Color Blindness by Alice M. Pollock


Peter, in Grade 3 and his Uncle Brian, in Grade 9, were going shopping, both color blind. Peter said, “I think I should by a pair of purple pants like Brian’s.” Brian’s previous purchase wasn’t purple, but was of a colour suited only for “Little Black Sambo”.

Peter’s color blindness had recently come to light when we discovered that it is a family trait. Controversy over colors between Peter and Brian is highly amusing. We laughed about the pants. Peter, rather defensively said, “Well, anyway, I had more colors in my sky at school than anybody.”

Brian’s eye defect had just been discovered too. A girlfriend and he had a mutual dentist. She said, “I’m not afraid I just look up in his big blue eyes.” “His eyes aren’t blue, they’re green” answered Brian. He came home and wanted me to affirm it. I took him for an examination.

On my next trip to the dentist, I told him this story. He informed me that he is also color blind. He said he was in college before he found out. “How?” I asked. “I was painting a cow and it didn’t look right to me, so I had my eyes tested.” “What color were you painting it?” I asked. “Green”, he replied “and I wanted it red.”

Brian’s brother Jack was working on the railroad when he had a chance to advance a little, with considerable more remuneration. It required an eye test. Having found out shortly before that he was color blind, he was afraid he would goof on the test. He did. His fellow employees had briefed him thoroughly. “No matter what you think, no matter what they show you, the colors will be such and such.” He stuck to the colors, no matter what he thought. Brotherly love or brotherly humour? At any rate another job was saved for someone.

Will someone educate the educators to detect color blindness in our youth? Children are smarter than we think. They cover up their imagined color stupidity very successfully, at home and at school, but, in so doing, must create within themselves a bit of a psychological problem.

Their color blindness certainly creates one at home. Brian would wear thin an intemperately coloured shirt while some of pleasing color would just gather dust. I had to grin and bear it. Now, that we know, a better understanding on both sides exists.

Brian’s story was that they just didn’t teach him his colours in grade one.

Jack didn’t have a story. He just wouldn’t finish his art work, even though that was all that stood between him and his diploma. He said he used to look at the other pupil’s paint boxes to see what color they were using.

Teachers, if a sky has too many colours, you might check the ground too.

A test for this defect is simple, quick, yet doesn’t seem to be included in an examination unless requested.

Color blindness can be funny but it can also be a problem. We need a little more togetherness on it.

Ps. Children in story – Alice Pollock’s grandson Peter Goslin, and sons Jack Pollock and Brian Pollock, written about 1937 (sic –note from Jayne, I’m thinking that should be 1957)

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