W Christian Consulting

What could you be doing better?


Many people take pride in being “colorblind,” that is, unwilling to recognize differences in the color of people’s skin.  Not only is it disrespectful to ignore such a significant part of a person’s heritage and cultural background, the example below is an illustration of how detrimental so-called colorblindness is to actually appreciating the person.

Follow the instructions in the image below.

ColoredWords-CorrectPretty easy, right?  If you aren’t actually colorblind, you should have gotten through the exercise relatively quickly and with little trouble.

Now, follow the instructions in this new image.

Not quite as easy, was it?  Your mind has to constantly remind itself to ignore the information that’s presented and your performance is impacted.  Even when the information (the word itself) was helpful, your brain might have been tempted to ignore it or even second-guess the perceived color.

In no way am I suggesting that we should accept misinformation or let our biases color (pun!) our perceptions.  The point is that when information is present–useful or not, it is hard for our brains to ignore it and we’re kidding ourselves if we claim that we can.

One of my favorite teams had a 30-something white liberal Jewish man, a middle-aged white conservative atheist man, an older white conservative Catholic woman, a young black conservative-leaning non-practicing Christian man, a young white conservative Catholic guy, and a black conservative evangelical Christian man. I miss the many rich and open conversations that we had about race, religion, politics, and money.  Instead of ignoring the diversity, we embraced it and we each grew in our understanding of one another and other perspectives on life.

Before we are candidates for a job or a promotion, patrons at a store, friends for someone’s child, or any of those other roles that we play, each of us is a unique and wonderfully made person.  We can go a long way in building relationships by acknowledging and even celebrating our differences rather than trying to ignore them and letting them constantly gnaw at us.