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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Is That Broccoli or Cauliflower?

I actually am colorblind in real life (opposed to the many things I am in my fake life – not colorblind for one, a superhero for another … you get the idea). And before you ask (because I know it’s coming), yes, I know what color your t-shirt is. No, Christmas doesn’t suck even though I’m sure I’m missing out on some impressive color combinations on those fancy light displays. And no, I don’t get to park in the handicapped parking spots at malls. Jerk!

I have an idea for a book that involves a kid with colorblindness. I haven’t got it all sorted out just yet but it will involve more than just the trials and tribulations of wearing mismatched socks. Still, because it’s been on my mind for the last few weeks, I figured I’d bring it up here since a lot of people don’t really understand what colorblindness is or how it’s even identified.

First, I do see colors. While there are some people who only see in shades of gray, most “colorblind” folks are like me and just have difficulty with some colors. To give you an example, if you were to paint a wall completely red, and then write a word on that wall with green paint, It would be tough for me to spot.

Below are some slides from the Ishihara Colorblindness test. If you see the same things I see, you’re probably colorblind.

Okay, *rubs hands together* let’s start:


I don't see anything

Um ... a squirrel?

A zombie-squirrel?

I don't like this game.

I see circle with dots. Lots and lots of stupid dots!

I see rage. Just rage.

I see the squirrel again, only I better not say what it's doing. Bad Squirrel! BAD!

Okay, that was a bit more depressing than I thought it would be. I usually can see a couple of the numbers in those circles (yes, you're supposed to see numbers in there). If you're like me and only see something in the first circle, please stand by. Your "Trust Me, I'm Colorblind" T-Shirt is in the mail.

That said, I can't end this blog post without giving colorblind folks an edge. There have been some studies that suggested colorblindness can be an advantageous mutation trait. Here's a short snip from THIS article:

Color blindness is not always a disadvantage, according to University of Calgary primatologist Amanda Melin and her colleagues, who found that wild color-blind capuchins in Costa Rica are better at detecting camouflaged insects than individuals with broader color vision.

HA! You know what that means? It means that when the end of the world really does come, and everyone is living off of insects, my troop of colorblind hobos (yes I plan to have just such a troop) and I will be eating the bugs that none of you guys can see! So there.


Alisha Souillet said...

I loved this post! However, I am most definitly NOT colourblind. I can see all the numbers with no problems. Didn't even have to squint or think really hard about it :)
Also I love, love the sound of your novel idea!

Steven Whibley said...

Thanks Alisha.

I'm going to be interested, if I have a boy, to see if he has color blindness (it's pretty rare in girls).

linda said...

I've thought about writing about a colorblind character too -- not because I'm colorblind (because I'm not) but because some of my friends are. And somehow I always manage to forget that I know they're colorblind and say something like "what color watch should we get so-and-so?" or "which color looks better on me?" :P

But thanks for the tip about superior bug-spotting skills. I'm off to suck up to my colorblind friends before apocalypse strikes. ;)

Steven Whibley said...

Thanks for commenting Linda. If your colorblind friends don't let you join them on the great post apocalypse bug hunt (tentatively scheduled for December 22nd 2012 per Mayan prophesy), I'll see what I can do to get you on my troop of hobos.

Mahak Jain said...

I didn't think I was colorblind, but I struggled with the text written in green on a red background. I figured it out when I zoomed in, though.

Good luck with the new story idea -- sounds awesome!

Cynthia said...

Great post. My dad is color blink. Blues and greens are the worst for him. I'm looking forward to the book. Good luck with it. I wrote two children's books and sent them to agents. No luck there, working on YA right now, but would love to see my children's book in print too.

Eli Ashpence said...

I hate having to explain red-green colorblindness to people. Just like you, I can only see the image hidden in the first picture.

Let me just say you've inspired me to write my own post on the subject.

Steven Whibley said...

@Eli - Glad you liked the post. I'm going to head over to your blog and and check out your post.

Steven Whibley said...

@Cynthia - Good luck with the agent search. It can be a bit of a road, but I'm a big believer that perseverance and dedication to writing pays off in the end. thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

GREAT article! Where do I sign the list?

I'm supposed to have red-green colour-blindness as well, I prefer to call it male colour vision. I see primary clours and none of the pastels. White, light grey, pink, light blue are all the same.

The funny thing is I sued to mix paint for customers and I always (seriously ALWAYS) got it right. Thats without the formula even. They explained it to me that while I don't see the colours I see hue. Yep, I don't get it either. ;)

I can totally see how you could use it in a story.

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