separate from each other? If yes, who gets to call their culture "black"? If they all do how would an outsider differentiate between them without becoming an expert on them? There's not enough time in the world to become an expert on every culture on the planet. Even a passing knowledge of each one would require enormous effort. It's not that I'm opposed to the idea, I just struggle with the practicalities of it. Particularly because I am expected and want to be culturally sensitive to everyone everywhere. I need hard definitions and expectations otherwise it's a moving target that can never be hit. If I can never hit a target I might give up trying after decades of fruitless effort.

Again, America seems to have a unique view on race relations that I struggle to understand outside the microcosm that is the USofA. There's an entire world filled with people of all cultures and races. Trying to define the relationship between each pair as a separate and unique thing with it's own set of rules that are different from other pairings is insane. But that appears to be how race relations are being conducted in the US. There is white/black relations, and maybe some white/Spanish relations. How are black/spanish race relations handled? Are these as important and generation defining as white/black relations? Does anyone care that a Mexican-American says racial shit to Black people, or vice versa?

Related to my colour vs culture confusion, it seems to be similar to Jewish people, who have both hereditary and cultural components to what it means to be "Jewish".

I like how Hyena can live his whole life being as open minded and welcoming of all people as any human being possibly can and suddenly be brought to tears. Well played.

We're *all* unique. Celebrate it. But your uniqueness doesn't make you more special than the person beside you.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Lorini » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:04 pm

We may all be unique but we aren’t treated as equally unique which needs to be recognized in my opinion. Which is part of the reason why trying to remove race from non white people is bothersome. It basically says I’m going to ignore the large amount data that shows implicit bias against non white people. Removing color doesn’t affect the bias that’s shown; it actually pretends like it doesn’t exist meaning that the problem continues.

GG, polls in the US consistently show that white people here have a very different view of race relations than non whites, so while I understand that you don’t see race relations in Canada as problematic as they are here, I wonder if you’ve heard of or seen confirmation of your belief from non white people.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Jeff V » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:23 pm

Hyena wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:16 pm
"I believe you really do think that you are coming at this from an angle of innocence and good intentions, but the word "colorblind" doesn't mean you are accepting of all cultures. It means that you see everyone the same, and that's wrong." I was mildly taken aback, and then she absolutely floored me when she said, "As a woman of color, my skin color is an identifying part of who I am, how I was raised, and a major part of my culture. I *am* a black woman, not a colorless person."
It sounds to me like a differing interpretation of the phrase, and race/ethnicity can certainly put a different spin on it. You take it to mean you are accepting of all races, cultures, and ethnicities; I would also characterize this as being the definition of "colorblind." It seems this woman wants you to see her color and better appreciate what she's accomplished as a person of color. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that either, but she probably shouldn't have chastised you when she probably knew your interpretation of the phrase. You can certainly admire someone for what they achieved while recognizing hardships overcome due to race/ethnicity/gender/sexual preferences but still treat them the same would anyone else (hence "colorblind").

In my case, race has rarely come up in conversation. One time I was having a beer with a fellow contractor on a particular project and he mentioned that what he liked about me is that unlike other white acquaintances, I didn't put on any affectations (such as trying to speak like I'm "from the 'hood"); that I talked to him like I'd talk to anyone else. That was a perspective I never really considered -- all I know is that behaving the same around all people usually puts them at ease and in a friendly disposition. Around the time Obama was elected, I had a few conversations regarding race with some very good friends that I could talk to anything about; I don't recall specifics though as we were in complete agreement so the content of the conversation was not very memorable.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:31 pm

Lorini wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:04 pm
We may all be unique but we aren’t treated as equally unique which needs to be recognized in my opinion. Which is part of the reason why trying to remove race from non white people is bothersome. It basically says I’m going to ignore the large amount data that shows implicit bias against non white people. Removing color doesn’t affect the bias that’s shown; it actually pretends like it doesn’t exist meaning that the problem continues.

GG, polls in the US consistently show that white people here have a very different view of race relations than non whites, so while I understand that you don’t see race relations in Canada as problematic as they are here, I wonder if you’ve heard of or seen confirmation of your belief from non white people.
First, thanks for responding. I realize my comments might be controversial to some people and that many may not agree with me. I appreciate you taking the time to read what I wrote and to respond.

Race relations are incredibly complex and problematic everywhere. I've failed if your takeaway from my comments is otherwise.

I don't speak for Canada or Canadians. My opinions are my own, based on my education, observations and experiences as a white male in a white male society.

That we aren't all treated equally unique is a different problem than we aren't all equal. We're still working on some white people still seeing black people as 3/5ths of an American.

Valuing individuals for their individuality is not a problem limited to black people, nor is it solely a white/black race problem. It would still exist and people would be treated as replaceable chattel whatever the racial situation. I will say that race relations throw added complexity into the equation, because a person's racial tendencies can allow them to focus on a person's race as a reason to ignore/belittle/demean/dehumanize them.

I guess where I take (very mild) exception is the idea that being colorblind is it's own form of racism. That's ludicrous. Valuing a person for who they are as an individual is a separate issue from racism. It (mildly) annoys me to see the issue co-opted into a racial "thing" even if some people use race as a reason to devalue someone.

I guess I think of it this way. Burglary isn't racist just because some burglars are racist and target black communities. Burglary shouldn't be used to as part of the definition ofracism. And good lord forgive me for that terrible analogy which I am just realizing I have used before.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by ImLawBoy » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:33 pm

Jeff V wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:23 pm
Hyena wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:16 pm
"I believe you really do think that you are coming at this from an angle of innocence and good intentions, but the word "colorblind" doesn't mean you are accepting of all cultures. It means that you see everyone the same, and that's wrong." I was mildly taken aback, and then she absolutely floored me when she said, "As a woman of color, my skin color is an identifying part of who I am, how I was raised, and a major part of my culture. I *am* a black woman, not a colorless person."
It sounds to me like a differing interpretation of the phrase, and race/ethnicity can certainly put a different spin on it. You take it to mean you are accepting of all races, cultures, and ethnicities; I would also characterize this as being the definition of "colorblind." It seems this woman wants you to see her color and better appreciate what she's accomplished as a person of color. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that either, but she probably shouldn't have chastised you when she probably knew your interpretation of the phrase. You can certainly admire someone for what they achieved while recognizing hardships overcome due to race/ethnicity/gender/sexual preferences but still treat them the same would anyone else (hence "colorblind").
The use of the term "colorblind" can also be a coded way to say one opposes things like affirmative action, so I can see why the woman might have responded like she did. Regardless, Hyena appears to have taken her response not as an attack or chastisement. He says it was important to him and has changed how he interacts with people and how he teaches (for the better, presumably ;) ). That's another indication that her response was probably a good thing.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:36 pm

Jeff V wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:23 pm
One time I was having a beer with a fellow contractor on a particular project and he mentioned that what he liked about me is that unlike other white acquaintances, I didn't put on any affectations (such as trying to speak like I'm "from the 'hood"); that I talked to him like I'd talk to anyone else. .
Geezus H. Christ. What is wrong with people? Why on earth would anyone do this? It's hardly different from trying to talk in a foreign accent with a foreigner. Which is not to say that your contractor fellow is foreign, only that trying to talk to someone from India in Apu's voice is inherently a problem.

Do people start talking in a southern drawl when speaking with people from the south? Why the fuck would anyone do that, outside of a good natured jest?

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:38 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:33 pm

The use of the term "colorblind" can also be a coded way to say one opposes things like affirmative action, so I can see why the woman might have responded like she did. Regardless, Hyena appears to have taken her response not as an attack or chastisement.
We only know of the encounter based on what Hyena wrote. What he wrote can be reasonably and most likely interpreted as a chastisement. If it helped Hyena, great.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Hyena » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:40 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:33 pm
Jeff V wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:23 pm
Hyena wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:16 pm
"I believe you really do think that you are coming at this from an angle of innocence and good intentions, but the word "colorblind" doesn't mean you are accepting of all cultures. It means that you see everyone the same, and that's wrong." I was mildly taken aback, and then she absolutely floored me when she said, "As a woman of color, my skin color is an identifying part of who I am, how I was raised, and a major part of my culture. I *am* a black woman, not a colorless person."
It sounds to me like a differing interpretation of the phrase, and race/ethnicity can certainly put a different spin on it. You take it to mean you are accepting of all races, cultures, and ethnicities; I would also characterize this as being the definition of "colorblind." It seems this woman wants you to see her color and better appreciate what she's accomplished as a person of color. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that either, but she probably shouldn't have chastised you when she probably knew your interpretation of the phrase. You can certainly admire someone for what they achieved while recognizing hardships overcome due to race/ethnicity/gender/sexual preferences but still treat them the same would anyone else (hence "colorblind").
The use of the term "colorblind" can also be a coded way to say one opposes things like affirmative action, so I can see why the woman might have responded like she did. Regardless, Hyena appears to have taken her response not as an attack or chastisement. He says it was important to him and has changed how he interacts with people and how he teaches (for the better, presumably ;) ). That's another indication that her response was probably a good thing.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:46 pm

How about this:

All races and cultures are equally important. Treating them as such means they are all treated equally.

Each individual is unique and important. Valuing people for who they are and where they come from can sometimes include their race/culture, depending on the individual.

Colour blind is a terrible term because it's a specific reference to the pigmentation of a person's skin. It's an outdated term who's definition has changed with the times despite being archaic.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Jeff V » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:47 pm

GreenGoo wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:36 pm
Jeff V wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:23 pm
One time I was having a beer with a fellow contractor on a particular project and he mentioned that what he liked about me is that unlike other white acquaintances, I didn't put on any affectations (such as trying to speak like I'm "from the 'hood"); that I talked to him like I'd talk to anyone else. .
Geezus H. Christ. What is wrong with people? Why on earth would anyone do this? It's hardly different from trying to talk in a foreign accent with a foreigner. Which is not to say that your contractor fellow is foreign, only that trying to talk to someone from India in Apu's voice is inherently a problem.

Do people start talking in a southern drawl when speaking with people from the south? Why the fuck would anyone do that, outside of a good natured jest?
While it'd be easy to blame Eminem and other white rappers for this phenomenon, I've seen it in action going back to the late 70's; the first time a black person entered a particular circle of friends. I'm sure at one time I knew his actual name, but in this group, he was known simply as "Cuz". In addition to silly affectations, it was interesting to see at parties how everyone when out of their way to try to engage the token black person in conversation. Thanks to him, I first got to experience this very thing from his perspective when I attended a party where I was the token white person. A few months later, there was a raid at that particular house and Cuz was never seen again. :cry:

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:54 pm

Jeff V wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:47 pm
While it'd be easy to blame Eminem and other white rappers for this phenomenon
That's not the same thing at all.

First, Rap is practically defined by the language it uses. If you want to Rap successfully, you're going to have to pay at least a little lip service to Rap's heritage, expectations and appeal. You can try to buck the trend, but people have tried with fairly limited success.

Second, White people from the hood *do* speak like that. It's not an affectation for people actually from the 'hood. It's 'hood, not black 'hood".

Third, people from the 'hood often change their mannerisms and speech patterns as they reach expands and their ambitions (particularly in entertainment) grow. It's not unreasonable for others to do the same but in reverse.

Snoop Dog is a great example of changing speech, since he did come from the 'hood, was a gang member and now is an entertainer who has found work in all sorts of places including kids' shows. I recently watched an episode of his game show (a reboot of Joker's Wild) and I couldn't help but feel his 'hood persona was just that, a persona now. It felt very much like a role he was playing. You could see him struggling to stay 'hood at times.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Paingod » Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:58 pm

Hyena wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:16 pm
"As a woman of color, my skin color is an identifying part of who I am, how I was raised, and a major part of my culture. I *am* a black woman, not a colorless person."
It seems like she's asking people to be racist or make assumptions, just not in a negative way; like she wants some kind of positive racism.

To me, skin color matters very little. Actions, presentation, and demeanor are how I categorize and rank people - not skin tone. You wear your pants around your knees with a shuffling self-aggrandized strut, and I'm going to put you in the same box regardless of your color. You stand with dignity, wear a pressed business suit, and act the part ... and you all go in the same box there as well. If you want me to be engaged with your story, then we'll need to talk - and that story becomes part of who you are in my mind... but it's still not based on your skin color. You're just refining the box I put you in.

I don't think I can stop seeing people and judging them based on who they are as I see them and start assigning them all generalized stereotypical backgrounds just because they're different shades of color. It doesn't seem right to try and be more racist instead of less racist. Does it make me a bad person to say I don't care about your race? I get that there are current struggles around race causing some people problems, but those same problems aren't shared by everyone with the same skin color around the globe, or even around the country. Each person is living with their own issues. I'll stand beside people of any color to call racists out and try to push for equality, but I won't follow them to the finish line if the end-goal is to replace it with a different kind of racism.

I'm sure it's easy to dismiss me as another ignorant white guy living a life of white privilege in one of the oldest, whitest states in the US. I don't encourage racism or agree with it, from either side of the argument. I prefer to see everyone as "people" and ignore color. I don't know how I can change that, or if I should. It just seems more "right" to my thinking if ending racism is the ultimate goal.

For what it's worth, I also annoy my wife by telling her that I see women as "people" as well and want them all treated with blind equality - and think along the same lines of "sexism is bad, replacing it with a different kind of sexism isn't good" ...

*Edit: After reading the article, I see that my post above doesn't address it. The article seems to be more about being open to differences in color and addressing it as a thing - not a thing to base your future reactions on, but a thing that just is as it is. That's how we're raising our kids. When they ask about people with different skin, we let them know it's just a genetic difference and they're no better or worse than we are.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Isgrimnur » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:22 pm

I respond to accents through speech mirroring. I have noticed it around people with 'urban' speech patterns, southern speech patterns, etc.

It's not a conscious decision, but in my case, it is mirroring rather than a response to a perceived group dynamic. But that strikes me as different than what Jeff's example is discussing.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Hyena » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:30 pm

Paingod wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:58 pm
Hyena wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 1:16 pm
"As a woman of color, my skin color is an identifying part of who I am, how I was raised, and a major part of my culture. I *am* a black woman, not a colorless person."
It seems like she's asking people to be racist or make assumptions, just not in a negative way; like she wants some kind of positive racism.

To me, skin color matters very little. Actions, presentation, and demeanor are how I categorize and rank people - not skin tone. You wear your pants around your knees with a shuffling self-aggrandized strut, and I'm going to put you in the same box regardless of your color. You stand with dignity, wear a pressed business suit, and act the part ... and you all go in the same box there as well. If you want me to be engaged with your story, then we'll need to talk - and that story becomes part of who you are in my mind... but it's still not based on your skin color. You're just refining the box I put you in.

I don't think I can stop seeing people and judging them based on who they are as I see them and start assigning them all generalized stereotypical backgrounds just because they're different shades of color. It doesn't seem right to try and be more racist instead of less racist. Does it make me a bad person to say I don't care about your race? I get that there are current struggles around race causing some people problems, but those same problems aren't shared by everyone with the same skin color around the globe, or even around the country. Each person is living with their own issues. I'll stand beside people of any color to call racists out and try to push for equality, but I won't follow them to the finish line if the end-goal is to replace it with a different kind of racism.

I'm sure it's easy to dismiss me as another ignorant white guy living a life of white privilege in one of the oldest, whitest states in the US. I don't encourage racism or agree with it, from either side of the argument. I prefer to see everyone as "people" and ignore color. I don't know how I can change that, or if I should. It just seems more "right" to my thinking if ending racism is the ultimate goal.

For what it's worth, I also annoy my wife by telling her that I see women as "people" as well and want them all treated with blind equality - and think along the same lines of "sexism is bad, replacing it with a different kind of sexism isn't good" ...
In all honesty, that's how I felt as well initially. She did a much better job of explaining it during our 15 minute conversation than I did in a two-sentence summary on the internet, obviously, but it was more of a "This is not something that should be overlooked, more like it's something to take into consideration and possibly even celebrated when getting to know someone or figuring out how I can reach them as a teacher."

I see what you mean as "positive" racism, if that can even be coined, but it's an important part of who we are. I say "we" because for the most part, we ALL have a culture that made us part of who we are, and we shouldn't gloss over it. When I grew up in Japan, I gained a deep and abiding love for their sense of family, honor, and loyalty. It made a huge impact on me and how I view things, but I'm not Asian. I grew up in a military town in North Carolina, and a large portion of my class were African American kids, simply because we were in that area of the south, yet I'm not African American. I went to middle school in south Texas, where the population was predominately Mexican American, but I am not of that heritage, either.

I guess if I were to try and cram all of these meandering posts into a nutshell, differences should be embraced and celebrated, not ignored. If I say "I choose to see you as a person of color, with experiences, culture, and backgrounds vastly different from mine, let's get to know each other!" we have a much better chance of a true understanding and connection than if I say, "I see you as a person, just like me, just like them over there, and just like those people over there."
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Kraken » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:45 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:22 pm
I respond to accents through speech mirroring. I have noticed it around people with 'urban' speech patterns, southern speech patterns, etc.

It's not a conscious decision, but in my case, it is mirroring rather than a response to a perceived group dynamic. But that strikes me as different than what Jeff's example is discussing.
Yeah, I do that to some extent. My dad was a southerner, I grew up in Michigan, and I've lived most of my life in or near New England. So I slip into any of those dialects effortlessly and unconsciously, depending on who I'm with. Especially if we're drinking. I'm not aware that I ever adopt any other accents, though.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Jeff V » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:16 pm

Hyena wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:30 pm
I guess if I were to try and cram all of these meandering posts into a nutshell, differences should be embraced and celebrated, not ignored. If I say "I choose to see you as a person of color, with experiences, culture, and backgrounds vastly different from mine, let's get to know each other!" we have a much better chance of a true understanding and connection than if I say, "I see you as a person, just like me, just like them over there, and just like those people over there."
Try celebrating "whiteness" and see where that gets you. :wink: That's where this kind of goes off the rails for me. It doesn't mean I have no interest in cultures (I do!) or wish to discount the challenges of race in an unfair world (I don't!) but neither precludes me from treating a given person just I like I treat most other people - with the same countenance and respect. In most situations, there is no reason at all to be discussing a person's race, culture, orientation, gender. When there is (say when joining them at an ethnic restaurant for example) I would flatter them with genuine interest regarding their culture, but for every day interaction, it's not something I'd likely bring up.

This might have something to do with managing diverse staffs over the years. Cultural sensitivity is a must, but also you are expected to treat everyone the same. And I do appreciate learning idiosyncrasies of certain cultures. Once, after starting a new job a Chinese minion came to me and asked me to not be offended if he doesn't look me in the eye when talking to me. He said his father would smack him if he dared look a superior or elder in the eyes, and he would usually and conspicuously look down and to the side when talking to me. I thanked him for telling me, assured him it was unnecessary as I don't consider myself a "superior" but I accepted this was a cultural thing and that was the only time we spoke of it.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:22 pm

Isgrimnur wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:22 pm
I respond to accents through speech mirroring. I have noticed it around people with 'urban' speech patterns, southern speech patterns, etc.

It's not a conscious decision, but in my case, it is mirroring rather than a response to a perceived group dynamic. But that strikes me as different than what Jeff's example is discussing.
Of course, and I've experienced it as well. I once spent a week in Florida as a 15 year old, where I was mostly left to my own devices. I found an outdoor basketball court and played there nearly every day. The first few days I was alone, but by the end we had enough to for 3 teams. Before I went home I spoke fluent Florida.

That said, I can't imagine anyone starting to mirror someone's speech patterns when meeting them for a drink. Being immersed in a group for days vs. a short visit with an individual in a neutral environment (i.e. it wasn't in the middle of Texas or something) is a different thing, I think.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:24 pm

Kraken wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:45 pm
Yeah, I do that to some extent. My dad was a southerner, I grew up in Michigan, and I've lived most of my life in or near New England. So I slip into any of those dialects effortlessly and unconsciously, depending on who I'm with. Especially if we're drinking. I'm not aware that I ever adopt any other accents, though.
That's hardly an affectation then, is it?

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by GreenGoo » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:31 pm

edit: I realize I don't have enough information. Even Hyena has said that he may not be conveying everything so that we understand properly. I'll leave my posts up, but I understand my posts are based on limited info and incomplete understanding.
Jeff V wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:16 pm
When there is (say when joining them at an ethnic restaurant for example) I would flatter them with genuine interest regarding their culture, but for every day interaction, it's not something I'd likely bring up.
I started to touch on this. Valuing someone as an individual with unique traits and experiences is hard to do unless you get to know them, and those details are often irrelevant for the relationship you have with that individual anyway, but even if they are relevant, the world (even a small one like mine) is a big place filled with people. I think it's a noble goal to get to know everyone you interact with on this kind of level, but I also think it's impossible unless you make it your life's work.

I can't help but feel that this comes across a little like "why isn't everyone treating me like the unique snowflake I am? Is it because of racism?". I get that it's not, but I think you have to be a little insecure to take exception to someone you just met not expressing appreciation for the qualities that you feel warrant it. You just met them for God's sake. Sure, you're black, that much is obvious. What that means to you personally is a complete mystery until you participate in a "getting to know each other" kind of way. Which it sort of sounds like Hyena did, although Hyena's writing makes it sound like he was lectured to instead of participated in.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Jeff V » Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:50 pm

ImLawBoy wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 2:33 pm

The use of the term "colorblind" can also be a coded way to say one opposes things like affirmative action, so I can see why the woman might have responded like she did. Regardless, Hyena appears to have taken her response not as an attack or chastisement. He says it was important to him and has changed how he interacts with people and how he teaches (for the better, presumably ;) ). That's another indication that her response was probably a good thing.
In a truly colorblind world, there is no need for affirmative action (and indeed it's one of the major criticisms levied against it). While affirmative action has a noble goal, in practice it doesn't always work so well. A few years ago, I was compelled to make a "diversity" hire when one candidate checked several boxes that, admittedly, needed checking. While all of the applicants were qualified, two others were decidedly more qualified but not hired.

One impact of the management reorg that is effective on Monday is that my staff will be homogeneous - no diversity at all. With an average tenure exceeding 20 years, this is not likely to change anytime soon.

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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Paingod » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:10 am

Jeff V wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:50 pm
In a truly colorblind world, there is no need for affirmative action (and indeed it's one of the major criticisms levied against it). While affirmative action has a noble goal, in practice it doesn't always work so well. A few years ago, I was compelled to make a "diversity" hire when one candidate checked several boxes that, admittedly, needed checking. While all of the applicants were qualified, two others were decidedly more qualified but not hired.
Affirmative Action is one of those areas where I end up using the term "positive racism" - pushing too hard over the line and turning racism inside out is still a form of racism. I'd much prefer to live in a world where none of it was needed - but I do get that there are a lot of a##holes out there (on both sides) that require us to have rules in place to force them to try and play fairly to all.

Maybe in another hundred years we won't need any of it.
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Re: "They were raised to be ‘colorblind’ — but now more white parents are learning to talk about race"

Post by Jeff V » Tue Mar 26, 2019 9:29 am

Paingod wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:10 am
Jeff V wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 4:50 pm
In a truly colorblind world, there is no need for affirmative action (and indeed it's one of the major criticisms levied against it). While affirmative action has a noble goal, in practice it doesn't always work so well. A few years ago, I was compelled to make a "diversity" hire when one candidate checked several boxes that, admittedly, needed checking. While all of the applicants were qualified, two others were decidedly more qualified but not hired.
Affirmative Action is one of those areas where I end up using the term "positive racism" - pushing too hard over the line and turning racism inside out is still a form of racism. I'd much prefer to live in a world where none of it was needed - but I do get that there are a lot of a##holes out there (on both sides) that require us to have rules in place to force them to try and play fairly to all.

Maybe in another hundred years we won't need any of it.
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