Still Not Colorblind | Teen Ink

Still Not Colorblind MAG

January 31, 2009
By Aaron S. BRONZE, Zebulon, North Carolina
Aaron S. BRONZE, Zebulon, North Carolina
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

I often heard about the presidential election on the news. You probably did too, if you expose yourself at all to the sickly sun of the American media. Journalists, reporters, and every other member of the information army practically wet themselves with exultation at the election of the United States’ first African-American president. And so have American citizens. There are still “Obama ’08” signs in yards, on cars, bridges, babies, and anything else that can be decorated with that godly O – his supporters still have that smug smirk glued like a bumper sticker across their faces.

Reading this, you might come to the conclusion that I am a rabid racist and torch-waving conservative, but hear me out! I am not a racist – in fact, I am almost certainly more colorblind than you, Obamanite. Barack Obama is now America’s first black president. You may say “Hooray!” but I say “So what?” You might tout his victory as a sign that racism is dead, and equal opportunity is, if not here, then well on its way. I disagree.

Racism is discrimination. Discrimination is not simply the act of deriding or oppressing a particular race. I believe it is any emphasis of racial differences. If a caucasian sees himself as “white” and identifies with others of his skin tone to form a coalition promoting his race, this is racist. By this logic, pro-black coalitions are racist too. And those who vaunt Obama’s presidency as a victory for African-American people are included.

In my experience, modern society is not discriminatory in its presentation of opportunity. There are black CEOs; there are white hobos; there are ­members of every race in every position. It’s the beauty of America! And yet still some insist on highlighting Obama’s victory as something strange and wonderful. Not only is it an insult to the American spirit to be fascinated by a black president, it’s an insult to those who have fought for this spirit.

The proper response to Obama’s election should have been: “We have a new president. Will he do a good job?” It is foolish to think that just because Obama is black, he will do a good job. Those who share my opinion see Obama not as racial crusader in shining armor, but as a politician whose ­actions must be analyzed logically. In short, the fact that America still ­perceives races as “different” is shameful. In a land of equal opportunity, the best will win – and the best has been chosen.

Celebrating Obama’s victory in a racial context is simply celebrating past racial divides. The election was not a victory for African-Americans, but a victory for all Americans.

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This article has 214 comments.

on Jan. 13 2012 at 9:47 pm
RoseMonster GOLD, Plainville, Connecticut
12 articles 0 photos 7 comments
wow. You know, I never thought of it that way,and honestly, I think this helps answer a lot of difficult questions people may have about race. Reading this, I realize that race really doesn't exist at all, at least in the sense that it is some highly distinguishing quality. Instead of thinking "he's black" or "she's white", it should be "we're human". Thanks for a great piece and a real mind-opener!

on Jan. 13 2012 at 7:15 pm
frankota BRONZE, Santa Cruz, California
1 article 0 photos 1 comment
I agree with you, I also really hate how there are seperate channels on TV for different races, couldn't we just incorporate more people of different races into all of the shows?

hallie523 said...
on Dec. 22 2011 at 9:02 pm
hallie523, Seattle, Washington
0 articles 0 photos 16 comments
I agree with you mostly, but your assumptions are idealistic. This would be completely true and color-blindness would be perfect if there was indeed equal opportunity. But, because of discrimination and inequality in history, we must, for the time being, acknowledge race and take steps toward undoing the inequality that has been woven into the fabric of our society and would otherwise continue even without active discrimination.

on Dec. 22 2011 at 6:22 pm
blackswan42 SILVER, Cortlandt Manor, New York
5 articles 0 photos 6 comments
I agree that we should look at Obama as a strong president or a weak president, not as a black president. But becoming completely "color-blind" is not the solution. We don't have to hide our differences- we should celebrate them. So yes, Obama's election was a symbolic and literal victory for African Americans, and a demonstration of America's progress. Perhaps in an ideal world we would not notice skin color, but this is not an ideal world, and the scars of our racist past are still very visible. Refusing to acknowledge race would just be a weak attempt to cover up those scars and forget our past struggles. Instead, we should celebrate the signs that they are healing.

XandraAli said...
on Nov. 30 2011 at 3:09 pm
I love this, I couldn't agree more, well except that I don't believe the election was any kind of victory, why should we care what race someone is? Does that make them a good or bad leader? If not, then it should not have any influence on our decision.

on Nov. 30 2011 at 12:03 pm
MarissaWhitecloud SILVER, Oskaloosa, Iowa
7 articles 0 photos 84 comments
Wow. I've never thought of it this way.

Aderes47 GOLD said...
on Nov. 12 2011 at 3:37 pm
Aderes47 GOLD, Cambridge, Massachusetts
11 articles 0 photos 897 comments

Favorite Quote:
You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.
Henry Drummond

That is very true. That always comes to mind during Thanksgiving. We talked about this during Columbus Day in history class. Actually, someone in my history class is part Native American. Cool! I'm 1/32 Native American from my grandma on my mother's side.

on Nov. 11 2011 at 10:14 pm
freeflow23 GOLD, Durham, North Carolina
15 articles 0 photos 96 comments

Favorite Quote:
Saul saw Goliath as too big to kill. David saw he was too big to miss.

I see your point.

on Nov. 11 2011 at 5:47 pm
bookthief PLATINUM, Concord, Massachusetts
20 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser." -- John W. Gardener

I find myself in the rare position of being an Obama supporter who really enjoys this article. It's true that in a truly nonracist society skin color wouldn't matter at all, but I think that one thing we can all agree on is that we're not there yet.  I think that racism/sexism/homophobia/antisemetism are still prevalent issues, both in terms of oppression of the minority and overglorifying the minority's fight (example: women are still disciminated against in the workforce, but there are many who categorize men as awful oppressors rather than trying for true equality).  Hopefully someday we will live in a world where not only do we have presidents of all different races, religions, and other backgrounds, but that we do not notice it as anything special.

on Nov. 11 2011 at 5:42 pm
bookthief PLATINUM, Concord, Massachusetts
20 articles 0 photos 58 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life is the art of drawing without an eraser." -- John W. Gardener

I don't think the writer is close-minded or ignorant of the truly horrible history of the oppression of African-Americans, just trying to look at it from a different perspective, and I don't know that he dislikes Obama at all. I do agree with him in that it shows that we still place emphasis on race when we celebrate the fact that a member of a minority race has been elected President, but I also agree with you that it is exciting. My take on it is that I'm happy that people are recognizing discrimination, but need to work on overcoming it.

on Nov. 8 2011 at 2:05 pm
MagusEceerb SILVER, Buttville, South Carolina
9 articles 0 photos 80 comments
I am part native American and would like to inform you that Black people were definitely NOT the only slaves.  The native American population was 95 percent wiped out and the rest were taken into slavery.  Black people were the next step after there weren't enough Native Americans to go around.

on Sep. 24 2011 at 5:30 pm
kaddancer BRONZE, Efland, North Carolina
1 article 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Someone once said; 'It's the good girls who keep the diaries, the bad girls don't have time.' Me? I just wanna live a life I'm gonna remember, even if I don't write it down." --Brooke Davis

These are my thoughts, exactly! I'm glad someone else gets it...

AsIAm PLATINUM said...
on Sep. 3 2011 at 11:03 pm
AsIAm PLATINUM, Somewhere, North Carolina
48 articles 3 photos 606 comments

Favorite Quote:
"According to some, heroic deaths are admirable things. (Generally those who don't have to do it. Politicians and writers spring to mind.) I've never been convinced by this argument, mainly because, no matter how cool, stylish, composed, unflappable, manly, or defiant you are, at the end of the day you're also dead. Which is a little too permanent for my liking." — Jonathan Stroud (Ptolemy's Gate)

I love this dude.  When will people get it????

Hejlna BRONZE said...
on Aug. 12 2011 at 3:04 pm
Hejlna BRONZE, Portland, Maine
1 article 0 photos 18 comments
totally, i completely agree

xSeeUx SILVER said...
on Aug. 12 2011 at 10:49 am
xSeeUx SILVER, Ishpeming, Michigan
5 articles 3 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
Just because your paranoid don't mean there not after you- Nirvana

i heard when Obama got elected parents were pointing out the color of his skin

turns out they were wrong to do that and making the notice his race instead of just thinking of him as a president

on Jul. 21 2011 at 1:51 pm
Me_Music_Love BRONZE, Indianapolis, Indiana
1 article 6 photos 8 comments
Well put. I applaud your ability  to create good literary opinion pieces.

ael429 BRONZE said...
on Jul. 21 2011 at 11:10 am
ael429 BRONZE, Waterford, Michigan
3 articles 10 photos 20 comments
*gender discrimination

ael429 BRONZE said...
on Jul. 21 2011 at 11:09 am
ael429 BRONZE, Waterford, Michigan
3 articles 10 photos 20 comments
This is well-written, and I agree with you in saying that we should be focusing on how obama is as a presdent instead of how he is as a black president. However, I think there is still discrimination in this country, and the fact that the majority of americans could overcome this is a reason for celebration. When we can overcome gender disctimation, it will be a reason to celebrate as well. Obama is not the first african american politician capable of being a great president, he is just the first to succeed in helping americans overcome racism...and that is worth celebrating.

bedbug BRONZE said...
on Jul. 10 2011 at 6:39 am
bedbug BRONZE, Seoul, Other
1 article 0 photos 18 comments

Favorite Quote:
\"If you come to a fork in the road, take it.\" Yogi Berra. Also, \"Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.\" Courtesy of Hedy Lamarr

don't you think it's racist still:but the other way around. if you say anything bad about anyone black-oh, excuse me, African American, you get pounded in the face!

Aderes47 GOLD said...
on Jul. 9 2011 at 5:09 pm
Aderes47 GOLD, Cambridge, Massachusetts
11 articles 0 photos 897 comments

Favorite Quote:
You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.
Henry Drummond

True. Black People were certainly not the only oppressed people in the world. Jews in the Holocaust, Bosnia, Kosovo...etc

But Africans-Americans were the most oppressed people in people. They were the only ones who were slaves.

I don't exactly think it's about the color of your skin. People would say it would be impressive if a woman became president or a Jew became president. They talk about it because no one's ever done it before. Because in fact, beore Obama, we've never had anyone else for president other than a white, Christian, straight man.