Please Put Aside Your 'Blindness'

Aug 31, 2016

I cringe when I hear people say, “I’m colorblind” or “I don’t see color.”

While I believe this statement is made with a pure heart, it devalues what makes us unique. Recognizing someone as gay, Muslim, a woman, or African-American doesn’t make one homophobic, Islamophobic, sexist, or a racist.

Those “-isms” become reality when used to discriminate or oppress, or when you elevate yourself to a position of supremacy simply because your religion, sex, or race, or sexual orientation is different.

Hilary Clinton is a presidential candidate, but I can’t ignore the fact she is a woman -- thus acknowledging the importance of her candidacy, knowing the struggle of women as it pertains to voting rights and equal pay in this country.

Yes, Simone Manuel won Olympic Gold swimming the 100-meter freestyle, but we don’t ignore the fact she is African-American. The significance is steeped in the fact that, at one time in America, the Jim Crow south would rather close their public pools than integrate them.

Yes, I see your faith, sex, and skin color -- but I don’t use those qualities to judge you. It’s an opportunity to grow, learn, empathize, appreciate, and understand your struggle. A chance to reduce my ignorance and expand my horizons by engaging in a different culture.

It’s an honor to have Jewish friends who have taught me about Passover and Muslim friends who have taught me about Ramadan. Please see me as a Christian African-American man. Attempt to understand my plight, faith, and stereotypes I have to deal with.

Seeing people for who they are will enhance our relationships and stretch our comfort zones.

I’m Joe Mitchell, and this is my perspective