Should we teach kids to be colorblind?

You’ll probably remember this quote from Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech; one of his dreams was this:

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

This seems outmoded now that skin color seems to be the proxy for everything, including viewpoints, degree of oppression or privilege, and so on. In fact, sometimes it seems—especially to regressive Leftists—that people should be judged on the color of their skin. And that’s what this latest piece by Doyin Richards in (Ceiling Cat help me) HuffPo seems to say. (Click on the screenshot).

My first thought was “Yes, of course: everyone should be treated the same.” But then I remembered that many people (and colleges) consider the statement, “I don’t see color” to be an actual microaggression. Such a view presumes that you not only should see color, but that it’s offensive if you don’t, and that you need to be constantly aware of ethnicity, for to be unaware means that you’re not woke and may even be lapsing into bigotry.

Well, sometimes it’s useful to recognize race, as when you’re describing somebody to someone who hasn’t met them, but look at this question and how Richards answered it. (I gave just the first bit.)

My 4-year-old son, who is white, recently started describing some of his friends by their skin color. For example, yesterday he said he played on the swings with “his black friend Andre” at preschool. Shouldn’t he just say that he’s playing with his friend Andre? How do I start this discussion with him?

[Richards’s answer]: This may surprise you, but I have no problem with your son’s labels whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I’ll go as far as to say that your son is on the road to enlightenment (or he’s becoming woke, as the kids say nowadays).

Some white parents get shook when race is brought up and try to change the subject as quickly as possible. But we should talk about race. Kids should be taught to recognize differences ― even if it means calling them out in the beginning.

Your son is in preschool, so you can’t expect him to understand the many nuances of race that, quite frankly, many fully grown-ass adults remain clueless about. As he grows older, your son will stop labeling his friends this way and will become more aware of the unique experiences black kids go through. He’ll learn to empathize with them. And because of that, I’m confident he’ll grow up to be a good human who gets it ― and we need more of those white men in America.

Personally, I’m more worried about the parents who think it’s a good idea to raise their kids to be colorblind and not see race. Those kids are the ones who grow up to post #AllLivesMatter nonsense on Twitter and who question why Megyn Kelly was fired from NBC for her blackface comments. If everyone is viewed as exactly the same, then any cries of racism are dismissed as overblown, we’re told that discrimination never happens, and we hear ridiculous false equivalency stories about how a white kid was a victim of racism that one time a black kid made fun of him.

Here’s the important part of all of this: Your son and Andre are different, but they’re still buddies — and that’s the way it should be.

I agree with Richards that kids of all races should have a talk about race with their parents. But constant labeling is a different issue. Richards, it appears, wants kids to be labeled with their race from the outset. Such a viewpoint can only come from identity politics, and not of the good type. When I hear somebody say “My black friend James,” or “I had lunch with this black woman,” and the racial designation serves no purpose and adds no information to the conversation, then I think that it’s been thrown in for reasons that are not useful: to show how virtuous one is, as a form of subtle bigotry, or so on.

Richards is making a mistake by asking kids to be aware of racial labels from the outset and to add them to descriptions of people. He’s further mistaken in thinking that doing this will in fact reduce racism and that using those labels will disappear as kids age. What is the evidence for these claims? What’s the evidence that “colorblind” kids grow up to be racists, as Richards implies? And isn’t it invidious to say that the experience of all black kids is homogeneous, that there are “unique experiences black kids go through”? What are those experiences, exactly? (I suspect he means racism, but to imply that skin color is a marker for homogeneity of experiences is simply wrong.)

The key to Richards’s identity politics is this sentence:

If everyone is viewed as exactly the same, then any cries of racism are dismissed as overblown, we’re told that discrimination never happens, and we hear ridiculous false equivalency stories about how a white kid was a victim of racism that one time a black kid made fun of him.

No, that’s not the way it works. You can be aware of racial discrimination, and try to ensure that all people are treated equally, without labeling people every time you see them, or being conscious of their race. It seems to me that skin color or other markers of race (note that race is still seen to be a social construct, which I reject) needs to be perceived in the aggregate—in the recognition that there is discrimination against individuals based on their shared physical (and perceived behavioral) characteristics with a group.

Beyond that, what is gained by telling your dad that you’re playing with your black friend, and constantly being aware of race? That kind of mindset will never get rid of racism, for it will never allow people to ignore race. And yet ignoring race, when races have achieved parity of opportunity, is what we want to happen.

But maybe you disagree. Here’s a poll on this article:

I bet I know how Martin Luther King would vote.

 

103 Comments

  1. Posted October 31, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    If it were my child, I would tell them about race as it is a fact of current society we can’t ignore. We should always tell kids the truth. I would also tell them to act as if they were color blind in ways that matter. I definitely wouldn’t try to put them on a path to wokeness. In fact, I would ask them to tell Dad if someone tries to do so. That would be child abuse!

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      I’d probably ask him why he always describes his friend as “my black friend….”. Maybe he has two friends with the same name and one is black and one is white so that’s how he distinguishes them. If not, then that’s a good discussion about why he’s labelling him.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      I would be asking the question about describing someone as a black friend too. It would worry me if a niece/nephew was describing friends by their race. My youngest sister had two friends with the same name at kindergarten (50 years ago) and she described them as big Christine and little Christine because of their height. One was Maori and one was of European descent (we don’t use colour words to describe people and never have historically either afaik).

      And I also agree you can start the racism conversation that young if you need to. You do have to be honest, as you say, and kids do understand. It’s just a matter of putting it a way they understand.

      It’s good if they’re getting the same message consistently from adults they trust too. My other sister, whose son I looked after a lot, was very pleased that when she answered a question about such things he always said, “that’s what Aunty Heather said,” and that he also said to me in the same situation, “that’s what Mum said.”

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted October 31, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        You’re comment about “that’s what mum said” made me think of Taika Waititi’s racism video, that I think is very clever, because of the best line: “shut up mum!”

        ideo here I’d I don’t mess up the HTML on my iPad.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted October 31, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          Nope. I hope this doesn’t embed. https://youtu.be/g9n_UPyVR5s

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          I got a 404 message unfortunately.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

          Blame the feet and the migraine both messing with you on the same say!

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

            I think my iPad reformat the quotes. Michael Fisher found it before. I pasted the link in reply to my original message.

            And yes the migraine and feet are a mess.

            • rickflick
              Posted October 31, 2018 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

              My thoughts and prayers are with you Diana. 😎

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted October 31, 2018 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

                Haha. For the foot or iPad or migraine?

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I find white people in general are uncomfortable identifying anyone by race even when it’s completely needed as in, “Have you seen my tall friend? He’s Chinese”. It really helps to know that your friend is Chinese and not Caucasian when you describe your friend but sometimes white people find this unsettling because they’ve been taught to pretend they don’t see colour. Other ethnic groups have no problem with this. We all see race for goodness sake! My Indian friend and I surely unsettled a lot of white people when we described ourselves as “the brown girl and the white girl”. If I met her at a restaurant and the hostess asked me to describe my friend I’d say “she’s Indian”. Otherwise, she could look for some white woman and we’d never find her or she’d try to seat me with some white woman I don’t know because she assumed I, the white woman, had another white woman friend.

    A Canadian comedian, who is Indian by ethnicity, Russell Peters, does a whole bit about how white people don’t like to describe other ethnicities. IIRC, he tells the story of a white friend coming to his house and asking him if they saw a guy and describes him without mentioning his ethnicity. Peters says “Oh a Chinese guy?” and the white person is uneasy because he didn’t want to describe him as Chinese.

    • Rita
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      +1

      Young kids do see color, and I think teaching them to pretend they don’t see color would carry the message that there is something wrong with being black or brown, so it cannot be mentioned.

    • darrelle
      Posted November 1, 2018 at 6:13 am | Permalink

      +2

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 1, 2018 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      Here is the bit I mention by comedian Russell Peters.

      • Diane G
        Posted November 1, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        That’s really good!

  3. Teresa Carson
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I instinctively felt there was something wrong with the Dad’s question. In my experience, 4-year-olds do not generally identify other children by their skin color, just as they don’t identify them by their hair color. I suggest that someone has told that child his friend is black. If a 4-year-old were asked to describe his friend’s skin color, he would use the actual color, which is more likely to be a shade of brown. At age 4, children need to know that they should respect everyone and that people come in different colors. Having said that, I realize that sometimes parents of very young children are forced to get into a different discussion when their children hear other children speaking in derogatory terms about people of color. I believe that children are instinctively not racist and that racism is learned behavior. Ultimately, parent do need to talk to their kids about race and racism, but age 4 seems a bit young to me.

    • Kelly
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

      That’s my experience too. My children never described their friends by their color. They would say things like, “my friend who likes Lego” or “my friend who walks home with me”. Usually some trait they found salient, but color was never a trait my kids mentioned.

      • Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        Is it possible that they already learned that one shouldn’t refer to their friends’ color?

        • Rita
          Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          I think you’re onto something there, Paul. I remember a Facebook discussion where a parent of a very young child had two dolls, and the child named them Blackie and Whitey, based on their appearance. The parent was upset by that, and the majority responses were that the child should be taught not to refer to skin color.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      I agree. My two eldest grandchildren (7 and 5) go to a school with a fair number of kids of different ethnic backgrounds and skin colours. I have never once heard either of them refer to any school friend by their colour. They all just get on. It takes an adult to tell them that they ought to be bothered about it.

  4. Starr
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    When it comes to color-blindness, my thinking is as follows:

    It is an ideal meant to be striven for, not something that can ever necessarily exist by default. Racial markers are simply the most obvious way to distinguish groups of people, and you’ll never end up with a generation of children who that doesn’t end up grouping people that way, even if adults have implicitly agreed never to mention it.

    Thus I don’t know that you can be “unconsciously” color-blind except by forming a habit-of-thought from the conscious effort of trying not to treat people of different races, differently. Furthermore that is something that you then need to teach each generation. Just as abstract mathematics would go away in a generation if we didn’t bother to train our kids in mathematics, color-blindness would go away in a generation if we did’t bother to train our kids in it.

    I think this is where people like Richards have become confused. In order for the above to work there does have to be a consciousness of race, and those advocating “color-blindness” may seem to be rejecting that. He then goes to the opposite extreme, placing too much emphasis on race, and rejecting even the idea of color-blind treatment, after realizing color-blind thought is impossible.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I’ve heard people say “children are born colorblind and are taught to see color”. Of course, this is BS. Perhaps they don’t have the racist baggage (yet?) that is associated with certain races, but to say they are naturally color blind hearkens back to the “Noble Savage” fallacy.

    Personally, I think it’s fine to describe people by their race. Sometimes I gloss over particulars. I’ll say “Asian” as sometimes I can’t tell the exact Asian race someone belongs too, or Latino/Latina for Mexican, Central American, Puerto Rican people, etc. Facts are facts, after all. And I don’t know why anyone would be offended by someone referring to them by their race; as long as the reference word isn’t derogatory or racist.

    • Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say color-apathetic? No one is really talking about true color blindness. It’s the racial baggage that they’re talking about. Sometimes words can lead us astray.

      • Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        Indifference to color is the ideal, but ‘color-blindness’ unfortunately is more catchy.

      • Mark R.
        Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        Yeah…and after reading a lot of the posts here, I have to start not commenting on posts about kids since I don’t have any and have little exposure to kids. What do I know?

        • Posted November 1, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

          On the other hand, we were all kids once. I think parents often lose perspective as they understandably find it hard to distance themselves from their own experience and children.

  6. Posted October 31, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I just don’t think it’s a big deal if someone says they don’t pay attention to race, because I feel like you shouldn’t . And I don’t see that as a bad thing . And just because you notice someone’s skin color doesn’t necessarily mean you’re becoming “woke”. It just means you have eyes lol. Saying you don’t notice race or pay attention to it doesn’t mean you’re ignoring any problems poc have, it just means that’s not how you define a person. I don’t define people by race and never have, and it’s definitely not the first thing I think about when I meet someone.

  7. ladyatheist
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Referring to skin color should be the equivalent of referring to hair or eye color.

    You can only pretend to be “colorblind.” Unless you are literally blind, you will see differences in skin, hair, and eye color.

    I don’t think what you say to a 4-year-old should be all that’s ever said to that child. Children & parents should have age-appropriate discussions about all difficult aspects of life and society throughout their childhood and beyond.

    You can’t tell a child “Don’t see color.” You should tell a child “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” There are many “covers” and skin color is just one of them.

  8. Posted October 31, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Upon meeting any person whom one has never met before, observation and evaluation of differences and similarities to oneself is a given. Skin color, disabilities, physical “beauty” or “ugliness”, thought processing,
    speech patterns, education, etc. The more one gets to know the other unique individual human being, the less the focus is on differences and more so on similarities.

    “They’ve got to be carefully taught”.

    Until they are taught, kids often remark on
    these differences based on what they’ve learned at home and in their culture. My parents, grew up in a racist time and place where whites and blacks lived in separate towns. Back then, whites and blacks didn’t mix or socialize. And, it was illegal for whites and blacks to marry. My brother, as a toddler, embarrassed my mother on a bus, when he loudly asked a black mother where she got that little “nigger” baby.

    I would like to believe that I am not racist. and tried to instill that in my children. When my children were growing up we lived in metropolitan areas with much diversity. Our friends and acquaintances reflected that. We talked with our children about these differences and similarities.

    My mixed race grandson in school had a large and diverse group of friends. Some of the white ones told racist jokes. If you are mixed race and a mixture of black and white, how does one deal with that? You educate your friends and make clear that racist humor is not acceptable to you. None of my kids (or their parents or their kids)tolerate racist jokes and make that clear.

    They don’t “all look the same”. Neither does any other racial group. We can’t avoid being aware of differences, but need to grow to acknowledge more the ways in which we are the same.

  9. phil brown
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think Richards is saying that kids, or anyone else, should be taught to constantly label people by their skin colour. In fact, he says, approvingly, “As he grows older, your son will stop labeling his friends this way”. His main point seems to be that people should be aware of the differing experiences of different races, whereas claims to “colourblindness” are often made by those who want to ignore those different experiences.

    • Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      He says “kids should be taught. . . .”
      That’s what the man said.

      • phil brown
        Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        He says “Kids should be taught to recognize differences”, i.e. different experiences (which becomes clear in what follows).

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      “I don’t see race” is a trope among certain rightwingers who wish to claim a complete lack of bias while remaining oblivious (or pretending to be oblivious) to the centuries-long role race has played in American society. It’s such an obvious trope that it was played for laughs by Stephen Colbert on his old Comedy Central show in his role as a Bill O’Reilly-manqué character (Bill O’Reilly being just the type of rightwing blowhard who would spout such a claim).

      One’s race is an obvious and salient trait — a trait it’s impossible for Americans not to take stock of immediately when interacting with each other. That’s not to say — by any means — that it should be anyone’s defining characteristic, and there is great variability in its import, if any, in a given situation. But it affects how we perceive and interact with each other, in ways both subtle and not. And a general awareness of those social implications, and their historical antecedents, is salubrious information to pass along to one’s progeny.

      • Posted October 31, 2018 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        Yeah. I hear you but undue attention to “social implications, and their historical antecedents” can help perpetuate the problem.

    • Deodand
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      The problem is when they get to University is that they get taught that skin colour IS the most important thing.

      It determines ones place on the hierarchy of shame. And in any case as ‘everyone knows’ racism is an inherent trait linked to the ‘white gene’ in the same way that ‘everyone knows’ that violence is an inherent trait linked to the ‘black gene’. (Just to make it quite clear I think the whole notion of inherent racial characteristics is wrong.)

  10. Julian C
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Forty or so I years ago I asked my then- 4 years old daughter what her friend (name long forgotten) was like. Reply: “she’s nice”. Not helpful in picking out the child in the playground — but nice to realize that my daughter thought of what mattered.

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    To paraphrase the Book of Ecclesiastes (and Pete Seeger):

    “A time for color-blindness, a time to refrain from color-blindness”

  12. Michael Scullin
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    People so not need to be “taught about race” because they pick it up all on their own. All people are extremely sensitive to dialects (Chicago has how many ?) and skin color just makes it all the easier to determine who is us and who is them. Marvin Harris, a well known anthropologist, noted that brazilians had 24 words for skin color. His conclusion was that Brazilians were therefore not sensitive about skin color. I an obscure anthropologist, would be far more inclined to conclude that they are extremely sensitive. Louis Armstrong sang a song ,”If you’re black, get back. If you’re brown, stick around. If you’re white, you’re all right.” Pretty well sums up a great deal of prejudice.

    • Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Yes, they will learn about race but not necessarily good things. In the parent-child relationship, I think it is more about making sure they hear the RIGHT things about race.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      “Marvin Harris, a well known anthropologist, noted that brazilians had 24 words for skin color. His conclusion was that Brazilians were therefore not sensitive about skin color. I an obscure anthropologist, would be far more inclined to conclude that they are extremely sensitive.”

      I would agree with Harris, if ‘sensitive’ is being used in a discriminatory sense. 24 is far too many groups to effectively discriminate. “We believe that God made [groups 1-7, 12 and 17] to be superior to all others” doesn’t really have a ring to it, does it? I would think that habitual discrimination on that basis would lead to a very few – just two or three – descriptors being used.

      This is not to say that Brazilians might not use some other characteristic for discrimination, I don’t know.

      cr

      • Michael Scullin
        Posted October 31, 2018 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        The tendency is to marry “lighter” and this is a tendency in many places where more than one shade of skin is found. Having multiple descriptors is usually a pretty strong indicator of the importance of having multiple words to describe a phenomenon. Walking across a campus or downtown one tends to categorize people by a variety of different elements. Big grocery stores are always a good place to find out how much categorizing a person does. And accents are so characteristic of a region or even a borough that they always turn on a discriminatory part of the brain.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted October 31, 2018 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

          I’m in agreement that people do instinctively categorize things (and other people).

          cr

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 31, 2018 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

        On reflection, though, I’m not sure I’d care to defend either position, without a lot more information. I jumped into print too quickly.

        cr

  13. Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    I agree that small children will recognize different colors and races on their on, and form their own opinions about those people on their own without being taught how to think, or worse, told how they should think by their parents. We don’t like to admit how little control we have over what our children think.

    Correcting the child when he refers to his fried as his black friend is the wrong thing to do. Telling him to refer to his friend who is black as his black friend as Richards suggests would also be wrong.

    The kid knows his friend is black. He also knows the boy is his friend. That speaks for itself and no parental interference eith hhus friendship is needed or warranted.

  14. Merilee
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  15. Curiouscraig
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    He seems to have it precisely backwards, the only way to correctly identify racism is to have a standard of equal treatment, that way racism can be singled out as an aberration from the colour-blind norm.

  16. Posted October 31, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Richards is setting up a false dichotomy. Why? Because color-blindness is not an option. Kids are going to notice differences, whether of skin color, size, or behavior, and until they are taught otherwise are going to asks questions and/or want to talk about the differences. So the real choice is not between being aware of the differences or not being aware of the differences, but between being aware of the differences and being allowed to talk about them and being aware of the differences and not being allowed to talk about them. In other words, not color-blindness, but color-muteness.

    Given that choice, I would say that, yes, kids should be allowed to talk about the differences that they are already aware of—short, that is, of taunting others about those differences. I haven’t read all the comments, so my apologies if someone has already made this point.

    • Posted November 1, 2018 at 5:12 am | Permalink

      I think that kids should be able to talk about anything and everything with family in the home. We told our children that they could talk to us about anything and ask any questions. If we didn’t know the answers, we’d find out for them.

      We also taught our children that they could use any vocabulary words they knew, but to be conscious of group sensitivities. If they chose to use language that offended the group, they were aware that there could be consequences to accept. It was their choice. They also were aware that different groups have different speech patterns within the group. One can choose to adapt the group language within the group, or not, as one decides.

      As an aside: my daughter just introduced me tonight to a Hasidic Jewish rapper, Matisyaher. If you haven’t, listen to his song “One Day”.

  17. rickflick
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    When my daughter was just over a year old, we were hiking in a park. I carried here on my back for a while and ahead of us was a black family and the mom was holding a her infant child on her back. My daughter, in complete innocence, but to our great amusement, called out “chocolate baby”. She was young enough that it was clear she was simply working within the bounds of her simple vocabulary.

  18. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    I voted “Don’t care”, not because I don’t, but because both approaches are wrong, IMO. Or should I say, both approaches have downsides.

    Teaching kids about race or gender so that the perpetually offended can guilt-trip the chosen oppressors-of-the-week is BS, in my opinion.

    OTOH, trying to pretend that race/colour doesn’t exist when children’s own inbuilt tendency to group things into categories quite obviously tells them there are differences – is unrealistic and pernicious, IMO. In particular, telling kids not to mention colour is going to give them the idea that there’s something undesirable or naughty or dirty about other races (a bit like sex used to be in the past, ‘nice people don’t talk about it’).

    cr

  19. Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    If a child is an all rounder, that is, respectful of others amongst her bagful of reasoned traits, what the hell does it matter.
    If colour is noticed, so be it. like the colour of an individual’s hair, eyes, or the clothing he was wearing.
    Colour is useful some of the time and of little consequence at others, what matters is the personal interaction.
    Behaviour over time is recorded and noted, by this i mean, whether you are red, brown, green, rectangular, oblong, all are up for grabs, EVERYONE is in the mix.
    If and when an individual of not the same colours is relaxed, they can joke, comment about themselves, about you and yours and when you initiate a comment, joke (colour, religion) it is received in the spirit it was given… a laugh, an insight about ourselves.
    I work with a diaspora of peoples and it is all about how you care.
    Fuck it, light is colour! and some heat, who on this planet wants to be colourblind!
    Yes, there are many tedious exceptions, like Pakistan, where they want to kill a person over drinking water, let’s see if they would be so stupid in the desert about sharing a glass of water.

  20. simonchicago
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    I do not like the way the question is worded. A thought experiment: suppose the child came home and said: I played with my blue-eyed friend.” Does that mean labelling the friend as blue-eyed?

    The point is that there is a difference between sometimes noting a physical characteristic, like skin color, and it is something quite different using that characteristics as the unique label for the person.

    Both not acknowledging that a person is black, and acknowledging the person only as “black” take away from their humanity.

  21. Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    My thoughts. We will never be color blind, or gender blind, unless we are blind. Obviously we should not judge someone on the basis of color or gender, nor generalize or stereotype by such characteristics. That needs to be taught, because I don’t think we are naturally that way. We do need to overcome, somehow, the effects of past and current discrimination. My preference is to do this with policies that open up opportunities and give a leg up to all people who are disadvantaged either by class, gender or ethnicity, especially in regard to education. This should not be a divisive or insurmountable problem, IMHO.

    • Posted November 1, 2018 at 12:43 am | Permalink

      But it is. See the last few posts on discrimination and diversity at Harvard. Large majority of people in our country think school acceptance should merit based only. No consideration for alleged past mistreatment or present disadvantage.

  22. max blancke
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    I spent my early childhood overseas, and was exposed to African American kids for the first time in a coastal South Carolina elementary school. It made a big impression, and could not just be ignored. Color was the least of the issues. It was about culture.

  23. Diane G
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Wish those so worried about what children call each other would transfer their attention to people like this disgusting woman:

    http://www.newser.com/story/266628/woman-arrested-after-racist-note-to-new-neighbors.html

    • Merilee
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

      What a sick sick woman! Gratifying that so many neighbors came to the new family’s defense.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      But have you seen the *photo* of her? I know we shouldn’t judge by appearances but sheesh, sometimes ya can’t help it…

      cr

      • Merilee
        Posted October 31, 2018 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

        I was thinking the same thing, infinite. What a sourpuss😝

      • Diane G
        Posted November 1, 2018 at 1:24 am | Permalink

        Yes, it is hard not to be lookist in this case (though mug shots usually aren’t one’s best).

        It’s beyond disgusting how Trump brings out all this racism; and then to realize these vile people have always been with us. Lovely base you have, McConnell.

        • Diane G
          Posted November 1, 2018 at 2:10 am | Permalink

          And another jaw-dropping story:

          Picture of the baby that drowned in the article above; click link below to see the race of the two women (if you had any doubts):

          • Diane G
            Posted November 1, 2018 at 2:11 am | Permalink

            (Damn, I always forget that the Times is doing that now…)

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted November 1, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

              So, let me see, the mother who drove on a closed road resulting in her baby getting drowned is charged with a criminal offence carrying a prison sentence (why? To persuade her that it was a bad idea?) and the two deputies who drove on a closed road resulting in two women in their custody being drowned – are not.

              How curious.

              cr

              • Posted November 1, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

                I would think the punishment is mostly intended to dissuade others from doing the same thing: ignoring a closed road and ignoring the welfare of a child. I understand that the women losing her child seems like punishment enough but letting her off has big problems too. It is often the case that perpetrators are hurt in the commission of their crime. How much pain and suffering should be considered sufficient punishment to avoid additional penalties?

          • Diane G
            Posted November 1, 2018 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

            Sorry for the non sequitur about the race of the police’s victims!

        • Posted November 1, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          You might want to do something about all your anger. It seems to be a problem for you and affecting your general outlook.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted November 1, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

            Wow. Gaslighting. What a bonus.

            • Posted November 1, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

              No extra charge.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted November 1, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

                There never should be for using ad homs since they contribute nothing to advancing the discussion.

              • Posted November 1, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

                How is referring to people as vile not an ad hom?

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted November 1, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink

                Diane G didn’t call anyone vile. She said that Trump inciting racist behaviour is vile. You may disagree but instead of disagreeing with what Diane G said, you tried to say she had “anger issues”. That’s an ad hom. Argue the points of what she said but don’t try to deflect by suggesting there is something wrong with her for making a valid argument.

              • Posted November 1, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

                Go back and read her comment again.
                “These vile people have .. “

                That is calling people vile.

                Ad hom.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted November 1, 2018 at 11:08 am | Permalink

                Oh yes, vile people. They are vile. Racists are vile. But calling a vile person is an insult it’s not an ad hom attack because that happens in the context of argument. But again, this is more deflection on your part. Instead of arguing why you don’t see racists as vile, you instead attack Diane G and say she has anger issues then you try a fallacious tu quoque. Your fallacies are showing.

              • Posted November 1, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

                My two cents. The racists were the ones being called vile and rightly so. How can anyone here take issue with that?

              • Posted November 1, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

                You logic is lousy. Calling anyone vile is an ad hom.
                Whether they are or not.
                Pointing out someone us showing anger us not ad him. That is an observation. And it was not an attack. Just trying to be helpful.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted November 1, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

                You didn’t say “You sound angry”, you said “You might want to do something about all your anger. It seems to be a problem for you and affecting your general outlook.”

                That is very different.

                I’m disengaging in this discussion because you seem more intent on deflecting than discussing.

              • Posted November 1, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

                Fine. I was not deflecting. I was pointing out her anger and use if ad hom. That was the subject, not a deflection. And a subject you kept choosing to ignore.

              • Merilee
                Posted November 1, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

                Diane G it’s one of the least angry people I know, FYI.

              • Posted November 1, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

                I was responding to her comment. Do not know her personally. But her language was not civil. And showed anger.

              • Merilee
                Posted November 1, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

                OG, are you the former Old Guy?

              • Posted November 1, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

                Yes. Still pounding the same drum about people who are uncivil in discussing or refers g to people who opinions they don’t line. In this case use of the word “vile” to describe groups is uncivil and indefensible.

              • Diane G
                Posted November 1, 2018 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

                Thanks for coming to my defense, Diana, Paul, and Merilee.

                I think I’ll just stop feeding the troll. These sorts of short, drive-by comments with no elaboration seem designed only to rankle.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted November 1, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

                Indeed.

              • Merilee
                Posted November 1, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

                Smart move, DG😍

              • Posted November 1, 2018 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

                Not trying to rankle. And not a troll. Just pointing out the incivility of your speech. That type of hate speech dies not do anyone any good.

    • Posted November 1, 2018 at 12:57 am | Permalink

      She said she just wanted them to know what people thought. The would be the beginning of a discussion and discourse. Have to have open communication as a start toward solutions. The other neighbors picked up on it and began to mend the damage and change the dialogue and move forward.

      • Diane G
        Posted November 1, 2018 at 1:07 am | Permalink

        I hope that’s sarcasm. If not, you must have read a different article than the one I posted.

        • Posted November 1, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

          No. Same article.

        • Posted November 1, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          Sorry if I crossed the line.

    • darrelle
      Posted November 1, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Christ. Stories like this are very easy to find these days. Seems like I see two or three every day. One bright spot that gives hope is the community response in support of the new home owners.

      Here’s another recent one with a great “community” response.

      ‘Go back to your country’: Woman yells obscenities at family speaking Spanish at Virginia restaurant

      From the article . . .

      “On Facebook, Andy’s [the restaurant owner] wrote a detailed response to the woman who yelled at the family. The response was titled, “Words of Thanks to a Former Customer.”

      The post from Andy’s stated, “Thank you for understanding that you have a right to express your venomous and vitriolic views — no matter how odious and ignorant — under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

      It went on to say, “Thank you for disrupting the rights of others who were enjoying an evening of camaraderie in a confined public space. . . . Thank you for providing the employees of Andy’s with an opportunity to demonstrate the precepts of the common law behind that First Amendment, which indicate that although you have the right to declare your despicable views, you also have the obligation to bear the consequences for speaking them.”

      The posting ends with, “Thank you — and we mean this with all the aforementioned respect that you rightfully deserve — for never returning to Andy’s. You are not welcome.”

  24. Marta
    Posted November 1, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    My daughter, in 5th grade, despised her teacher, whom she described in the most disgusting terms you can imagine, the most pleasant of which was “enormous fat cow”. I didn’t know why she disliked the teacher so much, and I hoped to decide for myself during our first parent/teacher meeting.

    The teacher was, in fact, very fat and had an abrasive personality that even I could barely tolerate, never mind a 5th grader.

    She was also black, which I found stunning.

    In all the language my daughter used to describe her horrible teacher, not one word referred to her race.

    This same child has become a conservative Christian Republican, who regularly disparages people based on their income or ethnicity. I’m just so proud.

    • Posted November 1, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      You are proud you daughter called her teacher a fat cow? Don’t think you should be.

    • Posted November 1, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Wow! Good comment. So the moral of the story is …?

      • Posted November 1, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        You can call her a fat cow just not a black fat cow?

  25. Vaal
    Posted November 1, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    “If everyone is viewed as exactly the same, then any cries of racism are dismissed as overblown, “

    Oh my gosh! If we actually viewed each other as exactly the same, then we won’t be able to cry ‘racism.’

    Uh…yeah. That’s the point of viewing each other as equal.

    Talk about getting one’s priorities reversed!

  26. Posted November 1, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    We need to keep hoping for Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream. I think the the closest I have seen is in our children during their early years. They are not influenced by the negatives of our current. They want friends. I’ll never forget three school-age friends going home from school. One was white. One was black. One was hispanic. They played together like best friends on their way home from the bus that day. I know if Dr. King would have seen what I saw that day, he would’ve smiled.

  27. Posted November 2, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    It was very interesting rewatching in colour some of the children’s programming I saw as a kid only in B&W. _3-2-1 Contact_, especially, was a trip.


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