Is color-blind a word?


Can you really say, “I don’t even notice race!” Pursuit of Harpyness wants to know.

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16 responses to “Is color-blind a word?

  1. Ah, the old “I don’t notice color” dilemma! I once had a seminar class in college (I was an adult student) and it was co-taught by two African-American professors. It was an American Studies class so we focused on the holy trinity of that discipline, race, class and gender. Finally one of them asked the question..We were an all white class and he asked if we found ourselves crafting our questions and responses differently because he and his colleague were black.

    I answered, yes. I told him that I tried harder to be careful in my choice of words so that it would be clear that I was not a racist. I parsed words in ways I might not have been concious of it if they were white. I consider myself to not be racist but I grew up in a white suburb and never once thought about race until I was an adult. I try too hard sometime and that can likely be as offensive as not trying.

    • I finally, at age 51, live in a diverse neighborhood. I’m making full use of it, but I know precisely what you mean. It’s almost like you say, “Hi, I’m DJ and I’m not a racist!” And THAT’s ignit.

  2. I notice color, I notice EVERYthing. I notice skin-color and clothing-shape and jewelry-use and dyed hair and bone structure and all the stuff that is to be seen. I notice tree-shapes and flower-height and car condition and water movement and whether a fence is wood or plastic or metal. I don’t think anyone can honestly say they don’t “notice” or “see” color.

    I think some people can say “skin-color doesn’t matter to me,” and if that’s true, there’s the victory.

    • That’s exactly how I am too. The same goes for accents too.

      And I’m not saying I do it right all the time – but I aim both respect and appreciate the differences between us.

      • Maybe “notice” isn’t the right word. Maybe “act on” is. Thanks to both of youse.

      • Mario Saccoccio

        First, I look at the purse. Wait. Sorry, that’s a J. Geils tune.
        I too, see everything. But women are the best at noticing everything and then some.
        If you “see” someone’s skin color, aren’t you pre-judging?

        • I wonder that, myself. But then, it’s silly to think you won’t notice.

        • “If you “see” someone’s skin color, aren’t you pre-judging?”

          If that color bothers you, sure. But again, we see whether the sky’s blue or grey and if the grass is green or brown and whether the light is red or green. Of course I’m being very literal here — seeing isn’t pre-judging, pre-judging is pre-judging. There was a cartoon a few years back that showed two adult males and two male children (probably fathers and sons), looking at each other. One father and son were white, one father and son were black. The cartoon then showed, in a “bubble,” how all were seeing each other. The adults’ bubbles showed stereotypical assumptions about each other, and the kids’ bubbles just showed……. kids.

    • TV Guide had an interview with Norman Lear (remember him?) and he said he was really working toward not noticing any color at all. I found that admirable and impossible.

      • As you say, “notice” is probably the wrong word. If Lear doesn’t “notice” color, he’d better get his eyes checked. What else Might he not notice: the quality of the camera-work? The condition of the sets? Whether the costumer understands the character?

    • I’m reminded of the rooftop scene in “Desk Set.” Richard Sumner, Spencer Tracy’s character, is asking Bunny Watson, Katherine Hepburn’s character, a series of questions–some sort of intelligence test, we are to believe. The first question is, “What’s the first thing you notice when you meet someone or the first time?” “Why, whether they’re male or female,” she replies. I’d have to say that gender and skin color are in a close tie in my mind, followed a nanosecond later by hair color, eye color, height, weight, age, etc., etc., etc.

      We all surely “notice” skin color. Having been raised in Texas–completely against my will–I know that there are assumptions that go along with that that were implanted long before I was even conscious of them. The best I can do is to be aware of them and consciously work to not act on them.

  3. Exactly! Of course we see, it’s what we do with what we see that matters.

  4. “I notice color, I notice EVERYthing. I notice skin-color and clothing-shape and jewelry-use and dyed hair and bone structure and all the stuff that is to be seen. I notice tree-shapes and flower-height and car condition and water movement and whether a fence is wood or plastic or metal. I don’t think anyone can honestly say they don’t “notice” or “see” color.”

    “Exactly! Of course we see, it’s what we do with what we see that matters.”

    Right on–the thing is–do we treat someone differently because of their color.

    • I’m trying to think of what kind of person I’d be if I didn’t do that, treat people differently based on color.

  5. I saw this elsewhere and agreed: “I want you to see my skin color — I don’t want you to judge me because of it.”

    Makes sense to me.

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