“Color blind” isn’t enough

NiceTry_ChorusFeature.0.pngThe Nice Try podcast is exploring utopias; the whole season is fascinating but I was struck by how well an episode about Levittown explained why the idea that we can deal with racism in this country by simply hitting reset and pledging to be “color blind” (a term that generally means “the speaker is clueless”) is ridiculous. Host Avery Truffleman talks about the development of new suburbs like Levittown in the context of a US where people of color were systematically excluded through restrictive covenants, lack of access to mortgages, and so on. The episode sheds light on how these systems of racial exclusion effectively robbed people of color of opportunities to improve their economic status, resulting in disparities in wealth and financial security that continue until the present day. It’s a good listen (as is the rest of the season).

This country is just starting to grapple with impact of our racial history, and the practical aspects of it – namely a centuries-long history of redirecting wealth from people of color, and now wondering “why have they not achieved more?” We’re going to have to deal with this one way or another.

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