The Blueness of an African Butterfly

Source: Painting by JD Baez | Inspiration for The Blueness of an African Butterfly

Color blindness is a handicap,
a poorly constructed ideological excuse
to remain white while blotting out color:
attempting to blot out color on the basis of a lie;
a lie based on the assumption that the
Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Movement
were enough;
a lie based on the assumption that the election
of a black man as president
means I now live in a post-racial, colorblind society.

The weakness in color blindness is this:
In a feeble attempt to blot out color
lies a feeble attempt to put a mind at ease,
pretending not to see what is blatantly obvious:
a nation up to its neck in the hidden figures of inequality.

When you sit on an eastern beach and watch the sun rise,
do you not see the magnificent way the color lights up the sky, bouncing off the ocean like rays of pure gold?
Isn’t that magnificent color part of the beauty of the sunrise?

When you walk through a field of wildflowers,
do you not see the way each individual flower stands up straight,
blossoming with a burst of every color imaginable
— and some unimaginable?
Isn’t that magnificent color part of the beauty of a field of wildflowers?

Do you not see the bright blue body of a male peacock,
attempting to woo the affections of a female peacock;
mesmerizing her with the vibrant colors of his feathers?
Isn’t that magnificent color part of the beauty of being a peacock?

Do you not see shoes of every color in the closet of a woman,
choosing each for a reason and a season,
choosing each to match the colorful array of clothing
found in that same closet?
Isn’t that magnificent color part of the beauty of being a woman?

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Anita D Russell, Founder/CEO The Place to SOAR

Activism through Coaching | Author of Cultivating Change from the Inside Out: The Power of Being Human | Creating space for courageous conversation.