What does it really mean to be color blind?

This election hit me like 9/11. Wednesday morning felt like awakening inside some dystopian graphic novel.

Adding to my mental anguish, through a flukey set of mostly unrelated circumstances, that was also the third day in a row I was unable to get in a run.

By the time I headed out for a quick 4-miler on Thursday, I was ready to explode.

As I churned along the road, unable to comprehend how so many otherwise well meaning people could support such a man – if you can call a spoiled tantrum-thrower who makes my 3-year-old niece look mature by comparison a “man” – I thought of a book I used to read my kids.

Seven Blind Mice is the story of how each mouse, sent to figure out what to make of a mysterious giant object, come back with seven wildly conflicting scouting reports.

This being a picture book, the reader sees all along that the sightless mice are exploring an  elephant. It’s big, like this country we live in, with some pretty diverse components. So while the mouse who explores the elephant’s leg thinks it must be a giant sturdy Romanesque column, the one who explores its tail thinks it might be a snake.

sevenblindmiceI still can’t fathom what Bible believers thought they saw in such an unChristian sleazeball, or what made poor whites think a billionaire feels their pain. But remembering that children’s story reminded me that no two people see the same thing, no matter what they’re looking at. I must admit, when someone gives off the putrid stench of hatemongering, that pretty much blinds me to whatever business acumen they may or may not possess.

Thursday’s run helped me let go of what happened. But it didn’t make me feel any better about what happens next.

Like cornered animals, the most dangerous human beings are those who are hurting inside. There’s no question that a lot of people are hurting in this changing economy. But that sure as hell doesn’t excuse all the racist bullshit that’s already percolating in our schools since the election. At my daughters’ school, even “nice kids” have been spouting ignorant slogans like “Mexicans caused the national debt!”

I’ve really struggled over the years with being a so-called blue dot in a red sea. Mostly I fumed in silence, not wanting to offend people I like or even love.

I can accept that “my side” lost, because that’s what we do in a democracy. Government policy isn’t my thing, and I can’t do anything about it, anyway, no matter who’s in the White House.

But in such potentially dangerous times, I will no longer be silent on the subject of color. In white America, people can’t always hear what they’re saying, what they’re implying. But that doesn’t make it right.  

That being said, over the next four years my personal challenge is to quit seeing people according to whether they are red or blue.

We’re all just people. Americans. No matter what color we are, inside or out.

All of us deserve a better world. And we need to work together to make that happen.

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12 Responses to What does it really mean to be color blind?

  1. Very well written. The children’s story is really spot on. Let’s hope we get through these dangerous times with the least amount of damage …

  2. I felt numb Wednesday morning. I decided to take a break from social media (all of about three days) and went for a bike ride. Riding my bike really cleared my mind.

  3. bgddyjim says:

    I laughed all the way to work Wednesday. I’m a red dot in a blue sea. Once I got to work though, and I got to a reasonable hour to contact others in my industry, it was all high-fives and happy times. I guarantee you it has nothing to do with race or gender. It’s about the economy, as Bill once said. $20 TRILLION in debt pissed a lot of people off. So did Obamacare.

    I’ll leave you to your grief. Know that those of us who employ people breathed a sigh of relief. We’ve been hammered for eight years and it was no fun.

  4. OmniRunner says:

    Mexicans caused the debt? That is a prime example of the stupidity we are dealing with.
    All the white dudes in Congress and the white house have been spending us blind for generations.
    I am a life long Democrat and have many concerns over the incoming administration. The dumbing down of America and the dismissal of facts is one of them.
    When our future president dismisses facts and says stupid things, what are our children to think? Regardless of who holds the position, the president is still the most authoritative voice in America.

  5. tischcaylor says:

    Apparently kids at my daughters’ school chanted “Build the wall!” at a predominantly black/latino girls basketball team last week. Thank god the principal shut them down. How
    mortifying. Hang in there, Andy.

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