Maybe Our Goal Isn’t a Colorblind Society?

I had an epiphany about race relations in America while enjoying the NFL Conference Championships games of all things. The epiphany is this; maybe I am wrong and others are right. It wouldn’t be the first time and in no way would it be the last time. Maybe my goal for the world and for America is the one that is askew. Maybe their philosophy is the dominant one and I am in the minority. This is my goal for America; I want a colorblind society. I live my life by that tenet. It–along with individualism, personal responsibility, and a belief in a higher power–is what constitutes my faith. I believe a colorblind society should be the goal for all Americans.

I have assumed–throughout my entire life–this was the goal for all Americans. But our current discourse is making me realize maybe this isn’t the goal for even most Americans. This epiphany finally struck me upside the head because I couldn’t understand a tweet I came across.

There are so many things about the original tweet that strike me as the antithesis of Martin Luther King Jr’s dream. This tweet is an explicit congratulation to “Bruce Arians and his staff” because “he is a true ally.” He is a “true ally” because the “Bucs are the only team in the NFL with all of the major coordinators being black.”

Terrible grammar aside, what the hell? An ally? A “true ally?” In what? The fight against racism? Why? Because he employs four black coordinators? Is that fighting racism? I assumed he hired Byron Leftwich, Todd Bowles, Keith Armstrong, and Harold Goodwin because he wanted to win. As proven by the fact they are now in the Super Bowl.

As somebody that loves sports and meritocracy above all else, I see looking at skin color as a sin. Not just a sin, but a damn good way to make sure you are not putting your team’s chances of winning at the forefront of your team-building philosophy. You know, the point of professional sports.

In a Colorblind Society, There Needs to Be a Threshold

Maybe I don’t get it. Maybe this is just an “enlightened act.”

But my hope for America is indeed a colorblind society. So when I see a post congratulating Bruce Arians specifically because he is an ally that employs four black men, I absolutely see that as the antithesis of MLK’s dream. If that is “breathtakingly ignorant,” damn, I want to be breathtakingly ignorant.

Because I still have not received an answer to the following question; if we are to fulfill MLK’s dream, and live in a society where we are judged for the content of our character rather than our skin color, why do people keep pointing out skin color? If we are to achieve this goal, there needs to be a point where people simply stop doing this. So my question is, “At what point is enough… enough?”

I am completely and utterly hung up on this question. Because no amount of statistics or positions of power seem to be the answer. What is the threshold? Where is the point where people–if they indeed want to follow MLK’s dream and live in a colorblind society–will say, “we have reached that point?” Will it be when there is an entire black coaching staff?

Was Mike Tomlin‘s Super Bowl win less of an accomplishment because Dick LeBeau was his defensive coordinator? To me, the only thing interesting about the way Mike Tomlin looks is that he is such a doppelganger for Omar Epps that House M.D. made a joke about it.

If the Bucs win the Super Bowl, is it less an achievement for the black cause than Tomlin’s because Arians is white? Were the 2014 and 2016 Patriots’ Super Bowl victories less impressive and less of a cause for celebration for black America than 2001, 2003, and 2004? I am in no way asking a rhetorical question, I want an answer to this; when will it be enough? Because unless you actually have an answer to that question, the answer is, “never is enough.” Maybe that is what people want. Maybe am the ignorant one for wanting the opposite.

The Question Matters Because it Has Real-World Consequences

This is not just for the world of sports. This question needs an answer because it has real-world consequences. Many people thought, “when we have a black president.” We had one. It did nothing for race relations. In fact, his constant harping on race and skin color caused a further divide in the country. Looking at race around every corner hurt the country. Why? Because when you make race the focal point of every issue, everybody looks at race in every issue. That is how you get the CDC coming up with vaccination guidelines that would get more people killed!

The answer is to stop looking at skin color and become a truly colorblind society. When will this levee break? Is it a position of power? Is it a certain number of people with the right complexion in power? It isn’t statistics or studies because studies that don’t jive with “personal or lived experience” are discounted. Are we just going to go until this all becomes absurd? That’s what it looks like to me.

That is why we need to stop celebrating skin color. Four black coordinators? Umm, congratulations? Is America good now? Can we stop pointing out immutable characteristics in connection with every accomplishment? Why stop there, and why just with blacks? Do we now need an all Hispanic coaching staff led by Juan Rivera? Do we need a Latin president? Or is a Latina president better? But wait, what goes first? Puerto Rico? El Salvador? Or Brazil?

Obama is of Kenyan descent, right? So I guess we’re still short on the black American checklist. Do we need to check off Jamaica too? Haiti? Shoot. Asian? But, hold up, that’s a big continent. Which Asian country gets represented first? Taiwan? Vietnam? North or South? What about Russia? Every time you point out immutable characteristics you are driving the wedge deeper and separating America and Americans more and more.

I Live a Colorblind Life, Try it Out, You Might Like It

Yes, every time you go, “Hey, look! This person’s skin color matters” is another day where we get pushed further away from MLK’s dream. So yes, please, call me “breathtakingly ignorant.” Tell me, “I don’t get it.” I want a colorblind society so I live my life like a colorblind fool apparently. My bad. Yeah, I bitch and moan and write when Jews continuously get their asses kicked in the streets of New York City, but I don’t need or want a Jewish president for validation.

I certainly don’t look at professional athletes and coaches and bemoan the lack of Jews in their ranks. Why? Because that’s not how I live my life. That’s not what makes them interesting to me. Oh, Sandy Koufax is Jewish. Awesome. Yippee. Sandy Koufax isn’t a badass because he is Jewish, he is badass because he threw his arm out and then kept throwing for another couple of years. The fact he is Jewish is just icing on the cake, but as a baseball fan, I would appreciate Koufax just as much if he were Muslim.

Why I Look at the World the Way I do

Do you want to know why I also live a colorblind life? It makes it so I don’t sound like a jackass all the time (I have enough of that problem as is). So when somebody like John Ossoff becomes the first Jewish senator elected by Georgia, my reaction is, “I don’t care.”

Why? Because I think his policies are terrible and he is a gross politician who knowingly lies. I judge him on his character, not on his Jewishness. If I cared exclusively about his Jewishness–a trait that theoretically binds me to him–I would blindly celebrate him as opposed to looking at his character and denouncing him.

And that is what we have become as a society. We are (ironically) blindly following people based on their immutable characteristics. MLK’s dream was to take a wide-eyed look at one another and peer into who they are as a person.

Byron Leftwich’s Character Made the Bucs a Winning Team, Not His Blackness

Byron Leftwich’s season as an offensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was not impressive because of his blackness. His season was impressive because his character drove him to win. He is the type of man who can look inside himself and go, “huh, I have Tom Brady. My offense sucks. Maybe I should ask for some help. Maybe try more running so I can open up the play-action game, and utilize more pre-snap motions; Brady’s specialties.”

THAT is character. It takes character to realize maybe you don’t have all the answers. His character defined this season for the Bucs. Not Byron Leftwich’s blackness.

So you know what? Yeah. Maybe I don’t get it. Maybe I am “breathtakingly ignorant.” Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa. I live my life the way I do because I believe a colorblind society is a better society. And maybe other Americans–an apparently increasing number of voting Americans–don’t live this way. Maybe their goal isn’t a colorblind America. If that’s the case, fine, you can have that America. I’ll continue to live life my way until I’m forced to do otherwise. We’ll see which way produces a better society.