Why Do We Still See Color?

A couple days ago, my wife and one of our new neighbors had a race dialogue, during a play date.  Our kids are around the same age, and when we first moved into the neighbor, this neighbor and her kids came by and welcomed us.

Our new neighbor is white, so is her husband.  She told my wife that her son’s best friend– where they lived before moving–was black.

I found it interesting that this new neighbor of ours (by the way, our families also attend the same church) thought it necessary to explain that her son’s best friend was black.

While I appreciate this knowledge, why the need to share this with my wife?

It is because we live in a nation where many of us continue to view people along color lines.  By color lines, I mean the typical stereotypes that go with them.

Yes, we have come a long way–but if the the exchange between my wife and our new neighbor is any kind of indicator–we still have a long way to go.

Why? Because we continue to see color.  We are not there yet…

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18 Responses to Why Do We Still See Color?

  1. David Beirne says:

    There’s hope. I do the chapel for our weekday pre-school. Our focus this past week was Good Samaritan. To illustrate how though the the Samaritan was different racially but still helped, I stood up three children–blonde white girl, hispanic boy, and black boy. I asked, “how is each one different?” Responses were hair, height, gender, clothes; but never complexion. I was going to point that out and stopped myself; if they weren’t noticing, why should I point it out?

    • Jon Hughes says:

      David,

      I agree that the comment to TC’s wife was unfortunate (although no doubt well intended), but have no problem with people pointing out skin color to describe a person in the same way that they might point out height, build, hair color, age, etc. It would be ridiculous if children were afraid to do so for whatever reason.

  2. David Beirne says:

    I don’t think they were afraid, it just didn’t register with them. White folks are a minority here and it in a way surprised me that skin color wasn’t a difference that jumped out at them. These were 3-4 yr olds.

  3. TC says:

    David,

    Thanks for sharing. I’m really encouraged by that sort of thing.

    Jon,

    Yes, a bit unfortunate, though I believe our new neighbor meant well. Personally, I would have rather it left unsaid and just have fun. 😉

  4. Mike Gantt says:

    I agree that we should be no more afraid to identify someone by skin color than we are by eye color, hair color, height, weight, or so on.

    On the other hand, I look forward to the day when no form I am asked to fill out (whether for government or any other organization) asks me about my race.

  5. I don’t have a problem seeing color. God gave us these different skin types full of color. It is beautiful in His eyes and mine. While I see where you are going with this, I don’t have a problem seeing that a person has different skin type than mine or my children (I am white). God made us all in His image and we must look at each other from that view point. The problem with the world is that they don’t. They look through the lenses of evolution and can not see the beauty of our skins.

  6. Lon says:

    May I offer another possibility? It’s some white people’s way of saying, “I’m not a racist. I don’t want to be seen as racist. Please don’t type-cast me. I’m open to inter-racial friendships.”

    Granted, it’s not the smoothest way to get that message across, but sometimes it’s the best a person can do.

    • Mike Gantt says:

      Americans today would almost rather be called any name in the book rather than “racist.” As a result, they will go to painful extremes to avoid ever being on the receiving end of that label. On the one hand, you wish they weren’t so fearful of the opinions of men. On the other, you have to admit that once someone’s been tagged as a “racist,” it’s almost impossible to for them to get that stain removed. That’s why Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have such lucrative businesses – they’re “stain removers” – for the right price.

    • TC says:

      Lon, our neighbor meant well. But it is as if we need to learn how to express ourselves. These matters are often so complex and delicate to work through.

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