Stephen Colbert: “I don’t see color.”

Having difficulty publishing a video, so I will just share the link:—district-of-columbia—eleanor-holmes-norton

Watch from 4:35 for a couple of minutes for relevant material.

Having read Ladson-Billings’ article and stance on “colorblindness” before, I always am reminded of Stephen Colbert’s ongoing joke of his own colorblindness. Colbert frequently insists, “I don’t see color. I don’t see myself as white. People tell me I’m white, and I believe them because…[insert joke here].” His reverse-psychology-type of humor highlights the near-ridiculousness of a concept such as race-blindness. Race and color are part of a person’s identity, and typically part of your own identity. To pretend you do not see or acknowledge this aspect, or to ignore and pretend you do not see differences is just a blatant lie.

Insisting on colorblindness as a reason to treat all students “equally” is counter-productive and ultimately leads to digression and continued racism in the classroom. We know as educators that being culturally relevant and differentiating are not about treating all students equally, but about treating all students EQUITABLY, which entails seeing them as individuals and as they are. I truly believe that it is impossible to avoid stereotyping others. However accepting and just you think you are, it is human nature to categorize and stereotype those around us in order to make sense of the world. Now, ASSUMING that all stereotypes hold true to all people included in the stereotype is where we can go wrong. As teachers, it is our responsibility to give all students and other people the chance to be just that – people. We should recognize and celebrate differences, and while acknowledging aspects of individuality like race, religion, beliefs, and even personality, we give everyone the opportunity to succeed.


About kellinajo

Avid vegetable eater and giraffe enthusiast; cupcaker and nanny extraordinaire. Elementary Education and Spanish UIUC College of Education Class of 2013 Teach for America Indianapolis 2013 Corps
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