OK, so, have always prided myself on being color blind. Oh I don’t notice people’s skin color I say witheringly. Well I used to. I would get enfuriated when people said that it was impossible not to notice people’s skin color right away. As I got older, as I became a fighter for rights for my LGBTQ community I was forced to a realization. I do notice. They were all right. There is NO such thing as color blind. I, Heather Corinne Marlette, notice the color of people’s skin. Am I…racist!?!?!?
Even longer then I have fought for rights for my own marginalized community, I have fought racism and bigotry. So this was heart breaking. So I sat and thought. And I realized something. It’s not that I don’t notice skin color, because as I have realized of course I do. But I can breathe easy because I ALSO realized that I am not a racist or a bigot for a very simple reason. When I realized this I asked myself if I notice skin color how can I not be racist and the simple answer is…I notice skin color and realize that the only thing it tells me about a person is LITERALLY the color of their skin. As in pigment. So I know a person has white, brown, black, red, purple, blue skin. I know nothing else and therefore I proceed  on with – get this – getting to know the person inside that pigmentation. Craziness I know. I realize that I must be stuck at age 7. I do not make a decision upon meeting people as to their entire life and personality simply because of what Crayola I would use to make my rocking stick figure portrait of them.
The color of skin doesn’t tell me if the person underneath is gay or straight, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Atheist, spiritual, happy, sad, a football fan. It won’t tell me if they like baseball or soccer, if they are a Republican, Democrat, Socialist, conservative, liberal or Libertarian. I don’t know by how light or dark they are if they are a reader, do suduku, how they like to relax, if they can dance or if they wear contacts or have perfect vision. It won’t tell me if they are kind or nasty, if they like cats, dogs, neither or what their favorite color is. How do extremeists look at some one, see their skin color and automatically know where that person falls on the subject of O.J.’s guilt? Am I just slow that indeed I need to hang out with a person to find out if we have enough in common to hang out and be friends? Skin color means nothing, but you can identify the musical I just broke into right? No? Oh you like plays, yeah I love Shakespeare too…you haven’t lived until you hear me recite Puck’s closing monologue. Not a theater person? That’s sad. I will judge for that. I mean skin color is genetics but theater ignorance is a choice I can’t get behind.
I am holding paint swatches up here to try and place your exact shade, but close as I get it still isn’t telling me if you are a hipster, a nerd, a geek or an iPhone user. I mean, can you please tell me how skin color tells people if a person likes LOTR, plays D & D, gets inked at every opportunity or likes to go to the final frontier. Do they go to the hippest clubs all weekend? Do they have long debates on what the kids means in Empire and if George knew they were freaking siblings. Are you brave enough for Gryffindor, smart enough for Ravenclaw, loyal enough for Hufflepuff or sly enough for Slytherin? If I say goodbye with”May the odds be ever in your favor” are you going to get it…and books, movies or both? If I look at a  dog fight that ends in the participants licking wounds and sah still a.better live story then Twilight. I going to have to explain myself? Do you fight over Yankees vs. Redsox with your buddies, or is the fight more about DC vs. Marvel. PS I love me some wonderwoman but it’s Marvel and if you don’t like it get outta my multiverse.
I could go on for literal pages…but I think you get my point. So I want to change my tactic. I used to implore others to be colorblind. I get why you can’t be, but please, if I can be honest about it we all can be. No colorblindness fine. Understand though…color is nothing but a finishing touch. It’s the paint color that you have to look past to see if the structure of the house has good bones worth further investigation. The bones may not be for you, but don’t judge it by what is on the outside. We are all such complex, multifaceted beings, why can’t we all see that color ain’t no thing, but if you want to fight it out over whether Coke is better than Pepsi, we can have a valid debate.
So if you made it to the end of this, please take me up on the challenge to try not to care about what crayon you have to use to depict a new person you were introduced to and actual get to know them. I promise you, people can surprise you in as good ways as we are seeing bad in the news of today’s world. Let’s all hang in there together , arms linked, hearts connected, and minds open to be blown.

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