Color Doesn’t Matter

I’m gonna stop you right there. Color does matter, and if you are one of these people walking around saying it doesn’t then you are not paying a lot of attention. Color matters. It matters so much in fact, that for us to brush it aside is actually, literally, killing people. Listen, I’m not stupid enough to think that just because you have uttered the phrase, “Color doesn’t matter” that you are a raging racist. I too have said this phrase in my life. I said it to my son when he was a little guy, trying to explain to him that it doesn’t matter that the kids on either side of him are different shades of brown (not that he cared, or even paid attention), but I said it to make myself feel better, to show that I was hip to this idea. I was, in my own way, trying to dumb something very complex, down, way down to my child, and possibly to myself. But I do not say that to my son anymore. In fact, he will be 11 years old next month and he is very aware now that color matters. It matters in everything we do.

Color mattering is what founded this country. If you were white, awesome! Welcome to this new land! If you were a Native American and already lived here, move over, walk 400 miles from your native Navaho Holy Land because we have better ways to make use of it. If you are black, no problem. You can be brought here, against your will, to be our slaves. Chinese? Want to build our railroads? You are smart, hard workers. Yeah, but you can only do that. See the trend here?

Our history is rife with color mattering, so when you tell your children that color doesn’t matter, you raise the very people that are part of the problem today. The white man who just doesn’t get why the Mexican-American man next to him is asking for a pay raise. You either think he makes the same as you already (but he does not, because color matters) or you think he doesn’t deserve more than you, after all, you are the white man. You don’t get why black people are scared of the police. You don’t believe there is such a thing as “white privilege” because to you, color doesn’t matter. Or at least it shouldn’t. And no it shouldn’t. But it does. And if we keep pretending that it doesn’t, then it always will.

So the next time you hear someone say, “Color doesn’t really matter. I don’t know why they are making such a fuss,” and you don’t step in, and you don’t explain to them why color does matter, well then, you’re just part of the problem. It’s time to take a stand, for everyone.

M.

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