Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Color Blind

Photo from

Last week, just before the admittedly hectic Easter/birthday weekend, I read an article which talked about Kim Kardashian’s thoughts on raising a biracial baby.
First, let me apologize for even adding to the amount of Kardashian commentary out there, but I just can’t help myself, because she made a seemingly innocuous comment that really bugs me.
In an interview with BET, Kim Kardashian said:
“I have a lot of friends that are all different nationalities, and their children are bi-racial. So they have kind of talked to me a little bit about it, what to expect and what not to expect. I think that the most important thing is how I would want to raise my children, is just to not see color. [Emphasis mine] That’s important to me.”
Hold the phone. What??
There’s nothing wrong with seeing color, Kimmy. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that people have different skin colors. You can choose to celebrate it or denigrate it, and that’s where the problems arise. 

If you teach your child not to see color, you are doing him or her a disservice – especially (but not only) if you are raising a child OF COLOR in America. Much as it’s been hyped, we do not live in a post-racial world. If you choose to teach your child to be “color blind,” to not acknowledge the differences that exist, you are teaching him or her to ignore people’s differences. And people are different, and they are beautiful. To teach your child to be color blind is to ignore the diversity of beauty within his or her own family, not to mention the world around him/her.

To raise your child “just not to see color” not only translates into not appreciating the beauty and richness of different colors and cultures but also translates into not preparing them for life as a person of color – and perhaps you think you may be able to shield them from that reality due to your fame and fortune, but let’s be real.

In a world where Forrest Whitaker gets stopped and frisked in a New York deli, let’s be real.

In a world where my highly-educated, law-abiding husband can get stopped on the street randomly because of his dark skin, or where a police officer can follow my minding-his-own-business dark-skinned teenage nephew home for no reason at all:  let’s be real.

Racism and prejudice are alive and well. And to be a parent to a bi-racial child, you can’t be blind to that fact. Like any expectant parent, I am sure you want to be the best mother you can be. But that means teaching your child to appreciate differences, not ignore them. And that means preparing your child for the reality that the world may treat them differently than they treat you, simply because of their skin color. I agree we should all strive for a world where this isn’t the case, but let’s not stick our heads in the sand.

For more commentary, visit here and here. Or just Google. Folks are a little irritated, Kimmy. It behooves you to try and understand why.


Bridget said...

"And people are different, and they are beautiful."

Best line ever, Lisa.

Lisa Blah Blah said...

It took me forever to learn that one simple truth - that there are different kinds of beauty but they are all beautiful in their own way. For a long time I had these absolutes in my mind.

Fortunately with time we learn and we evolve...hopefully. :)