Differences Matter

“Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.” Desmond Tutu

This quote can be found at the new National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington, DC. I was able to visit during the NMAAHC’s first month and throughout the museum, I captured the quotes, images, and stories that resonated with me.

A bit of my reflections to share with you…

desmondtutuquote1
Desmond Tutu’s powerful words are positioned in direct contact with our nation’s ugly identity in slavery, racism, white supremacy, and discrimination. We, as a nation, have used differences to dehumanize, enslave, criminalize, and kill.

Desmond Tutu in his quote is calling us to see our differences as opportunities to connect, to help each other, and to be in community together.

Let’s come from a place of love not of fear, of respect not dismissal, and of appreciation not disgust.

And let’s not pretend that race doesn’t exist, doesn’t matter, and doesn’t still impact us all.

“The problem of the twenty-first century is the problem of colorblindness, the refusal to acknowledge the causes and consequences of enduring racial stratification.”  Naomi Murakawa

This second quote can also be found at the NMAAHC.

A bit more reflection in response to the second quote to share with you…

Colorblindness is the idea that race does not matter; skin color doesn’t impact social standing, professional achievements, or other areas of contemporary life.

You may hear a colorblind person say: “I don’t see color” or “I would think the same thing if they were white” or “I didn’t even notice that he was black” or “I don’t care if you are white, black, red, brown or purple!” or “It doesn’t matter to me what color you are” or “You are making things up or looking for something.”

But you do see color. We all see color. We are socialized from a very early age to notice lots of different things, including skin color.

Colorblindness is not a form of antiracism. That is, being colorblind doesn’t make you not racist. Being colorblind simply means you refuse to accept a social truth.colorblindness1

Colorblindness is a form of privilege. If you are a racial minority in this country, being a racial minority impacts your daily experiences and that impact is often negative. Racial minorities are very aware of how skin color still matters.

Colorblindness is a form of white privilege. If you are white in this country, being white impacts your daily experiences and that impact is often positive. White privilege is not just reaping the benefits of this positive impact; it is also being unaware of the privilege itself.

Colorblindness indicates a lack of racial consciousness, timidity in discussing race, and a lack of self-awareness in one’s own racial identity. Colorblind people are ignorant (whether intentionally or unintentionally).

Colorblindness’ intentions may claim to be helpful but colorblindness is, in fact, harmful. Colorblindness is dismissive to others’ experiences. Colorblindness assumes racially conscious people are paranoid or picky–perhaps even not in touch with reality.

Colorblindness dismisses social scientific theories that are supported by enduring evidence.  Colorblindness prefers coincidence over statistics, happenstance over intellectual analysis.

Colorblindness often assumes that noticing someone’s race is in and of itself a racist thing.  Acknowledging race is completely different than treating someone negatively due to race.

 

Join me in reflecting in response to both of these quotes…

“The problem of the twenty-first century is the problem of colorblindness, the refusal to acknowledge the causes and consequences of enduring racial stratification.” Naomi Murakawa

“Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.” Desmond Tutu

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About the Blogger:

Journey

Jessica Journey is living each day authentically and abundantly…and invites you to join her! She empowers people to live the good life now by intentionally leveraging their God-given resources and abilities. Jessica is a sought-after coach, speaker, and consultant.
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