Color Blind Society: Definition, Pros & Cons

Instructor: Karin Gonzalez

Karin has taught middle and high school Health and has a master's degree in social work.

The concept of a color blind society was created in an effort to end racism, and there are pros and cons to this ideology. Learn the definition of a color blind society, as well as the benefits and pitfalls of handling race in this manner.

Definition of a Color Blind Society

African-American Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, ''I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.''

Martin Luther King Jr preached for peaceful race relations.

This is the premise behind a color blind society. In an effort to eradicate racism, a color blind society, or race blind society, promotes that people look past color and see others as people. In 2007, Chief Justice John Roberts argued for a color blind society, stating, ''The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race, is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.''

In a color blind society, the discussion of race is often left off the table. After all, if people don't see color when they look at others, then why should they feel the need to discuss race? In a color blind society, parents might not speak to their children about race. There are pros and cons to this. To opponents of a color blind society, refraining from educating kids on race can lead to an ignorant society. To proponents of a color blind society, children who don't speak of racial differences will treat other children fairly and equally regardless of race or color. As is evident, the topic of a color blind society is a controversial one, and we will discuss the pros and cons of this ideology in this lesson.

Pros of a Color Blind Society

Proponents of a color blind society believe that ignoring race will naturally lead to a more equal society. The mentality is, ''If we ignore race, won't we end up treating everyone the same?'' Advocates of a color blind society believe:

It is a form of social etiquette.

They believe that not addressing race is a polite way to relate with minorities.

It eliminates the need for classifying people into groups

People are heeded as individuals rather than someone who is white or black, for instance.

Promotes a world where people are distinguished by character and personality

When race is left off the table, people are given opportunities and establish relationships based on their character and personality rather than their race.

Prevents government intervention in public school admissions and employment

Many supporters of a color blind society do not agree with giving preferential treatment to minorities in public college admissions or public education. They argue that if society is truly color blind, then everyone should be treated fairly, and nobody should be given special treatment.

Prevents whites from resenting other minorities

Black Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argued that when minorities get preferential treatment in things like college admissions or employment, they often fall into a ''cult of victimization.'' Whites can end up resenting them for this, and even discredit their success because of the special treatment they received.

Cons of Color Blind Society

Opponents of a color blind society believe it is not realistic nor possible for people to just ''not see'' race. Some opponents of a color blind society believe that not discussing and educating people on race will lead to ignorance and more racism. Here are some arguments against a color blind society:

Ignorance of race can lead to misunderstanding

In a color blind society, people don't speak about or acknowledge race. Therefore they are not learning about it either. This can lead people to create stereotypes, generalizations, and misunderstandings against people of color.

It can discredit one's identity

Not acknowledging race of others may dishonor an identity of which they may be very proud. For example, a Jamaican-born black woman who is being treated for depression may take great pride in her upbringing, socialization, ethnicity and race. If her counselor were to ignore her race during therapy, it could do a disservice to her self-esteem and identity.

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