Comment: Every time we stray from the real issue behind racism (=ethnic background) we are flirting or committing colorblind racism.
A familiar colorblind racist counter-argument commonly heard from anti-immigration groups is why whites are treated unfairly? Why was Jussi Halla-aho fined for defaming a religion and inciting ethnic hatred but nothing happens to you if you insult whites and the Lutheran religion? Why aren’t such people fined for hate speech?
Another example of colorblind racism in Finland was seen in May 2011, when the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party made a public statement that the best way to challenge racism would be to end positive discrimination. Thus in the PS’ and colorblind racists’ mind, the only way to attain “social equality” in our society would be by denying that ethnicity plays any role in racism.
A happy-go-lucky colorblind racist would claim: “Let’s be equal and pretend that ethnic background does not matter [when in fact it does].”
Below is a good blog entry on Abagond that gives us a good idea of how colorblind racism works.
By Julian Abagond
Colour-blind racism (1970- ), also known as aversive racism, is racism that acts as if skin colour does not matter – even when it does. It is the most common form of racism among white Americans who grew up after the fall of Jim Crow in the 1960s. It takes the place of Jim Crow racism, the meaner, more naked white racism common in the 1950s and before.
Political correctness and the idea of hate speech grew out of colour-blind racism. So did the welfare queen and model minority stereotypes. It helped to spread the word “African American”.
Colour-blind racists say things like this:
- It’s not race, it’s economics …
- It’s not race, it’s culture …
- It’s not race, it depends on a person’s background …
- I’m not prejudiced, but …
- I’m not black, but …
- One of my best friends is black.
- My cousin married a black man.
- I voted for Barack Obama.
- I don’t see you as black.
And believe things like this:
- I am not racist.
- Blacks are not willing to work hard.
- Blacks want everything handed to them.
- Blacks hold themselves back, not racism.
- Blacks are unfairly favoured, whites are not.
- Blacks do not want to live with us (or eat at our table).
- Blacks live in the past. They need to get over it and move on.
- Blacks need to pull themselves up from the bottom like everyone else.
- Blacks cry racism for everything even though they are the racist ones.
Notice how white people never seem to do anything bad.
While they would agree with most of those statements, they would have a hard time saying them straight out like that. Race makes them uncomfortable. Their statements would be more long-winded and watered down, throwing in phrases like those from the first list, even the one about the cousin.
They seem to think that if they do not say the words then racism will somehow go away by magic. As if racism is just a matter of words.
They rarely think of themselves as “white” and avoid saying the word “black” in public, even when they are thinking it. Their supposed colour-blindness is a front.
For example, I have heard white people talk about someone who I knew had to be black just by the way they bent over backwards to avoid saying the word “black”. Yet when they left the room and thought I could not hear, they said “black” just as plain as day, as if they were talking about their dress.
They avoid the word “race” too. Instead they use words like “culture”, “background”, “ethnicity”. That is why they like the word “African American” so much: it seems colour-blind.
They are not as mean or violent as Jim Crow racists, nor do they wear their racism well. Unlike Jim Crow racists, they are willing to vote for a black man for president. But they still look down on blacks and still believe the stereotypes, adding some of their own.
They are not as colour-blind as they think. The only colour they are truly blind to is white.