Why I Can’t Be Color Blind

Well actually I am color blind, the physical eyesight red/green color blind kind. Before you ask, yes I see apples as red and not grey, same with firetrucks and other things that are very red. Grass is green and when I have been to Ireland I have seen more shades of green than I can count. But some shades of green, ones that are more towards yellow, like neon green golf balls, I can’t pick up the green in them and see only yellow, very very bright yellow. Shades of pink that don’t have enough red in them can indeed look grey to me. The color gets washed out and actually looks bland and lifeless most times. Because I am unable to see the range of color that people without color deficiency have, that’s the correct phrase by the way, I am denied the experience of seeing the world in the greater beauty of what God has created. It is something I have lived with my whole life, other people see more of the worlds beauty than I do.

That leads me to why I can’t be color blind in the racial sense. I know that is a common phrase these days as people attempt to say, “I treat everyone the same no matter what color they are”. But I think we miss out on something beautiful and important when we try to be color blind in the racial sense. I miss out on a certain aspect of the beauty of God’s creation by not being able to see some shades of red and green, and I miss out on knowing something for what it really is, because I can’t truly see it. If I try to be color blind in the racial sense I run the risk of the same things and even worse. If I am color blind in the racial sense then I run the risk of seeing everyone in the same bland shade of grey and I will never be able to fully appreciate that they are in fact different from me and their color has given them experiences in life that are different from mine.

A fellow pastor named Darryl, who is black, is the one who opened my eyes to this a few years ago. If I claim to be color blind and not see that he is in fact black, then I will fail to fully appreciate who he is and what his life is like. I will be blind to what his life is like because I will fail to appreciate how life is different because of his being black and my being white. I will never ask the question, what was it like growing up in a black community. I will never want to know about the rich traditions or culture of black society and as a result I will be impoverished. I will fail to see the unique person God made him to be and fail to appreciate the experiences, good and bad, that shaped him into the person he is today. Being black is a part of the uniqueness of who he is and part of the beauty of who he is. Likewise if he looks at me and claims to be color blind and fails to see a white man, there are things about who God made me to be that he will miss. He will not be able to understand who I am and how my experiences as a white man have shaped me as an individual.

The question is not, can I be color blind. The question is, how will I treat you as a person who is different from me? When I see your color will I treat you as equally valuable and deserving of love and respect and dignity as Christ says I should? Will I see an opportunity to love another human being as someone made in the image of God, a God is is so vast and complex that His image is carried by people who are of so many different colors, and sizes, and shapes? Will I see a chance to grow in my understanding and appreciation for the diversity that God has made in the totality of this group called The Human Race? Will I see a chance for your different experiences in life to add richness and understanding to mine, and vice versa?

I don’t want to be color blind. Not in the red/green sense that I am. I want to see all the colors of the spectrum in their beauty and majesty., their richness and fullness. I don’t want to be color blind in the racial sense either. I don’t want to see people as shades of grey like I see shades of pink, washed out and bland, colorless and lifeless. I want to see people of all colors for who they are and see the richness and beauty of those many colors. I want to be able to know what they have experienced, their struggles and their victories, their hurts and their joys, their dreams and their nightmares. I want to know where those things are the same as mine and where they are different. I want that so I can celebrate with them and weep with them. I want to see them and have them know they are seen for who they really are. Just as I want to be seen for who I am and known for who I really am. I want that so I can grow as a Christ follower who loves God with all his heart mind soul and strength and who loves his neighbor as himself.