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What “I Don’t See Color” Really Means (Religion & Race)

Although white people may be well intentioned, when you ignore or minimize other people’s racial identities; you are ignoring the reality and impact of ongoing institutional and systemic racism that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) face daily. “Not seeing color” may come across as, “I’m choosing to ignore this part of you because it makes me more comfortable.”  

Additionally, to “not see color” denies the very fabric of their being. People who “don’t see race” deny themselves the beautiful experiences of God’s diverse human creation.

Consider what “I don’t see color,” may communicate to Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and follow these suggestions to re-frame your thinking.  

  • “You don’t see me” 
    • Recognize and respect the unique experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color 
    • Acknowledge the sacred humanity of all people, including the sacredness of all skin colors, hair textures, eye shapes, and languages. 
    • Celebrate the racial, cultural differences as gifts from God 
  • “You don’t hear me” 
    • Listen to the experiences of People of Color, including their experiences with racism. 
    • Do not silence People of Color by overtalking or interrupting them, or by discounting their stories 
    • Avoid relying on stereotypes and cultural appropriation of the symbols, clothing, or rituals from other cultures entertainment or amusement.  
  • “You don’t understand me” 
    • Read and research the histories, perspectives, challenges, and experiences of Black, Indigenous and People of Color to increase your own understanding. 
    • Check your stereotypes of other people. 
    • Learn about the history of your community, town, or city and BIPOC people who have lived, worked, and died there. 

Written by Eun Jin “Jinny” Kim, a 2022 intern for the General Commission on Religion and Race, and a student at Garret-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston Illinois.