Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Color Blind

I spent one lazy afternoon watching a romantic comedy on DVD called Guess Who which was about the snags of a cross-racial relationship (ie. white man and black woman). As I snickered at the hilarious antics of the black dad and his daughter’s white boyfriend, my niece, Nikka came in and out of the bedroom, glancing once in a while at the movie.

At one point, she stopped and stared at a scene and asked, “Why is the dad angry with that man?” I absently replied, “Oh, he doesn’t want that man to marry his daughter.” She puzzled over the scene of the dark-skinned father-daughter pair with the sparkling white boy sandwiched between them, and wondered out loud, “Why doesn’t he like the boy?”

Out of the mouth of babes.

I would have thought it was obvious just by looking at the stark contrast of skin colors...until I realized I was talking to a child. Nikka, at age 8, is still color blind. She still doesn’t have the grown ups’ tendencies of judging people by their externals.

How amazingly peaceful the world would be if we have not allowed the innocence of childhood to be polluted by the so-called wisdom of adulthood.

That short exchange with my niece forced me to look into myself: How "un-colorblind" am I? Do I size people up by what I physically see? Do I treat people differently simply because their skin colors are shades darker (or lighter) than mine?

A few days later, I watched another movie. It was also a color-themed movie but with a darker tone: Crash. The movie centered on two tumultuous days in the lives of certain individuals in Los Angeles, where the color of one’s skin becomes the trigger for the tumult. In some sense, it was painful to watch that movie as it depicts, in an “in your face” way, how all of us have a bit of racism coursing through our blood.

The tagline of the movie was “You think you know who you are. You have no idea.” Indeed.

We may not exhibit our racism in violent ways but it is there, just below the surface, waiting or something or someone to trigger it. Can we ever really return to the innocence of childhood and gain back the gift of colorblindness?


confidante said...

sus ginoo, di na ako makabasa ng blog bay sa subrang dami kini ng sinusulat. Piro wala namang kita, hehe. buti na lang nabasa ko ireng color blind. sabi mo nga, ay simple lang ang mga bata. Di tulad ko, kayod nang kayod, dami nakikita mali sa mundo.

Gypsy said... sound like a Dabawenyo speaking tagalog..sige, kayud ka lang, may kita ka naman...:-)