Have you taught your child to be colorblind, to see no color? Well, a new study entitled “In Blind Pursuit of Racial Equality?,” shows such thinking affects how elementary school students examine and respond to racially charged incidents.
“In many ways, the logic behind colorblindness is understandable, that downplaying racial distinctions should limit the potential for bias. We see this ideology prominently displayed in many social settings, from the strategies people use to avoid discussion of race in interracial interactions to broader efforts at education reform in which administrators are challenged with managing diversity among school districts and within classrooms,” said Evan Apfelbaum, a visiting assistant professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University’s the Kellogg School.
“However, our research suggests that exposure to colorblindness can actually reduce individuals’ sensitivity to meaningful racial differences. And as a result, when discrimination does occur, individuals with a colorblind mindset often fail to see it as such,” he added.
I am not surprised. The authors of NurtureShock cite research that shows parents must talk about race if they want to raise a colorblind child. Many parents, though, don’t talk with their children about race and leave children to figure it out on their own.
What do you think? Have you noticed a child or children misinterpret racism?