I Don’t Want A Colorblind God

I recently watched a video that a young black man named Will Stack made after he was stopped in traffic and was NOT harassed, abused, shot, or killed by a policeman.

You can find that video, as well as news coverage about it, here. As I watched the video, something felt deeply uncomfortable to me, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, and as I engaged in conversation about both the video and the circumstances that led to the video going viral, my discomfort only deepened. There are several things about the video I find troubling, but I want to address just one. In his closing remarks, Mr. Stack states, “God doesn’t see color. Why should we?”

Here’s the thing: I don’t want a colorblind God. I don’t want a God that doesn’t see me for who I am. My friend Kawehi said it perfectly:

“I wouldn’t say God doesn’t see in color, but I would instead say God loves different colors. He doesn’t look at us as all the same because in order to understand us all and have the Atonement really make sense, He needs to understand every part of us and that includes our color.”

Amen, my friend. We are not the same. And that’s ok. We don’t need to all be the same to have equal value. I don’t want to be colorless, and I don’t want to live in a world where in order to be treated as equals we need to make the assertion that we don’t see color. I want a God that delights in all colors, not one that removes color from the equation. I want a God that sees me for me, and loves me BECAUSE of who I am, not a God who erases the parts of me that make others uncomfortable. When you say “why should we see color?” you are asking me why an unchangeable and irrevocable piece of me is important. It is important because it is a part of me, a part of my earthly existence, and a part of the way I experience and interact with the world and its inhabitants.

The God I know is not colorblind. The God I know created beautiful variety and subtle variations and did so with intention and with love. We need a color-embracing gospel, not a color-blind one. Start seeing whole people. Start acknowledging the beauty and strength that come with diversity and difference. And for goodness sake, stop saying, “I don’t see color,” because when you say that, you erase an important part of a Person of Color’s existence. My God is not colorblind, and we shouldn’t be either.

5 responses to “I Don’t Want A Colorblind God

  1. Brava! I hear this same idea often, but with the idea that kids (instead of God) are “color blind,” and that adults should aspire to the same. Which is so strange, because kids aren’t “color blind” at all! They are all about categorizing things, seeing and identifying differences, just as part of their development. What conclusions we draw from different skin colors is where we need to work, but ignoring those differences altogether or being uncomfortable about or dismissive of them isn’t the way to go.

    I love the way you examined this so concisely and passionately, Kalani. Well done. Couldn’t agree more.

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  2. “…kids aren’t “color blind” at all! They are all about categorizing things, seeing and identifying differences, just as part of their development. What conclusions we draw from different skin colors is where we need to work, but ignoring those differences altogether or being uncomfortable about or dismissive of them isn’t the way to go.”

    YES, sarakshanks. This is exactly what I see, too. Thank you for your insightful comment.

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  3. “We need a color-embracing gospel, not a color-blind one.”

    Amen, Kalani! Great post.

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  4. This reminds me of a hymn:

    Jesus loves the little children
    All the children of the world
    Red and yellow, black and white
    They’re all precious in his sight
    Jesus loves the little children of the world

    Or the response Azeem (played by Morgan Freeman) gave in Robin Hood:
    “Allah loves wondrous varieties.”

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  5. “I wouldn’t say God doesn’t see in color, but I would instead say God loves different colors. He doesn’t look at us as all the same because in order to understand us all and have the Atonement really make sense, He needs to understand every part of us and that includes our color.”

    Thank you, and thanks to your friend for that explanation. I’ve never been able to articulate that idea, but now you have.

    Like

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