Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I'm intrigued and a little dismayed by a concept that runs rampant through our culture and even through the church. I understand that the secular culture in general might find it a useful idea since they are reduced to depending on human nature and nothing else, but what dismays me is that the church, who should be the receptacle and shining example of true love, also espouses it as the way to go.

The concept? Colorblindness. I suspect that it comes from our culture's tendency to try to create equality by making everything the "same". We've tried to do it with gender as well. The problem is I don't think it works very well. Equality isn't intrinsically the same as sameness - you can be equals and still be very, very different. In regards to colorblindness, the idea as I understand it is that all races and skin colors and ultimately cultures are the same, that we shouldn't see somebody's skin being darker and treat them any differently (i.e. worse or better) than somebody who's skin is lighter, or the same as our own. It's a nice idea, and certainly true as far as it goes. I think, however, that this is only a stopgap measure, and in the end is just as disrespectful as prejudice, if not more so. It denies the uniqueness that rightfully belongs to each one of us, and which is comprised of our culture and gender and the color of our skin and eyes and hair, every little component that goes into making us who we are. In the end, when taken to its logical conclusion, it denies the intrinsic worth of each person just as much as racism does.

So what is the alternative? Love. Stay with me here. You see, love isn't colorblind. Far from it. Love sees everything about you more clearly than anything else. The color of your skin, your cultural heritage, your gender, your accent, the way you walk, your body type, everything. It sees everything that goes together to make you you, and it celebrates it. And it does that for each individual, ascribing to them the worth that is uniquely theirs. It sees each person for who they are and judges them only against themselves. Love also finds ways for people who are very different from each other to come together, to respect each other, to live in peace with each other. In fact, it also celebrates those differences between people, celebrates the fact that not everybody is the same, and that this is in fact a good thing.

In biology or medicine to have eyes that are colorblind is considered a defect; it means that your eyes are not working properly and you are not able to distinguish between colors. I would suggest that similarly, in human relationships and culture, colorblindness is also a defect, not something to strive for. It denies the uniquness and worth that each human has, reduces us to an indistinguishable sameness, and keeps us from seeing and enjoying the differences that make us who we are. Rather we should be clearly seeing all of the different colors and cultures, the differences between genders, and appreciating them for the richness they bring into our lives.

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