What does it mean to be colorblind?

Plate4It shouldn’t come as any surprise to you that I am colorblind. Out of the 800+ posts I’ve written on this blog, I’ve mentioned it at least twice (Jokes at My Expense & I am colorblind in a color-coded Christmas wonderland). But for some people, it is still a novelty to learn of my minor disability.

For the lengthy scientific answer of what color blindness actually is, read up on this incredibly boring Wikipedia article. For the quick and dirty version, all you need to know is that eyeballs have rods and cones that allow us to perceive light and color differences. Colorblind folks have some messed up cones that make it impossible to differentiate between certain colors.

What it does not mean is that everything is a shade of gray (unless you have achromatopsia, but that doesn’t even really count since that is a failure to understand color differences not a failure to see them).

In fact, I would posit that aside from the obvious differences in color perception ability, color blindness is a meaningless condition. I mean, a big part of what I do everyday at work is create ads and other visuals to promote products, events and sales. Granted, I will occasionally ask a fully color-perceptive co-worker for verification of a specific color, but I make do pretty well on my own.

And in case you think that I’m just getting defensive, know this. Emerson Moser (distant relative?), one of the top crayon makers at Crayola revealed after 35 years in his job that he was colorblind. He only revealed it at his retirement. How crazy is that?

So what does it mean to be colorblind?

Not a colorful thing.