Yesterday sitting around with a bunch of my colleagues was enlightening. One of the men joined the group of us and started out by discussing his ethnicity. He said “Yeah, where I grew up was a Waspy, all white neighborhood and they made fun of me because I was different and had a Latino name, but I didn’t speak a word of Spanish.” He was being funny, so everyone laughed, including me.

Then I looked around the room. There was a Filipino, two African Americans and a couple of Hispanics and me, white, Anglo Saxon…WASPy, I guess.

All week I have worked closely with my colleagues and never once did I see color, ethnicity, or even a bit of difference. I never see those things. To me, they are just people. It took someone who sees nothing but color and ethnicity, to make me even look. The realization made me sad.

I wondered why he told that story.

I wondered if he meant to single me out.

And then I remembered who I am.

I am not the one who is afraid or ashamed of being different. And then everyone went back to being just people I work with. Including him.

About Madeline Scribes

A writer with a sense of humor. If anyone can laugh at life, it's me.
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3 Responses to Colorblind

  1. When people are treated differently for whatever reason, they tend to become aware of the difference.

    It is good to be colorblind—

    I once had a co-worker, tell me that what she found impressive about me was that I seemed genuinely color-blind. She is African-American. I thought of her simply as Lynette; someone I admired and whose insights and sense of humor made her a delight as a colleague.

    I didn’t see her color until she told me I was blind to it.

    I can be colorblind in my white skin, but can Lynette afford to be colorblind?

    What she was saying was that all of the colorblind whites she’d met I seemed to be colorblind for real.

    It may be that your Latino co-worker was trying to make you and everyone else in the room feel comfortable with him.

    People tend to internalize their experiences from child-hood and for some of us it takes time to realize that we no longer have to use strategies to adapt to abuse.

    I’m sad for your co-worker too. It sounds as if he was treated very badly and it left him scarred.

    Very interesting post.


    • His interjection into our conversation and what he said has stuck with me for a long time. I think you’re right though. He must have had some terrible experiences growing up for this to be something he felt he had to bring up to us. My only hope is that I was not a trigger for him. He’s a nice enough guy to work with, but I always keep this in mind when he’s around now.


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