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What’s wrong with saying you “don’t see color”?

[Source illustration: cienpies/Getty Images]

When I was younger, growing up in a predominantly white community in New Jersey, I remember being invited over to my friends’ houses for hangouts and dinners. Most of them were white, and their parents went out of their way to make me feel comfortable in their homes.

I learned early on how important it was to them that I validate their efforts, particularly when it came to issues of race. Often this took the form of parents and other adults in my life asserting that they didn’t “see color”—that they were, metaphorically speaking, “color-blind.” The obvious expectation was that this would reassure me as the “odd one out” that I would feel I was being treated just like any other kid.

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