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  Crystal Jackson                                                                 Dec 16th 1999 
 

Iím the mother of a 10 year old boy who is color blind and although I lived my whole childhood with a father who is color blind, I still am caught off guard by the difference in the way we see color. Yesterday was one of those days.  We were sorting M&Mís to decorate holiday cookies. To my daughter and I, M&Mís come in red, green, brown, yellow, orange and blue. For my son there are three colors; red/brown, blue and every thing else.  Imagine doing maths in those new books that say ďcount the green M&MísĒ,  ď How many more yellow M&Mís are there than orange?Ē  Our school uses these books no one had ever considered this problem until I complained. Even with 10% or more of the male population having some degree of color blindness, I have had to fight every step of the way to get my child different class work that is not color based.  Even in our small school, one yearís teacher to the next does not share information about the fact my child is color blind. When volunteers arrive, they are never told of this difference, which has lead to chastising my child about his work in front of the whole class.  What a horrible experience this must be for a young person.

 

 

 

 

Ellen Decker                                                                 Jan 1st 2000
 

This is about my son, Michael.  He is a brilliant young man of 20, studying the Classics.  Yes, he wants to be an archaeologist of Ancient Mediterranean Civilization.  Itís his passion.  He is good at it.  He is a summa cum laude Junior.  He is color deficient.  What is so remarkable, is that when he began his college career, he already knew of his problem.  We had struggled for years with it.  When he was 5 years old, I was told that he was depressed and deeply disturbed, because his favorite color was black.  I always thought he was just living to the beat of a different drum, because he was so smart, and talkative, and yes, just a little odd.  Adorably odd, I thought, because he was so smart.  No, the professionals told me it must be because I was single mother, that he lacked a father figure, that some deep dark feelings needed to come to the surface.  Well, the only thing that surfaced was a terrific kid  who aced his art classes, won a scholarship to a summer dig at Dust Cave, in Florence Alabama, won a summer scholarship to Crete to study at the Kavousse Dig, and amazed everyone by getting keeping a 4.0 grade-point average in classes such as Geology, which, as everyone knows is particularly dependent on color for rock and mineral identification.  He has continually amazed his peers, and professors with his ability to use tactile and structural elements in his field of study.  And, since he is red-green deficient, and not totally color-blind, he has adapted the color scheme he sees to the colors that most of the rest of us see.  We have tons of humorous stories about ďgrowing up with Michael.Ē but, the reality is not all kids have the opportunity to excel, because this rather common condition is given so little priority.  Iím glad to have this story with you.  Perhaps it will help someone else who is ever told they canít do something because they are color-blind.

 

Alan Dransfield                                                                 Feb 29th 2000
 

In 1987, I was refused employment as a Docker at the Port of Boston. Lincolnshire. U.K. by virtue of the fact I was diagnosed as colour blind by the Employers Medical Officer. I was appalled at this decision and took up this issue with my Union Representative. I also did some extensive research and was also examined at a Queens Hospital Nottingham where I undertook extensive eye examinations for colour blindness testing. It was confirmed to me that my colour sight was indeed very good, despite the fact I had failed to successfully complete the Isihari Tests, which is acknowledged by most optical surgeons to be unsatisfactory and unreliable. I cannot accept either that this level of eye testing should be a prerequisite for such menial manual labouring employment. My work as a telecommunications engineer requires me to identify colour variants in multiple telephone wires, which create no problem to me.  It is also possible to obtain corrective aid spectacles or contact lens, which will allow individuals to pass the Isihari Colour Blind Tests.  I was most indignant at my trade union (T.G.W.U) that refused to help me, thus I resigned my 30-year membership with them. I wonder how many people are being refused employment colour blindness, when in actual fact their colour sight is good. I am also very surprised and indignant that the trade unions have not offered more resistance to the National Employers on this topic. I would be interested to learn if for example the American Dockers have to undergo the Isihari Colour Tests.  As a matter of interest my elder brother also failed the test but my son has just passed the Ishiari Test for entry into the Royal Navy.  I do believe that the colour blindness issues related to Employment is overplayed and causing a lot of unnecessary trauma.

 

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