Color-blindness is a concept that the author utilizes to help the reader understand the different racial, ethnic or cultural dimensions that can be ignored or abandoned in that respect in order to build a society of tolerance. While this is a good idea, I seem to have certain reservations about it. On one hand is the fact that each of us has a proud part of themselves, emanating from their historical or ancestral point. It is therefore not possible that we can avoid the issue of color, especially when it is used to express diversity. For instance a case of the NBA stars of Black-American group can be credited for offering platform for an otherwise marginalized group to express their strength to an entertainment and economic sector. The stars such as Lebron James and Kobe Bryant can be cited as prime examples and models upon which the society can appreciate the diversity of colors. On the other hand, we live in a society that is built on opinion and we cannot explicitly eliminate the idea of color unless if we see ourselves as saints. All we can do is to impart or build a culture that focus on the positivity of color and not the stereotyping of color.
At personal level I have experienced certain levels of discord for my association with a group that focused on community health education for the lower income groups of Latin origin with high risks for cardiovascular and other chronic illnesses through the Tempe Community Action Agency. This did not go down well with my friends especially from my own racial group as they felt I was helping those who did not belong to ‘my type’ and ignoring those closer to me. While I did not relent in my pursuit of voluntary service to the affected community, I feel that there was no direct or indirect benefit for my oppressors if at all I had to quit my voluntary duties. All the same, they achieved a sense of satisfaction though without any valid reason for the harsh words they directed towards me and my entire group.
I feel that my membership in this community education program has benefited me in some way. However, I have to admit that this was not my intended objective at the start; I have in many cases been offered social work jobs my various companies that supported our idea especially those owned by individuals of Latin origin. In those that I have not been able to work with, my efforts to help someone else to take the same job have been rendered zero and at times I have been told that it is only the people of a particular racial group or those like me working in community programs for Latin groups that can be employed. In my view, this is an indirect form of oppression for other groups where there is an unwritten rule in seeking employment.
Crime and the Black Americans: there is a long standing relationship including statistical figures between crime and the role of Black Americans in the vice.
Latin Americans and drugs: The emergence of drug lords especially in Latin America, fuels the perception that all individuals of Latin origin have a close association with hard drugs and substance use or sale.
Arabs and terrorism: The ‘September 11, 2001’ deadly terrorist attack and subsequent attacks elsewhere in the world and their relation to the Arabs and Muslim community has all along tainted the image of these populations over time.
Latin Americans and immigrant populations: The high numbers of immigrants in the U.S especially those from Mexico has always created a perception that all Mexicans and Latin populations in America are immigrants who have fled their nations.
The September 11, 2001 attack is prime example of the truth of such stereotypes. In fact, years after the attack most people still hold reservations on the role of Arabs and Muslims in terrorism including those who have been born and raised in America and have no close connection with the nations perceived to breed terrorists.
In another aspect, the rise of Barrack Obama to presidency is a sure case of the new society that appreciates diversity and sees beyond the color or race. The whole aspect created a new perception of the Black community from juts the bad light of crime and poverty.
The biggest tragedy of life is when one has no ability to adapt and move on from a situation that at one time or another renders them inferior. One has to deal with the aspect of inferiority as directed to them by the society due to their association with a particular social group. Since ‘we cannot be what we are not’, we must learn the ropes of ‘being who we are’. This is entirely based on our attitude towards others social groups. When one views every other person from a different social group as there to their freedoms, then in their attitude they also have a stereotypic nature and which will haunt them for long until they learn to differentiate that within other social groups there are those that have radical ideologies and those that have tolerance.
Indeed, laws in their explicitly cannot resolve the longstanding stereotypes that befall our diverse society. It takes a personal, society and national initiative that encompass equality across social, economic, education and political dimensions. When a community is empowered and is at par or close parity with other communities, there tends to be significantly lower levels of oppression as opposed to when their exists inequalities. In my continued working with the Latin community as a volunteer with Tempe Community Action Agency in community health education, they have in many cases insinuated that they even fail to seek medical services because even the healthcare providers themselves have their stereotyped attitudes towards the Latinos. They will for instance question their nationality and their accessibility of insurance covers even before a primary diagnosis is performed. They are regarded illegal immigrants out here to trade in hard drugs. Personally, I feel I have role to play to help overcome this notion. One it is through serving these populations by providing them with the basics, including knowledge to help them maintain healthy lifestyle amidst poor aces to health services and the cultural and linguistic barriers. In my view, once they the knowledge barrier is shattered, then these people can essentially be able to look beyond the stereotype, identity their strengths and make a positive mark to the larger society, without necessarily living with the guilt of their identity.