When I was younger, I thought I was enlightened and would proclaim that I was “colorblind” when it came to race. I would happily befriend anyone and their race didn’t make a difference to me.
I was fortunate enough to attend a camp called “Anytown”. It was a camp where kids of all races and religions came together to learn about each other’s experiences and break down barriers that keep us from truly being free from prejudice. I quickly learned from them that being a minority is reflected in their daily lives in a way that I could never understand. Thinking of them in a “colorblind” way was dismissive of their life experiences and ignored a big a part of who they were as people. This applied to my LGBTQ friends as well. It was a valuable lesson to learn. It is important to treat all people equally without dismissing their identity in the process. Since my days at Anytown, I have worked hard to listen more intently to what my diverse friends are saying and have sought to use my “white guy” privilege to amplify their voices whenever possible.