"I just don't notice people's color," they say. "And if I do, it makes no difference to me." Sure.
Unfortunately, there's plenty of evidence to the contrary. Most recently, researchers at Yale conducted an experiment on eBay, the popular online auction site.
They put some vintage baseball cards up for sale. In the accompanying photos, some of the cards were held by a light-skinned Caucasian hand, others by a dark-skinned African-American hand.
Cards held by African-American sellers sold for about 20% less than those held by Caucasian sellers, and the race effect was more pronounced in sales of minority player cards.
So race -- or more accurately, color -- matters.
In fact, Dr. Beverly Tatum, president of Spelman College, told me it's probably a mistake to set out to be "colorblind," much less to pretend to be. I interviewed her for Otherwise and she told me, “Being ‘colorblind’ is not a good thing.”
“Race matters in our society," she said, "and it’s important to acknowledge that fact, not to wallow in it or to point fingers, but to recognize that some problems are influenced by negative racial attitudes.”
It's also important to realize that those attitudes aren't limited to the kind of people who trade baseball cards. Even those of us who think we're part of the post-racial world harbor unconscious bias.
Owning up to that is part of becoming Otherwise.