An issue which the kerfuffle over James White's statements regarding the juvenile delinquent raised is whether Christians should be colorblind or view the world through a racial lens.
i) One objection to a colorblind policy is that race is an integral element of what we are. Hence, we inevitably view the world through a racial lens. And if we consider racial diversity to be a natural good, there's nothing wrong with racial lensing.
ii) However, there are problems with framing the issue that way. It's true that we inevitably view the world based on what we are. I can't avoid using myself as an ultimate frame of reference. And that includes racial identity.
But a racial lens is just a small part of that. What I am, and how that affects the way I view the world, is far more complex than the racial component. Even at a biological level, whether I'm male or female has far more intrinsic impact on my outlook than my racial genetics.
In addition, where I grew up, when I grew up, my parents, my social class, &c., are lenses through which I view the world. So we're talking about a multifocal lens. There's no reason the racial lens should be dominant. Each of us views the world as whole persons.
iii) Moreover, even though race has a biological component, when we talk about a racial lens, arguably the most significant aspect of race isn't biological but socially constructed.
Take Icelanders. Due to their relative geographical isolation, they've developed a fairly homogenous culture over the centuries. In a sense, you could say Icelanders see the world through a racial lens: they are paradigmatically "Aryan". Yet the racial dimension is incidental to the cultural lens. It's their time and place, rather than racial genetics, that's the constitutive factor.
Put another way, a cultural outlook is transferable in a way that racial identity is not. Take the question of Jewish identity. Is it primarily ethnic? Religious? Cultural? Historical?
For instance, you have philosophers who happen to be Jewish (e.g. Ronald Dworkin, Hubert Dreyfus, Saul Kripke, Hilary Putnam, Ludwig Wittgenstein), and then you have philosophers whose central orientation is Jewish (e.g. Maimonides, Abraham Heschel).
iv) Another problem with racial lensing is that race and ethnicity are not monolithic. Take a short list of Latinos:
Alicia de Larrocha
Jorge Mario Bergoglio
A Mexican migrant farmer
Do they view the world through a common racial lens? Isn't this a very disparate group of people? Differing widely in their nationality, social class, education, formative experiences, &c. Is it not hopelessly reductionistic to superimpose a single racial lens onto their outlook on life?
Put another way, who speaks for Latinos in general? Is there one particular vantage-point to appropriate?
v) A final problem with this framework is the need to distinguish between the racial lens through which a "person of color" views the world, and the lens through which Caucasians are supposed to view "persons of color". At least in my experience, when people commend racial lenses, they are saying white folks should view ethnic minorities the way ethnic minorities view themselves or view the world from that (minority) perspective. White folks should adopt the racial lens of the minority. That's a part of becoming sensitized to the outlook of those who don't share "white privilege".
But a problem with that recommendation is that it's a recipe for racial stereotyping. Telling white folks to imagine what it's like to be non-white is demanding that I treat an Asian (to take one example) based on my idea of what it's like to be Asian. My projected notion of minorities onto minorities.
This involves an outsider pretending to see things from the viewpoint of an insider. But unless I actually privy to their experience, that's highly presumptuous.
vi) This doesn't mean we can't ever get inside other cultures to some degree. For instance, if I have multiracial friendships, then I can gain some insight about what it's like for that person to be from Singapore. (Same thing with interracial marriage.) But that's learning about individuals from individuals. That's not applying a generic racial lens. Indeed, categories like "Asian," "white," and "Latino" are terribly coarse-grained. And operating with those categories can easily blind us to all the fine-grained differences within different nationalities, regions, religions, social classes, &c.