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Viewing the World Through Different Colors

 

I am colorblind.

I can see colors but have trouble differentiating and identifying them.  I can see all the hues of fall in the leaves – just don’t ask me to identify their colors.  I learn to get by through association.  The American flag is red, white, and blue.  Coke cans are red.  Traffic lights are red on top and green on the bottom.  Cities with horizontal traffic signals can make driving interesting!

I discovered I was colorblind in elementary school when I failed a test.  We were asked to fill in certain colors, and some of the old Crayola’s had lost their label indicating color.  So, I guessed – wrongly.  Soon after, my dreams were dashed, as colorblind folks cannot become astronauts or fighter pilots.  I chose the only slightly less glamorous profession of public administration.

Charts and graphs are the worst.  The non-colorblind majority prides themselves on their multi-slice pie charts adorned with 12 shades of red.  As they point out the difference between periwinkle, crimson, scarlet, magenta, and raspberry, we color-challenged folks find ourselves hearing not their presentation but the unintelligible “wonk, wonk, wonk, wonk, wonk” like the voice of adults in the old Charlie Brown TV specials.

Clothes can be tough also, so the white shirt is my best friend.  I thought one of my favorite pair of shorts was orange, until after three years, I was told they were hot pink.  (They went to Goodwill).

When I brown sausage to add to my marinara sauce, I have to have one of my kids tell me that all the pink is gone. (Warning: eating food prepared by us colorblind folks may be risky).

Certainly colorblindness is really only a pesky inconvenience, and I am grateful for it.  People who are not colorblind find our malady so peculiar.  As I explain to them what it’s like to be colorblind, I am reminded that we all see the world in different ways.  Our world is definitely not black and white, and what some may see as crimson red others see as hunter green.

Those autumn leaves sure are beautiful – whatever color they may be.

 

Thanks for all you do.

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Submitted by Anthony Romanello

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The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

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