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The Effects of Colorblindness in Education

“I don’t see race. I just see people.”

“I don’t care if you’re black, white, green, purple, or polka-dotted!”

“We’re all just people.”


I’m sure every single one of you have heard these sayings in your life. In a perfect world, a perfect society, these would be the most amazing phrases in the universe. The problem is, we don’t live in a perfect world. I don’t think we ever will. In this world, phrases that people think aren't racist, actually are.


What does it mean to have a colorblind society? And how is it rooted to white privilege?


Having a color blind society means that one's racial classification does not affect a person’s socially created opportunities. Many people who choose not to see race or skin color, are also choosing not to see the racial inequities, the history of trauma, and the current trauma faced in a racist society.


Do we have a color blind society? Absolutely not.


People of color (BIPOC) have been taught that we will not have the same opportunities or the same experiences as our white counterparts. We know this. Many will explain that race and ethnicity do matter, it affects our opportunities, our income, and so much more.


That is how, unfortunately, it has always been. No matter how hard we work and how much we are willing to give up, white people will never have to work as hard. They fit the social standard. They are expected to be successful, to have an accomplished future, to live a comfortable life.


“White people, who are unlikely to experience disadvantages due to race, can effectively ignore racism in American life, justify the current social order, and feel more comfortable with their relatively privileged standing in society.” Fitchburg State Library (Anti-racism resources).


A color blind approach to things allows an easy way to ignore or move past the talk about racism. Usually people who choose to ignore racism will address it by thinking, if you don’t talk about it, it will just go away, which is the complete opposite of what you have to do.


Color blindness in education and how it affects students of color


Color blindness has been rooted in education. Teachers do not want to acknowledge our race because that’s “not what matters.” We know it matters.


Race and ethnicity often play a very significant role in a child's life. It contributes to their behavior, their beliefs, and their culture. Teachers miss the opportunity to connect with their students when they wish to ignore race.


Though I understand why teachers say they are color blind when it comes to their students, recognizing that a student's race affects their learning allows teachers to be receptive to individual experiences. It also allows students to be more comfortable with themselves and more open to communication with their teachers and peers.


Confronting racism and color blindness

Teachers may feel hesitant to raise such a conversation about these topics but if handled correctly, educators can learn and easily engage their students in conversations about race. Whether they read about it, watch videos, or have small group seminars.


When opportunities like this arise, it would help if not just students but other educators understand the different perspectives of their students and help connect the past with the present. It will not only help educate, but it will also help set up a safe and respectful classroom environment.


5 comments

5 Comments


Yan Victor Oyama
Yan Victor Oyama
May 17, 2022

Livia Rollie claims in her paper "The Effects of Colorblindness in Education" that instructors who pretend not to recognise pupils' color and ethnicity harm them. I agree with this statement since not appreciating diverse cultures leads to varied difficulties for pupils. Some parents are more strict than others, therefore a poor grade in the book, even if just briefly, might have an impact on a student's home life. They may be grounded for an issue that will be resolved in a few days. These cultural differences have a significant impact on performance, and neglecting them is a disservice to kids.

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Steven Ly
Steven Ly
Mar 04, 2022

In her article, "The Effects of Colorblindness in Education", Livia Rollie makes the argument that by teachers being 'colorblind' to a student's race, the potential connection and discussion about race is not possible, and thus not acknowledging their culture and race. I do not agree with her argument. While it is true that teachers being 'colorblind' to a student's race can create situations where a student may not feel acknowledged for their race or feel that they cannot speak up; however, more times than not, bringing up the discussion of race is difficult and often awkward. By bringing up race, the teacher can inadvertently single out a student and put them in a position where they are different from everyone…

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Arnas Bananas
Arnas Bananas
Mar 04, 2022

In their article, "The Effects of Colorblindness in Education", Livia Rollie states that students should be acknowledged for their races and not have them be brushed off as something that doesn't matter. While I agree that the "I don't see color" ideal is quite ignorant, so is the opposite approach. It's honestly just a personal thing that each individual person should decide. I'm white and I personally just don't care whether you make it a big deal or just brush it over but the kid sitting next to me, whether they're black, white, Hispanic, etc., may want to be acknowledged for it. It should include a one-to-one conversation with the teacher and let them know exactly what the student feels.

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Sydney Rodriguez
Sydney Rodriguez
Mar 04, 2022

In her article, "The Effects of Colorblindness in Education," Livia Rollie argues that teachers refusing to see the race of students negatively impacts a student's learning dynamic, which I would also agree with. As a minority myself I have heard the saying as Livia stated, "I don’t care if you’re black, white, green, purple, or polka-dotted!” many of times. When teachers deny to see a students race it means that they are refusing to see you. My culture is a large part of my identity so when I hear someone dismiss my experiences as a Latina creates an unsettling dynamic. Race is a controversial topic that needs to be handled in a mature way but when talked about opens up…

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In her article, "The Effects of Colorblindness in Education," Livia Rollie argues that students are negatively affected by educators pretending not to acknowledge their race and ethnicity. I agree with this statement because not acknowledging different cultures people come from gives those students different hardships. Some parents would be more strict on certain things, so having a bad grade in the gradebook, even temporarily, could affect that student's home life. They could be grounded for something that will be fixed in a few days. These discrepancies within cultures affect performance greatly and ignoring them is a great disservice to students.

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