My maternal grandfather was color blind. He could only see shades of gray. Life for him was like the black & white TV of my youth. It did no good to describe colors to him; how could it? You can’t picture something you’ve never seen. To say “The sky is a beautiful blue today.” to him was like saying “The sky is a beautiful sygjkpwts.” to you. Neither of you has a reference for that description. I remember how sad I felt when we got our first color TV because I knew, while we were “oohing” and “ahhhing”, the picture looked no different to my grandfather than if we had been watching our old black & white TV.
I fared a bit better than my grandfather. I am partially color blind; a condition known initially as Daltonism but now referred to as Deuteranopia. I have difficulty with some colors and some shades of colors. When I was in the first grade (why it never came up when I was in kindergarten, I have no idea), my teacher asked me why I was coloring the grass in the picture brown. I said, “Because that’s what color it is.” and thus began my journey to discovering that not all colors were truly as I perceived them. Grass looked brown to me, whereas a lime did indeed look green, but the green of a traffic light looks almost white to my eyes. Most of my difficulty is in the red-green spectrum, but sometimes shades of purple look blue to me and lighter shades of orange appear yellow.
However technology is a wonderful thing when it comes to evening out the playing field, so to speak, for everyone. Enchroma, a company that makes glasses to boost color vision, and Valspar Paint Company, have teamed up to create the #ColorForAll campaign, which aims to create glasses for the color blind.
Take a look at the video here and watch what happens when color blind people see color for the first time. It is very touching, like it is when you see someone who is deaf hear for the first time.
I really wish my granddad could have experienced it.