I know.  You are used to seeing and hearing Love Sees NO Color.  Perhaps we can flip the script a bit today.

My first job out of college was as a middle school counselor at a county school in Minnesota.  I loved that job.  I loved the kids.  I felt as if I was doing good and needed work.  I was also pretty sure I had all the answers to solve the world’s problems.  Terribly wrong, but pretty sure of myself as a young graduate 🙂 I had strong opinions and varying views on social issues.  I had a lot to learn.  I should also note that I, as before mentioned in this blog, had a lot of pent up pain revolving around race.  At this same time in the 90’s , a new slogan was popping up on shirts, bumper stickers and was plastered all over the school walls…Love Sees No Color.  I actually remember wearing the shirt.  In reflection, I was not Staying True to myself.  I fundamentally disagreed.

I had been working at the middle school for about three years when I was presented with an incredible opportunity to help head up a local mentoring program.  I took the job.  It was a hard move.  I felt like I was abandoning the kids I worked with.  I remember crying to my father expressing my feeling and he assured me that by leading people I would have a greater impact on the community.  No matter how I sliced it though, it was a hard move.  So, I decided I was going to leave my mark.  Really make a difference upon my leaving. To do so, I wrote a letter to the principal expressing several of my opinions about things that needed to change and one of them was to take down the signs of Love Sees No Color.  I called my father and read him the letter.  He chuckled, told me that I had a lot to learn and advised me to rip the letter up and simply write the principal a letter thanking him for the opportunity.  I get it.  My father was right.  And as always, I followed his advice. But, my thoughts about this have stayed the same and now instead of just writing one person, I am writing to all of you.

Now look, I get the idea behind it and like that anyone using it is calling for better race relations.  We are shooting for the same thing.  But, I think it is time for us to look and think a little deeper.  To be a little more truthful about this.

Love Sees No Color cheapens people.  It’s the easy way out.  Not realistic.  Perhaps even a bit utopian. Politically correct.  It does not recognize the reality of our society’s ever changing demographic.  

Let me speak to what I am saying a bit.

“Ted, but you are not really black.”  Do you know how many times people have said that to me in my life?  Far too many.  This is why I say Love Sees No Color cheapens people.  This statement cheapens me.  As a matter of fact, it infuriates me and diminishes my experience.  Despite the fact that I get that the person saying it thought they were giving me a compliment, it is far from one.  Unfortunately, what they actually did was tell me what they really feel about black people, of which I am one.

I get that we say things like, it only matters what is in the inside.  But, is this realistic in our current state?  I don’t think so.  Fact is we make judgements based on skin color and never get the chance to get to know other’s “insides”.  We are no where close to being able to fix anything adopting a concept like Love Sees No Color.  Fundamentally if you don’t have respect for and appreciate my pretty brown skin, how can you possible love me?  You can’t.  If you convince yourself that I am a good person and therefore can dismiss or forgive my brown skin, I can guarantee there will eventually be an end to our relationship. Trust me, it has happened to me.

It is important to note that I am not only talking about white’s perception of blacks.  I am referencing my experience but am fully aware that unfortunately the perception of white people for many black people is daunting.  Although, interesting enough I have never heard a black person say, “Hey Daniel, I don’t really consider you white though.”  Furthermore, I am including all the many shades of color we see in our society today.  People want to be appreciated, loved and respected for all of what they are…externally and internally.

To say that we don’t see the color of our skin is in so many ways ludicrous.  Look at all the recent headlines that directly relate to skin color.  Couple this twist in thinking with my earlier post about making judgements and we might make more realistic strides.

Perhaps we should choose to adopt the notion that LOVE SEES COLOR.  For me I would much rather have someone appreciate my pretty brown skin and then, and only then, pursue getting to know me.  This fundamental respect could save us some pain and disconnect later.

I am simply trying to get you to pause and think about this for a minute.  I don’t want to go on some rant.  I know that many people have opinions and views on race and I surely have my own.  This particular statement has always unnerved me despite understanding it’s intent.  Over and over again I just feel it cheapens people and what we are truly trying to get better in this country.  I am calling for deeper and more realistic thinking and understanding.

If we are going to have lasting change then we must get real with ourselves.  Our varying colors and shades of colors need to be appreciated. Color does matter….just like I said in my post, Not So Black and White.  

We should be striving for full appreciation of the diversity we are blessed with, not minimize or dismiss it by urging people to not see color first.

Please do not take what I am saying out of context or as an attempt to diminish anyone’s effort to improve race relations. Perhaps I simply want people to understand that saying something like love sees no color or “Ted, I don’t consider you black” can be taken negatively and be more damaging than helpful.  Much of what I am talking about is accepting and appreciating physical differences and then looking beyond them for deeper, meaningful connection.  A connection based on dismissal of a part of someone is not a true connection.

I get that this is a different take on a commonly used phrased.  Unfortunately, it is commonly used without taking the above thinking into account .  It is so common that when I googled Love Sees Color all I could get is Love Sees No Color.  Perhaps a much needed and unique flip of a script.



Stay True,





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  1. Ted, man, I’m binge reading the posts and getting caught up on all things Ted’s Truth. You knocked another one out of the park. Great observations. Additionally, I think some of us parents want desperately for our children to be accepted AND be accepting; we want this so much that we neither instruct our little ones to feel pride nor shame about their appearance, not realizing that many of them are learning to feel ashamed of themselves when left to learn about race from the world at large. If more of us spoke with our kids about pride in oneself as well as appreciating the beauty in our diversity… Imagine how much progress we’d make in one generation.

    Keep making us think! It’s great.

  2. Love this. I can’t tell you how many times people have said … “aw, you don’t look Asian…” As if it’s a curse. Or I loved the time I met a woman (Asian) for the FIRST time and she took one look at me and called me “FAsian”…. yes, like fake Asian. huh? Or at the makeup counter…”oh I can help make your eyes look less…… hooded?” Really?? I know there was no ill intents, but really people? I am proud of my heritage and want it to shine through. But yes, there was a time as a kid I would have loved the above comments. 🙁 Love your message. Thanks

  3. Hi Ted, thank you for a very thought provoking post. It is about appreciating the diversity of others and seeing the value of their perspective. This past week I completed an online form and was asked for my race/ethnicity. I usually check a few or just if I can’t just click other. My mother is Taiwanese, father born in Detroit considered White but parents born in Poland. I am Jewish but raised with both Christian and Jewish holidays. While visiting family in Taiwan I was told I am American and not Taiwanese and in America told I am Asian…. Like in many religions, I consider myself practicing but many think I am not up to their standards and many think I am too serious. So there are so many labels people apply at the end of the day there is no label. I am just me. A father, husband, son, friend, etc. that happens to not eat bacon.

    we are just people, children of G-d who should all be appreciated for all they are.

  4. Of course I can relate to this as you know being my brother. Just a few weeks ago my friend said to me “your such s white girl” bc I liked the Gap and said it to me again bc I wasn’t going to see the Straigt Outta Compton movie. And she is white! It really bothered me but I didnt say anything. What defines black/ white/ Asian?? This is something I/we will have to deal with for all out lives. Thanks for sharing another great read. Xoxo

  5. I absolutely love this and couldn’t agree more. Differences are important. If we were all the same, then we would all bring the same things to the table. Teams, partners, friends, are only truly great because we each bring something the other is missing – even perspective. Race, ethnicity, gender, and anything else that makes us different should be seen as a good thing. It is through embracing each other’s differences (and our own) that we can truly be great – together. Love your perspective on this Ted.

  6. Thanks, Ted. Love sees all and loves anyway. As part of a different bi-racial community, I’ve gotten the same thing all the way around my whole life. “You count as white. You are mostly white. You’re not really white. You’re mostly Asian. You’re not Asian enough. You’re not the ‘right’ Asian.” I can’t win on any side – and as you said, since I’m the same person throughout, it’s a reflection on the speaker and not on me. One of the greatest things about our country is our diversity. But it’s funny because once we all get here, we struggle with diversity versus equality, difference versus sameness. Our diversity is a strength. We should celebrate it as one.

    Cheesy though it may be, there is a line from James Cameron’s movie Avatar that always stayed with me. “I see you” That’s really it, right? I see you. All of you. The good, the bad, the different, the same. I see you. And to me…THAT is the essence of Love.

  7. Ted – I absolutely love this piece. And I feel the same way – not just about the colour of my skin but also about the colour of my faith. I can’t tell you how many times I have received the offensive comment – albeit meant as a compliment – that I’m not really like other Muslims. That I am ‘Muslim Lite’. Here I am, a scholar of Islamic Studies, trying to represent, and instead being perceived as a watered down version of my identity.

    I’m a firm believer of going beyond tolerance, beyond acceptance, beyond assimilation… I believe in pluralism – recognizing and embracing diversity. You articulated this idea so well I just had to say thanks.

    Anisa Virji
    Managing Editor, Common Sense Living

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