Fans of the Colbert Report are familiar with Stephen Colbert’s long-running routine about not seeing race (here is one of many examples during his interview with Michelle Alexander). Pretending to be a conservative talk-show host, Colbert often pretends that he does not see race and that we live in a society where skin color is no longer important. He is especially fond of emphasizing this last point given that we have a Black president in the White House.
Although Colbert is playing this role to get laughs from his audience, the sad irony is that the majority of conservatives and a fair number of whites actually subscribe to this point of view. The idea that race is no longer important in the United States becomes particularly evident when there are confrontations between Black citizens and white police officers. The fatal shooting of Michael Brown, the unarmed Black man who was killed in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, offers a prime example.