“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
––Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Whenever people get into a heated discussion about race, you will inevitably hear someone attempt to shut down the conversation by saying, “Skin color does not matter to me. I am colorblind.”
As Inigo Montoya once said to bumbling Vizzini, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Like Dr. King, we want to live in a peaceful society where people are judged by their character and not by the color of their skin. So, on the surface (no pun intended), it seems logical to aspire for colorblindness.
But allow me to offer a slightly different perspective. I am actually colorblind. My eyes can’t distinguish certain shades of red and green. It’s usually not that big of a deal, but make no mistake, colorblindness is a disability. It limits my career options. I can’t be a pilot or a graphic designer. And worst of all, I have to check with Laurie to make sure I match before going out in public. Colorblindness is not a good thing, so we should stop claiming to be colorblind in terms of how we view other human beings. We may have the best of motives, but in thinking and speaking this way, we unintentionally communicate a lack of appreciation for the inherent beauty of “people of color.”
As Christians, we believe that colored skin of all shades was created by the Master Artist. Variations of color make even a fallen and broken world beautiful. Yet, it is still only a glimmer of what it will be. God is redeeming a multi-hued humanity to populate the future new earth! C.S. Lewis captures this post-resurrection reality in his chapter titled, “What Happened about the Statues” in his book, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
Aslan the Lion carried the children, Susan and Lucy, on his back across the Narnian countryside and into the Witch’s home. He leaped over the castle wall and landed in a courtyard full of stone animals and creatures that had been cursed by the evil Witch. Immediately, Aslan began to breathe on the statues, and slowly, the gray stone began to streak away “like a flame creeping along the edge of a newspaper” into living color. “The children’s eyes turned to follow the lion [as he went from animal to animal]; but the sight they saw was so wonderful that they soon forgot about him. Everywhere the statues were coming to life. The courtyard looked no longer like a museum; it looked like a zoo. Creatures were running after Aslan and dancing round him till he was almost hidden in the crowd. Instead of all that deadly white the courtyard was now a blaze of colors; glossy chestnut sides of centaurs, indigo horns of unicorns, dazzling plumage of birds, reddy-brown of foxes, dogs, and satyrs, yellow stockings and crimson hoods of dwarfs; and the birch-girls in silver, and the beech-girls in fresh, transparent green, and the larch-girls in green so bright that it was almost yellow. And instead of deadly silence the whole place rang with the sound of happy roarings, brayings, yelpings, barkings, squealings, cooings, neighings, stampings, shouts, hurrahs, songs, and laughter.”
What a beautiful picture of God’s multi-ethnic church! “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10).” Let us therefore repent of our colorblind ambitions and prayerfully grow to appreciate the beauty of all colors and types of people. To God be the Glory!