When Being Colorblind Isn’t Enough

Kemi Owens-Hart
“I don’t see color!”

This refrain common to the most well-meaning teachers and friends has come under a lot of scrutiny in the past decade. The melting pot mentality of diversity in the United States that some of us learned about when we were younger was upgraded to a multiethnic salad when I was in elementary school. As opposed to the U.S. being a place where different flavors came together to become a dish that tasted great but whose individual flavors were forgotten, adulterated, changed and transformed into a homogenous soup, a “salad” mentality was born. Each ingredient retained its flavor, each hue and flavor was distinguishable and the benefits of a colorful plate were no longer relegated to metaphor. The more we mix, the better we feel, we eat colors at every meal. 
Now that we have traded places, occupying a different side of the teacher’s desk, we have the opportunity to frame the conversation in a way that makes sense for our own teaching context. The question is, how and where do we start?

Here are some questions to ask yourself before getting started:

  • What is race and what’s the difference between being colorblind and being antiracist?

  • What is my teaching context and who are my students?

  • How do I talk about these sensitive topics/current events with my students?

More SEL Teacher Workshops

Identity Workshops

Focus on teaching and supporting your students as they navigate their identity, explore their emotions and develop self-management skills

SEL Foundation Workshops

The SEL Foundations bundle gives you all the information, practice, and resources you need to use SEL-aligned teaching practices with confidence.

Healthy Well-Being Workshops

Learn how to teach students about their own well-being including trauma-informed teaching practices and decision-making skills. 

Workshops Community

Explore ways to teach students how to establish, maintain, and restore relationships with this Community Workshop Bundle.