Scholars Say Color Blindness Avoids the Still Important Issue of Race

Subini Annamma, an assistant professor of special education at the University of Kansas, is the lead author of an article that examines people’s claims of color blindness. The authors state that color blindness is really color evasiveness.

Dr. Annamma says that “when you choose to be ‘color blind’ you’ve made an active choice. There’s a paradox there, if you say you’re not going to see color, you’ve already acknowledged it.”

Dr. Annamma says that professions of color blindness tell young people that their race or ethnicity doesn’t matter or isn’t an important factor in history or their everyday lives.

“When we say ‘I don’t see color,’ what we’re saying is ‘I see you as white.’ White becomes the default,” Dr. Annamma said. “We also see a lot of scholarship in education that doesn’t want to talk about race but does want to talk about racial outcomes. People want to talk about racial disparities in education and unequal outcomes but often don’t want to talk about the racial experiences that led to those outcomes.”

Dr. Annamma is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

The article, “Conceptualizing Color-Evasiveness: Using Dis/Ability Critical Race Theory to Expand a Color-Blind Racial Ideology in Education and Society,” was published in the journal Race Ethnicity and Education. It may be accessed here. The paper was co-authored by Darrell Jackson of the University of Wyoming and Deb Morrison of the University of Washington.

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