Emily Dickinson, at Home in Her ‘Full-Color Life’ (1936), by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Today, it may feel as though we are stuck in a 1950s-style time warp on the issue of the color of our skin and of our hair. We’ve been warned repeatedly that we live in a “post-racial America,” that our country was still far from being color-blind when, in fact, we were a rather tolerant and accepting country when people like Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin were alive. And now, we’re told that it’s time to accept people of all color and to start being color-blind. There’s a lot of truth in this message from so-called progressives, who have managed to persuade the world that the only way to solve race and racial issues is to “get out of the way.” These “progressives” tell us that if we just move to a color-blind America, we will end the race war and bring about the color-blind society we desire.
But here’s the thing about color-blindity from a psychological point of view. Color-blindness is a strategy for a person to remain in his ‘full-color life’ while living in a color-blind world. It’s a way to get around the idea that we’re all human in the same way. I find this idea, the idea that we are all human, to be quite liberating. I am human, not necessarily a color-blind person, but I am human nonetheless. We all have some fundamental commonality—the same genetic code and the same DNA, and the same desire and the same drives and emotions—and we all share the same fears and insecurities and pains.
My own feelings about color have evolved with my own personal experience. I like color. I find that it’s a good way to describe who I am. I feel good when I wear my