Race matters should be colorblind

We like to think we’ve come a long way.

Our generation would never stand for segregation. We know the n-word is taboo. Slavery is a smear on our nation’s past for even the least open-minded of our citizens. We even devote a whole month to learning black history – we’re educated, right? Those dark days of our country are in the past, and it’s high time to move on, right?


The coverage of Hurricane Katrina illustrated that our communities are still vastly separated by race. Sen. Joe Biden described presidential candidate Barack Obama as “articulate,” as if that was some kind of surprise. Walt Disney just announced its first black princess ever.

In the past year, Kent State has seen alleged acts of police brutality aimed at blacks and ignorant awards given to the “blackest” white sorority girls. Just this past week, some students cried foul when a black man lost a campus election. Our local high school received a new paint job of an appalling variety.

Shouldn’t this all be in the past? Didn’t we cover this in the ’60s? Isn’t it time to move on?


Racism still exists, but people are often reluctant to discuss it. If a black person does, he is accused of “reverse racism,” of turning everything into a “race issue,” of being stuck in the past. ‘We’re equal now!’ the public cries. ‘Why can’t you just see that?’

Another minority group can’t bring it up. ‘Why aren’t you fighting for our rights?’ others ask them. ‘We already fixed the blacks’ problems.’

Whites can’t talk about it either. ‘Talking about it is what keeps it in the present,’ they assure themselves. ‘If everyone could just ignore race, all the differences would just go away.’

Ignoring race problems is what got us here in the first place. Sure, blacks and whites share classrooms now. There are no laws that keep them from marrying. Legally, no employer can turn anyone away on the basis of race. Our parents’ generation took care of those barriers.

Now comes the hard part: We have to be the generation that changes the inside of our country. The outside has come a long way. The insides of many have not.

Face the facts.

Have you ever heard about a white presidential candidate, a white church, a white studies degree? No?

That’s because, at least subconsciously, people just assume ‘white’ is the norm when there is no adjective. They still make that distinction when the adjective is ‘black.’

Tensions run high below the surface at Kent, in both the city and at the university. It’s difficult to address because the tangible instances are few and far between and, when they occur, most people quickly forget about them. They want to think these examples, like the students who painted Confederate flags at Theodore Roosevelt High School, are the exception.

In terms of outright discrimination, they have been. But racism, as well as sexism and heterosexism and any other -ism, still exists. And they will until people clear their minds of prejudice.

Discrimination is an act against someone. Prejudice is the mindset.

And there can’t be true equality until there is equality in everyone’s minds.

Racism isn’t a ‘black’ issue. It’s a human issue.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.