A color-blind society does more harm than good

From President Trump’s initial labeling of all Hispanic immigrants as criminals to the increase of viral videos in which immigrants are told to stop speaking their native language many are left feeling like the Hispanic heritage is under attack.

It’s obvious that there are unresolved tensions and anger looming around the U.S. population, especially with the recent termination of DACA.

Some think the proper reaction to this negativity is to deny that there is a difference between persons of Hispanic origins and those of other ethnic groups.  

The idea of a colorblind society may sound noble in theory, but in practice, it does more harm than good.  

In the United States, the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” are commonly used interchangeably to refer to people of Latin American descent but while “Hispanic” relates to all Spanish-speaking people (including Spain), “Latino,” in turn, refers to people of South and Central American descent, and includes Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Haitians, and Brazilians.

Every Hispanic country, whether in South or Central America, is filled with numerous racial backgrounds, traditions, histories, and even Spanish dialects and accents that sets each apart from the rest.

To deny our differences in skin color and accents is to deny that there’s political and social justice that needs to be fought for, and deniability isn’t in the slightest how progress is made.

We can’t celebrate diversity if we don’t open ourselves graciously to the ways in which we are different. There’s nothing unethical about acknowledging differences among people.  

The idea of a colorblind society is frequently brought up by non-Hispanic white folks as a response to the current racism we are seeing on a daily basis.

We see this with the whitewashing of Hispanic culture in films and otherwise. This goes to show that there exists racism within the Hispanic community. It’s toxic and racist as it erases the uniqueness of a non-white person because everyone is viewed as “the same.”

Rather than aiding in the advancement of Hispanic people, a color-blind society suppresses their experiences and concerns as minorities and ignores past oppressions of their people.

Such toxic ideas are unnecessary and have no place in our society.

It’s important to note the positive side of Hispanic culture. There is so much to be shared and so much to learn from the Latin community.  

The culture — encompassing food, the fashion, the varying accents and slang: all are deserving of their own attention and celebration.  But respect from outside communities is not something that should have to be earned or rewarded.

Sameness and equality aren’t synonyms, at least not in a social context.  The latter refers to being completely identical, which is a poor attempt of sweeping the issue under the rug.

Equality celebrates our differences and systematically, we are provided the same opportunities.

So the problem isn’t noticing differences, it’s allowing them to decide who is more educated, more economically stable and deserving.  

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the accomplishments of all Hispanics and puts a spotlight on their history in this country. Through these dedications, we hope to see progress that doesn’t involve erasing the prominent Hispanic identity.          


Photo taken from Flickr.

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