Why social colour blindness is toxic

Have you heard of colour blindness in the social sense of the word? Social colour blindness is quite common when talking about race and more specifically about skin colour.

You hear social colour blindness when people say things like:

“I don’t see colour” or “I don’t care if you’re black, white or green…blah, blah, blah”

What they don’t realise is, it means something different than what they usually intend it to mean.

What not seeing colour means:

If you can’t see the colour of someone skin, you then also won’t be able to recognise the obstacles, marginalisation, and systemic barriers that oppress and inhibit them from having the same access and opportunity as their white counterparts.

Their skin colour is a contributing factor in how they are experiencing the world and how they are treated. By not seeing it, you also can’t see the struggle their skin colour brings to their lived experience because one doesn’t exits without the other.

Why social colour blindness is toxic:

Although colour blindness may seem like a way of being inclusive and accepting all races, ethnicities and skin tones, it actually supports racist and colourist ideologies. Let me explain…

The processes of colour blindness is the systematic stripping away of individual traits from people who are a different colour to the observer. Thus removing the parts that are different (or diverse).

The observer strips that person back until the point at which both the observer and the observed are the same.

At this point, it then becomes ok to acknowledge or accept that person as a valued member of the human community. By feeling the need to remove differences until there is sameness, it means that sameness is the thing that’s valued and important. This is the same concept behind racism and colourism, where difference is less than or not valued. Do you see how they are linked?

Seeing full-colour vibrancy:

The other end of the scale is to see people in all their colourful gloriousness! A space where you see the colour of someone’s skin and all the things that make them different… I mean really see them. You see, love, accept and value all of them as a wonderfully beautiful and unique human who is an equality valued member of our global community.

There is no need nor want to change, alter or strip back any feature of this person because you value and celebrate sameness and difference equally.

Sameness and diversity as equals:

While sameness and commonality can create amazing communities, it does have the ability to be socially toxic if it’s used as the means to gain acceptance.

Diversity brings so much richness to our society. It bring new ideas, innovation and creative ways of thinking. It brings creative songs and arts. It helps to expand us spiritually and teach us about ourselves.

There is a place for sameness and for diversity in our global community, let’s honour both in ways that are inclusive, loving and nurturing to all humans.

I hope you’ve found this helpful in understanding social colour blindness and why it’s toxic.


If you loved this and you’re a business owner who wants to ensure your business is inclusive, equitable and supports diversity, you might also love the membership I created for entrepreneurs just like you. It’s called the Inclusion Creator’s Collective and is a place where you can receive masterclasses on inclusion, equity and diversity that relates to business, as well as receiving LIVE coaching and support from me and our membership community. You can check the membership out here.

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I look forward to seeing you next time,

Business Inclusion & Diversity Coach / Course Creator
Categories Culturally Inclusive Language, inclusion, Inclusive language, Social ChangeTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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