My son has a very acute sense of color. I'd say that he sees better than most adults. I don't say this to boast. I say it as an observation and to get to a richer point.
The other day, we were at a playground and we saw some terrazzo wall tiles in red, tan and green. I wanted to see what he thought of the multi-toned speckled material so I asked him what color the top tile was. He said "It's red. Just like a tomato." And he was right. It was a red that had touches of orange and brown in it; not a blood red, not a lipstick red, but like a tomato/tomato sauce red. I asked him about the lower color and he said, "It's green, like my pillow." Again, he was right on. He has a pillow case that is a very detailed view of a lily pond and the wall tile had the deep shade that dominates this fabric.
So, you may have guessed from the title, that my son is colorblind. Yet his sensitivity to tonal changes and recall from his memory bank are amazing to me. As a designer, I have a knack for remembering colors, too. If I see a color someplace, oh let's say my sofa, I can go to the store and usually pick accessories without a color swatch. Back to my son. He is colorblind, but he sure can see.
It's hard to know exactly how a color blind person sees. How can we recreate what someone else interprets in their brain? But we of the color viewing population might think they see things in variations of one tone. What do you think?
When we say we want a culture that is "colorblind," does that mean that people are to be seen as variations of one tone? As an East Asian, a Corean, am I to see others as variations of my coloration? that is, my culture, my experiences, my view? My skin color is toastier, with an olive tone. Not just the color, but my skin structure is thicker, tougher. My hair has a different structure, too, shaped differently, responding to chemicals and scissors in a very particular way. Or, as an American, am I to be seen as a variation of white? I'm talking about superficial qualities because I'm trying to tie this back to being literally color blind, like my son.
Figuratively, I don't want you to be colorblind.
I want you to see me.