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  • Writer's pictureDr. Tyffani Dent

“I Don’t See Color”?: The Attempted Erasure of the Experiences of People of Color

Confession: I can see rainbows Also If I see someone with elephants and wearing crimson and cream, I will ask if they are my sorority sister

Green on bread makes me know it is time to throw it away

Anyone wearing brown and orange together when it is not Halloween, I will often assume they are Cleveland Browns fans

Basically, I see color

Most of us do

Yet, when we are discussing issues of race and how the U.S. was built on the mistreatment of specifically Indigenous, Black, and Brown folx, Some will hurriedly state “I don’t see color”

It is not that color is not seen,

It is the discomfort with not wanting to acknowledge how our world historically seeks to oppress those who are not white

To deny that those who fall on the lighter end of the color spectrum benefit from whiteness or proximity to whiteness

To be able to embrace the false narrative that “pulling one’s self up by one’s bootstraps” is often impacted by the color of the skin in such boots

Because we know about Stealing of the land of Indigenous people The enslavement of black folx The detainment of U.S. Citizens of Japanese descent during WWII And the current holding primarily Brown and Black people seeking asylum in inhumane conditions, while extolling their lack of humanity as justification for this

Trust, we see color

The attempts to minimize how color continues to inform how everything from banks, to the police, to educational institutions, to the justice system interact with People of Color Are toxic

If one really wants “color not to matter” and push for the call of “All Lives Matter” (which in and of itself is nothing but an attempt to minimize or blatantly dismiss the fact that our world does not value specifically Black folx)

Then we must not only SEE color But admit that the systems that use color as a way to marginalize people need to be dismantled

That we acknowledge that white supremacy underlies the feigned ignorance in the statement of a “color blind society” That we support Black, Indigenous, People of Color as they discuss their lived experiences of existing within their racial/ethnic bodies That we lift their voices and demand that the world hear their stories---because they are unique

We must stop our agitation when race is mentioned, because we are uncomfortable in our complicity in keeping racial mistreatment alive and flourishing

Gaslighting must stop The use of microaggressions must end

We must insist that spaces are made available to POC that are sacred and for them as they attempt to navigate in a world that will “All Lives Matter”, “I Don’t See Color”, and “We are All Americans” them to death That is, Until their Black Lives Don’t Matter Until Color is used to discriminate against or imprison them Until their right to be viewed as U.S. citizens threatens white supremacy Cause then, we know all bets are off.

Dr. Dent is a licensed psychologist. Her hardest job is being a Black Woman who centers the experiences of Black women and girls. She sees their blackness and unapologetically demands that the world does as well.

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