Thursday, October 04, 2007

"When I look at a person I honestly don't see race"

Those words probably represent the biggest lie one human being can tell to another one. It ranks right up there with "the checks in the mail", and "baby I won't cum in your mouth" for its level of dishonesty and mendaciousness. When I hear someone using those words my racial antenna immediately goes up. Why? Because I know they are full of shit, and then I have to start questioning their motives for saying it in the first place, that's why.

I mean honestly; how the fuck can someone look at me for instance and not know that I am black? Shouldn't we be saying something like: "When I look at you I see a black man, and I will treat you just like everyone else by not making false assumptions about you." Now that's an honest statement.

"When I look at a person I honestly don't see race."

Yeah, and when I saw Star Jones before her ahem ahem, surgery, I didn't see a fat person. Yep, Star, you might weigh 300 pounds, but when I look at you I see Janet Jackson. Yao Ming when I look at you I don't see a tall person, I just see a guy from the circus standing on stilts. Give me a fucking break!

Folks, it's like this; sometimes trying to be too PC can actually be a bad thing. You can be PC to the point of being unbelievable, and that's when you come off looking like a real phony, because now you are doing everything it takes not to seem like the racist that you really are. "Well gee field, what's a poor white guy like me to do? I mean I can't win with you people. It's gotten to the point where I don't know what to say anymore without being called a racist". Hey, here is a hint it's real simple; why don't you just say what you really think? Let me decide if you are a racist or not. Because if you tell me shit like "when I look at a person I honestly don't see race", I will know you are a lying to me. And how can we hold hands and sing Kumbaya if we lie to each other?


rikyrah said...

you've got that nailed, FN. If you don't see race, then you don't see me. I see all races, and know, that their culture, if I like them or dislike them, had something to do with it.

See my Brown skin; I'm not afraid or ashamed of it. I think it's beautiful, and if you don't, then Kiss My Black Ass.

SouthernGirl2 said...

"See my Brown skin; I'm not afraid or ashamed of it. I think it's beautiful, and if you don't, then Kiss My Black Ass".
Too funny! But show you're right!

Say it!

Nelson said...

"Color blindness" is a critical topic in the dialogue on race we need in this country.

A great book and law review article on this subject, though law-oriented is Barbara Flagg's "Was Blind But Now I See."

An excerpt:

"White people externalize race. For most whites, most of the time, to think or speak about race is to think or speak about people of color, or perhaps, at times, to reflect on oneself (or other whites) in relation to people of color. But we tend not to think of ourselves or our racial cohort as racially distinctive. Whites' “consciousness” of whiteness is predominantly unconsciousness of whiteness. We perceive and interact with other whites as individuals who have no significant racial characteristics. In the same vein, the white person is unlikely to see or describe himself in racial terms, perhaps in part because his white peers do not regard him as racially distinctive. Whiteness is a transparent quality when whites interact with whites in the absence of people of color. Whiteness attains opacity, becomes apparent to the white mind, only in relation to, and contrast with, the “color” of nonwhites.

I do not mean to claim that white people are oblivious to the race of other whites. Race is undeniably a powerful determinant of social status and so is always noticed, in a way that eye color, for example, may not be. However, whites' social dominance allows us to relegate our own racial specificity to the realm of the subconscious. Whiteness is the racial norm. In this culture the black person, not the white, is the one who is different."

First of all, we can't look myopically at a snapshot of today, but rather in the context of history. Whites have gone from complete supremacy then to deep resenters of change, and now, since that is no longer acceptable, the notion of no color, we're all the same. But that assumes we're all on the same plane. This is a convenient assumption for whites and threatens to bring a halt to any further discussion on racial matters.

It's an escape route, and deep, deep down, many whites know this. They are in denial.

The next stage is to bring us all to the point where we pass this "denial" stage, to the next, more progressive phase of our shared history.

I fear, though, that we have reached somewhat of a plateau. Unless, of course, we can defeat the denial. This was infact a main them in an Op-Ed of mine that's going to be published in the student newspaper here at my school (Should have that up on my blog tomorrow, if anyone's even remotely interested)

But much of it is subconscious, which is a tricky thing to convince people of, and be they well-meaning liberals or the not-so-well-meaning conservatives.

Anonymous said...

“How Bill Clinton Hurt The Black Poor, and Hillary Might To.”

“Maybe He’s Not Black Enough”

“What Ails Clarence Thomas”

“Why Blacks Should Think Twice About Supporting Ron Paul.”

all at
Thought Merchant

Anonymous said...

I dunno field, you sound like a racialist here!!! (Hey did ya like that word... racialist... kinda catchy isn't it?)

SheWhoLives said...

I could not agree more with your thoughts in this post, Field.

I'm from London and caucasian Brits have mastered the art if insiduous, silent racism. But oh my, it is everywhere you look...

My race is in an intrinsic aspect of who I am. Not ALL I am, but an undeniable part of it. Nothing incenses me more than when white folks say sh!t like "I don't see your race" and think it's a compliment or something. Like I would be pleased they are ignoring my whole racial and genetic ancestry??! Just because it makes THEM more comfortable (and less guilty) to do so? Step off!! My African-ness is NOT to be "tolerated", downplayed or conveniently relegated to the background.

Acknowledge me, my race, my humanity. Accept it and enjoy it as part of me as much as I do and then maybe we can talk. Or, if you have difficulty with accepting the wholeness of me an African descendent, find a way to be honest about THAT and then we can still have a discussion.

But don't give me anymore toleration/ignore-ation bullsh!t.

I'm done with that.

Unknown said...

U nailed this one Field. All except the one about no cum in the mouth. I mean it when I say it. My body just betrays me at times (smile)

peace, Villager

AJ said...

Excellent post! That is ALWAYS a red flag for me. If you don't see my skin color you need to run down to the nearest Lens Crafters to get hooked up.

field negro said...

"All except the one about no cum in the mouth. I mean it when I say it. My body just betrays me at times (smile)"

Villager, it's "kitty" on line one for you:)

LJM, thanks for that link, that was pretty informative, and I like YOUR analysis.

"RACIALIST". I like that word, and I resemble that remark :)

Anonymous said...

My boss told that to me one time...Well not to me but he made a statement as to he doesn't see color... I was like who are you try'n to fool.In my mind I was like, get the fk our of herrrrre.
Even that statement shows an arrogance like you're above human. Like you notice... you may not have given it a second thought once you did notice the guy was black... then that shows how you really look at us with much disregard... but this is nothing new.
I love your blog, Field! I really love the way people give out information and books to read... I'll have to start a list!

Anonymous said...

Great post.

"'Well gee field, what's a poor white guy like me to do? I mean I can't win with you people. It's gotten to the point where I don't know what to say anymore without being called a racist.'"

I dunno, I'm of the belief there's already a problem if you're trying to prove you're not racist. I'm of the belief that everyone's socialized to be and internalized racist shit so, esp. if you're "poor white guy" and your privilege has allowed you to uphold that racism unquestioned for most if not all of your life, you should be working with the assumption that you ARE in fact racist, whether consciously, maliciously, or not...and go from there.

(i.e. shutup, open your eyes, and listen to those around you who apparently know something that you don't know...)


The Christian Progressive Liberal said...


I work in the industry of EEO/Diversity/Civil Rights and Affirmative Action. Have done so since 1987. I've heard every PC statement regarding race. Let me clue you and everyone on this blog on to something.

EEO - Equal Employement Opportunity. Means a level playing field. Deals with actual statistics; for example, if there are 29,000 African-American lawyers in the industry, and a law firm with government contracts has no AA representation as lawyers in that firm, they're going to have problems with the government.

Problem with EEO: too many contractors caught in violation of Titles VI, VII and IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - and Sections 503 & 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. What's a contractor to do?

You get some slick PhDs that develop a concept called DIVERSITY. That means you celebrate the differences in cultures and race, but not really do anything regarding the lack of representation of people of color,ethnicity or gender - although you're calling in "Inclusion". No numbers, therefore, no evidence to point to the fact that the contractors' are breaking the law every chance they get.

You have Ward Connerly, a primary beneficiary of Affirmative Action, to thank for that.

So, whenever I hear someone say "I don't see a person's race", my response is always, "You can't help but see a person's race, ethnicity or gender when you set eyes on them, because that's natural to see those factors first. What you do with the information determines how color-blind you really are."

God intended for us to see one another's race, gender, nationality, ethnicity,because that's how He designed us; but He also intended that we don't put a primary focus on those differences, because He isn't a respector of persons (meaning He doesn't discriminate), and we shouldn't, either.

If God wanted a color-blind society, He'd made all of us the exact same way - and we'd be bored as hell, because someone would want to be different.

Tell these individuals to quit singing "Kuubaaya" and get on with the hard process of having an honest discussion about race.

My recommendation is a documentary called "The Color of Fear". It was made by a Chinese film producer out in Oakland, who made it and dedicated it to his mother, who was killed by an African-American who broke into her house. Rather than be consumed with hating all Black people because of the action of one, he chose to get at the root cause of bigotry, and it's one of the most powerful works I've ever seen. When I do diversity trainings, I usually start off with that documentary, and while painful for some to watch, it forces them to confront and deal with their own personal bigotry.

Usually some profound changes have taken place in companies where I've done diversity trainings, when I follow up after a year. So tell the next person who says they don't see race or color that they are insulting you and to quit being in denial about bigotry and discrimination.

We can't have that dialogue on race until there is a willingness to be brutally honest with ourselves and one another.

Thanks again for letting me share.

Ferdzy said...

I hope this post won't be misunderstood.

I'm white, and I'm a racist. I didn't used to be a racist, but when I moved to Philadelphia for a year, I became one.

What happened?

When I grew up in Toronto I attended school with kids of 80 something different nationalities and over 90 different languages. Of course I noticed this! But when I saw someone walking down the hall, or the street, it wasn't what I noticed FIRST. What I noticed first was; did they look friendly, how were they dressed, how did they move, etc. I'm talking about that split second inventory everyone takes of everyone else they see. Noticing race is in there somewhere. For me, it wasn't FIRST, it was just one facet of many.

Then I moved to Philadelphia. The racism was like a fog, and it was impossible not to be infected. I started noticing peoples race first. This is uncontrollable; we're talking about stuff that happens in the blink of an eye; no thinking involved.

I hate this, but I don't know how to change it. It's been over 20 years now, and it still persists. Partly because I am now living in a small, painfully white town, so it's harder to get, uh, re-desensitized. (That a word?)

I want to go back to saying that I'm a racist. I wince when I say that. I don't want to be one. But let me make this clear; I also don't think racism is on/off yes/no black/white (um) etc. It's a continuum, as is sexism and a lot of other isms. There's a heck of a lot of distance between noticing peoples race first and going out and lynching them. But it's the same road, I recognize that.

I think one of the big problems in dealing with racism (and sexism, etc) is dealing with language that is absolute - my problems with over-noticing get lumped in with the KKK by the language - and the reality of the fact that racism is not an absolute.

Not that I know what to do about it.

Anonymous said...

There is one sure-fire prediction I can make about any white person who tells me they "don't see color". I can confidently predict that they will never shut the hell up about color.

Foofa said...

What is even worse than "I don't see color' is "I don't think of you as black". I used to get this one all the time from friends who were honestly trying to tell me that my race didn't factor into their decision to be my friend. I would always tell them that if they didn't see me as black they had no business being my friend because I am black and that is part of me. I hate well meaning whites.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...


Thank you for your honesty. Too many whites run from the label, but that's what they are down to their bones.

How to quit being a racist:

Go rent the documentary "The Color of Fear". There are two white guys in the film that give instructions on how to unlearn racism and bigotry, once they were confronted with the actual fact that they were, in fact, racists.

Second - if you weren't a racist before you moved to America, that tells me that you got taught how to be a racist. If not back in Canada, then since you got here. Think about your friends and acquaintences; think about that small town you live in. How do they regard people of another race? Trust me, you picked that shyt up from somewhere - it didn't get into you by osmosis or spontaneous combustion.

You know EXACTLY how you became a racist. But I'm glad you own up to it, because if you don't unlearn that shyt, at least I'll know you when I see you. A rattlesnake always gives a warning before he strikes.

field negro said...

Thanks ferdzy, that was refreshing.

"What is even worse than "I don't see color' is "I don't think of you as black". Thanks Ferdzy, that was refreshing.."

yes natalie, that's the common and obvious one. But it's no less infuriating.

Anonymous said...


I love this site. I really do. I wanted to do something similar to what you do with your House/Field Negro of the Day but now I can just point people here.

If I may add in my own annoying phrase:
"But I have black friends..."

That's used by people who "don't see color" to excuse their ignorant acts.

LeeSee said...

Thanks for your blog, we've mentioned you more than a few times.

Anonymous said...

Here's my favorite white people "see, I'm not a racist" comment:
"I just love the Jeffersons"!

Christopher Chambers said...

White folks--and this is the fault of the liberals, not the rabid right--have for the last 30 years equated racism with Klannish violence and crackerism. "Hate" is the buzzword. Hate is but one tread in the weave. You can't have racism without the power and history aspect. Hate is hate, prejudice is prejudice. But they AINT racism without the full weave!

FN: my sadness over Marion is deep.

field negro said...

"FN: my sadness over Marion is deep."

chris, don't cry for Marion. She is a cheat, and this latest move is calculated on her part. Americans love to forgive their heroes.

kriss, and leesee, thanks for the love.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I do believe one can look at a person--and not first see "race." Please, stay with me for a minute. I don't think I'm crazy. For example, when you see your mother--or close friend---the first thing you digest is not race. Now, if prodded, you would be able to identify your mother's race, but that would not be the first thing that you notice about her--nor is it the most important thing about her---to you. This is because you emphasize other things about her.

Also, it may be that you might not quickly be able to recall the shade differences in white people's skin color. For you, it might be that you're just conditioned to just see white--but not even the stark differences in appearances among white people. (I have the same problem with white hair color. I can have the darnest time recalling whether a white person was a blond or brunette--differenceswhite people readily notice.)

If you can be conditioned to see "race," why not to not see race? We only emphasize skin color--and whatever--because we attach meaning to it.

You, for example, say you see Star as 300 lbs. But are you as sensitive to the various size differences among men? Women alert to differences among men that are of no consequence to you--because those differences matter to women--and they don't to you.

Whatever Star Jones weighs is of no consequence to me--nor how she compares to Janet Jackson in appearnce. It does matter to me, however, that neither Al Roker, Jermaine Dupri, nor any other man in the known world is as devastatingly handsome as Chiwetel Ejiofor.

This, of course, is not to say that the speaker you quote was a truth teller.

Anonymous said...

Most white people are racist, as are most blacks. By racist I mean, factoring race into how we relate to other people. I blame it on our lizard brains; humans have to process alot of information all the time, we subconsciously are always looking for ways to compartmentalize and put things in neat little boxes. I'm no exception; I'm definitely a racist.

But it's like Christopher Chambers says, it's no reason to despair: most of us being racist doesn't mean all the blacks are running off to join the Panthers or all the whites pledge allegiance to the Grand Wizard. We just tend to put our own kind first, sometimes without even thinking about it.

Looks like I should be renting "The Color of Fear." And making more black friends. I don't think I'll ever be "cured" of my racism (I'm ethnic; I tend to put my own white ethnicity over even other whites... its a pride thing) but hopefully I'll get better at spotting when it sways my decision-making, isolating it, and making sure it doesn't lead me to inadvertently hurt or prejudice other people. I'll never be color-blind, just hopefully really tolerant of differences... I think that's the best any of us can do.


Anonymous said...

I wanted to say a little bit about the Marion Jones situation which FN aptly highlights in his margins. I am wondering if there isn't something racial about Marion's prosecution.

It seems to me that a disproportionate number of black people are subject to perjury charges. Perjury charges are secondary charges, indicating a persistence in the prosecution efforts. A persecution, if you will, not just a prosecution. This, I think, may be afoot with Marion Jones--regardless of whether she actually cheated. Remember, Palmeiro's testimony before Congress when he denied--emphatically--that he used steroids. Then, he was found in the baseball's testing to have used steroids--even knowing he would be tested. However, the decision NOT to pursue Palmeiro for perjury charges was so quickly made--my head spun. And, if you blinked, you wouldn't even have registered that indeed he had been found to have used steroids after his dramatic, emphatic denial before Congress. (And while I know that subsequent steroid use doesn't disprove a prior denial, it does present enough smoke for a pursuit--rather than a quick decision to not pursue anything.)

T. S. Snowden said...

I think the phrase "I dont see race" is their way of saying "You're one of the good ones".

Hathor said...

When Ben Johnson was found to have used steroids, I really wondered if steroids made a person a better runner. Is there any scientific correlation. I noticed runner's muscles and morphology are some what different than a football player's. It would seem to bulk up would not be beneficial to a runner and that steroid use would be like taking a placebo. I guess I am asking is steroid use for a track athlete actually an enhancement? Is there real science behind it or is it treated like marijuana, in the "war on drugs," where marijuana is touted as the gateway drug.

field negro said...

"Actually, I do believe one can look at a person--and not first see "race." Please, stay with me for a minute. I don't think I'm crazy. For example, when you see your mother--or close friend---the first thing you digest is not race."

I don't think so raven. I mean you might not acknowledge the person's race (as in the analogy you gave with the mother)but you would still actually see their race. The race of your mother or loved one would not be relevnt to how they relate or interact with each other because their race is the same.

jimbo, like the other person who said they were white posting earlier, you seem to get it. Because you acknowledge your own racism (factoring race in how you relate to other people, and you use that knowledge to foster your own personal growth.

femigog, good point! But it also let's the speaker off the hook and allows them to then be excused from their own ignorance.

As for marion, hathor, I know a little about track and field, and I can tell you that it is the one sport (especially in sprinting)where HGH does give you an advantage. The difference between first and third can be a matter of a split second. Muscles are important to a sprinter.

raven, you might have a point about selective prosecution in the U.S. attorney's office. Let's just say I wouldn't be surprised if there was. Let's see how the rest of this investigation turns out, and who they end up charging.

But let me say this: If you ever get a target letter from the feds, get an attorney ASAP. And when they do question you,DO NOT LIE TO THEM.

Michael Fisher said...


Define "race". Then define "black race". Would you please?


Your driver said...

Just sat through a thing at work where two white guys went on and on about how color blind they were, and how respectful they were toward Black people and their culture and accomplishments etc. Lots of good intentions, I suppose, but the lone Black guy really likes to talk about cars and football. What's funny is that the white guy he's most friendly with is a Michael Savage fan who loves cars and football. The white guy let the Black guy drive his immaculate '56 T-bird. Maybe that should be the test: "I know you say you're not a racist, but will you let me drive your T-bird?" OK, all of you color blind people. Let's see those car keys.

Friðvin said...

I occasionally see blog comments saying such BS. And honestly, I hope we never get to a point where we don't see race, because then we truly miss out on the beauty of humanity.

Temple3 said...

Is there any particular reason white folks feel the never-ending need to compare the Panthers to the Klan? Put that in the Shut the Phukkk Up Folder along with the quote at the top of the page.

Great job FN - you ain't FN around.

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