Futility of “Colorblindness”: Confounding Claims of Non Bias Reveals Biased Logic

In the Wednesday, September 2, 2015, Washington Post (print edition), there was a letter to the editor about a column by Lonnae O’Neal, “Punished for Mixing Wine with Fun.”

The issue with “colorblindness” is the desire to appear fair while also wanting to maintain the unfair, imbalanced status quo that believes in white hegemony.

The resulting logical twists and biased presumptions needed to advance the mutually exclusive positions are confounding and exhausting to comprehend. The legacies of slavery and other wickedness permeates throughout all systems of the United States of America, resulting in discrimination of all forms in very many situations. It is a tiring, persistent burden for the targets of such bias, one made worse with the claim of colorblindness.

What happened to the ladies on the Napa Valley Wine Train? According to the column, the ladies were asked to quiet down or exit, following complaints from other guests on the train. Upon arrival at a station, police were called to escort the ladies to a waiting bus. One of the ladies is 80 years old.

The company at first asserted its actions were for security in a Facebook post that was deleted. The chief executive officer, Anthony “Tony” Giaccio, later sent a letter acknowledging that the organization was at fault for the series of events that occurred.

[Author’s note: A similar situation occurred with a party of Latinas. It seems some people want to drink wine in absolute silence, except for train noise, perhaps there should be a quiet car and then permit conversations in other cars for other guests. Nevertheless, the action of calling the police for such a situation shows how racial bias informs a rush to judgment and calls for “extreme” punishment.]


I will now return to analyze the letter to the editor. The letter writer excuses that mistreatment in the name of colorblindness.

One method of advancing such colorblindness has three components:

  • Dismiss claims of racial bias,
  • Defend the status quo of white hegemony in the United States, and
  • Condemn/blame the person(s) who question the white hegemonic status quo.
Argument Quote from letter to the editor [blog author comments within brackets]
Dismiss claims of racial bias. “I’m not saying that the behavior of the train staff was justified, but I saw nothing in Ms. O’Neal’s column that supported her implication that the complaints were motivated by racial bias or jealousy of the women’s joy.”

[The basis for the writer’s conclusion was absent from the letter. The writer despite her disclaimer is indeed justifying the action of the train staff, for which the CEO of the train provided an “apology” to the affected ladies.]

Defend the status quo of white hegemony in the United States. “This unfortunate affair could have happened no matter the racial makeup of any group disturbing others.”

[Perhaps, or perhaps not. Anyway, we have a real claim presented that should be resolved. The letter writer’s claim is nebulous and hypothetical as well as ignores completely the column and the ladies’ story.]

Condemn/blame the person(s) who question the white hegemonic status quo. “Looking for racial connections when there are none only makes people of different races more resentful of each other.”

[The letter writer has completely abandoned her apparent balance and denies the story of the ladies and the column despite not presenting any facts. She concludes that there was no racial connections. How that conclusion was reached again was not explained. The letter writer assumes that there is racial equality existing and that the complainants broke the harmony. But no such harmony exists: The United States was built with the labor of enslaved human beings and its social order of white hegemony is sustained by continuing systemic discrimination to nonwhite people. The letter writer seems to also resent that the column was even written at all.]

The society of the United States has much work still to improve its society and culture from the depths of chattel slavery, the minstrelsy period, and Jim Crow exclusion. It will continue to be an arduous task because the social majority benefits from the mistreatment of others.