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Do Whites Realize How Often Blacks Think About Their Skin Color?

Luke Visconti’s Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.

Ask the White Guy Luke ViscontiQuestion:
Do whites realize that the majority of blacks are reminded on a daily basis about the color of their skin and how that color may have some effect on the outcome of their day? Do whites even think about their skin color, other than trying to tan it? Skin color is a constant reminder to blacks of their position in this society, whether it’s through the media, at a store, at work or just walking down the street. Blacks, in general, are used to it, it’s not something we lose sleep over, it’s been this way for so long. A perfect example, do you think America is ready for an African-American president? Because of the color of a person’s skin, a qualified candidate may be forced to pass up an opportunity of a lifetime. Whereas a qualified White person’s skin color wouldn’t even be an issue. Just curious about what the White Guy thinks.

Answer:
In my experience, most white people never think about their own “color.” Ironically, white culture is not understood by white people because they find it “invisible” (normal).

Is America ready for an African-American president? A recent Gallup study, “Employee Discrimination in the Workplace,” inadvertently highlighted just how far we have to go. In the conclusion they glowingly wrote of the progress our society has made by reporting that “93% of Americans say they would vote for a ‘well-qualified person for president’ nominated by their party ‘who happened to be black.'”

It’s a statement that highlights the enormous blind spot the majority culture has.

Approximately 20 percent of Americans ARE black (African American, Caribbean, black Latino, etc.) I’d assume that close to 100 percent of black people would not discriminate against a “well-qualified” black candidate. If you net black people out of the potential voter pool, you can see that it would be very difficult for a black candidate to be elected because many white people would discriminate based on nothing more than black skin.

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