Colourblindness ain't all that

Part of the dust up over the Conservative Brotherhood was the claim that it was impeding progress to some ideal racially colourblind society. But here's the deal. I can think of at least one instance where racial colourblindness does a disservice to a lot of Americans. Cosmetics.

I have a friend who is a Mary Kay consultant. I've been a friend and customer of hers for a few years now. In the beginning we would try out the standard makeup colour combinations with some interesting results. Often these combinations didn't take into account the darker skin tones in the human population. Over the years my friend has worked to come up with colour combinations that work well with my skin colour.

For decades the cosmetics industry was colourblind. Their products where geared towards the only colour they saw, white. They were blind to all others. In recent years the industry has begun to realise that they could make more money by expanding their customer base to include women of various complexsions. The move has been slow though. Just about ten years ago I mentioned to some white friends of mine that I didn't buy much makeup because the options for me were limited. They stopped and thought about it for a few seconds and where horrified that I was right. They had been blind to the fact that the colour of my skin meant that my makeup options were limited. Makeup options are a bit superficial but there are real differences based on skin colour. If you're willing to ignore them in some quest for colourblindness then what other differences are you willing to ignore and not make provisions for?

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