Is it really possible for an American to not-see race? I specify American, because I know what it's like here. People I know who have gone or were born elsewhere tell me that it's different in such-and-such, but I can't speak on that. Never been there. I know this place, though. What got me on that question is this article in the Chicago Tribune (subscription required). The subtitle is "Mixed race couples find a world that's not colorblind." That got me thinking. Is there such a thing as colorblindness? Personally, I don't think it's possible. That's like when I hear the old standby, "I don't think of you as Black." Well then what do you think of me as? I had somebody tell me that in the middle of the summer one time. It would've been bad enough if they had said that to me in December, when I'm as close to brown as I get. In the summer, though? As much effort as I put into getting crispy? I was like, "You done bumped yo head." Listen, I understand the sentiment behind the statement. I know that's an attempt to say "Even though you're Black, I see you as an individual (with whom I get along)" or something along those lines, but my thing is, instead of exempting me from being Black, why not stretch your boundaries of what Blackness is? It's not necessary to not-know that I'm Black. Besides, I don't think it's possible. Of course this is all presented within the context of interracial romantic relationhships. Like I mentioned in the comments one time, I've played in the snow before, so I know a little something about it. I can't speak on what she thought, but I don't think you're ever unaware of your partner's physical appearance. Forget race for a minute. Guys, if your lady is physically stunning- look so good she got other women turning their heads- you don't not-know. You can't forget about it. If she looks rough enough to back a dog off a meat truck, you're aware of that too. And with the pretty jawn especially, you better not act like you don't know. That's an Acela Express to the doghouse. Same thing goes if she's wearing certain outfits or whatever else. So if you're not oblivious to any of that stuff, what's with the idea that we can be oblivious to race? That's as phony as a three dollar bill. It's not that you don't know the race, or are oblivious to it, it's that you don't allow it to be a determining factor. As with any physical characteristic, the option is there to get caught up on the trait instead of the person. So like I mentioned earlier in the spring, one of my boys likes girls with big butts. Ghetto blasters, we call 'em. The question is not whether he notices if she's packing a Lasonic or a clock radio; he can't help but notice. The question is whether that's gonna be a deciding factor in how he treats her. Same thing with race; you don't not-know a person's race, you just choose to respond or not-respond to that person as an individual towards whom you could possibly have romantic feelings. It's just that simple. See, I think somewhere we've conflated sameness and equality. (I know I said that last night. Maybe I like saying it.) Equality is me treating a woman appropriately because I respect her as an individual. That's different than treating a woman as if she's the same as another woman. (That's a freefall to the dog house!) By the sameness=equality concept, I shouldn't be surprised if Molly can cook collard greens so good it makes me want to drink the pot liquor. And maybe I shouldn't. But I would. I can't even think of a word for how surprised I would be. (The best I can come up with is "thunderstruck" but that doesn't even begin to describe it.) Maybe I'm off base on this one, but I don't think so. Like I said, the important thing is how I treat her. It's like the difference between being prejudiced and being racist. Just like we have falsely made sameness and equality to be interchangeable concepts, we have done the same thing with prejudice and racism. Personally, I think it only makes sense for a person to be prejudiced to a certain extent. You know what you know and that's all you know until you know something different. So to go back to my previous example, once Molly puts her foot in the pot, maybe I wouldn't be so surprised to hear that a white chick had done the thing to some collards. Until I see it happen, however, I will remain skeptical. Not saying that there aren't any white chicks who can cook greens in the soul food tradition, just saying I would be surprised if I met one. Just like when I used to know this Black chick who had NO soul, R&B, hip-hop, or gospel (traditional or contemporary) in her collection. Was I shocked? Sho' nuff. Did it have any bearing aside from the fact that I had to make sure I drove so I could control the stereo? Nope. I didn't think she was a sellout or try to make any larger implications about her personally, and that, I think is the difference between prejudice and racism (or whatever -ism). I think racism = prejudice + malice + action. (At least on a personal level. On a structural level, malice may or may not be intentional, but that's another post on another site.) I would say racism = prejudice + action, but I'm thinking that if Molly asked me what I wanted her to cook for dinner, my prejudice would keep me from saying greens & ham hocks. I'm not sure that's racist, though. But maybe that's just me. I'm prejudiced. And I know it.