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Color blindness: Is it okay to ask?


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Did you ever find yourself looking at someone's work and wanting to ask them if they were partly color blind?

 

This is a serious question, part of my interest in color perception.

 

Would it be rude to ask? Would it come across as snide?

 

As an artist I tend to hate the assumption that there are physical causes behind purely aesthetic choices (such as the wretchedly ignorant "El Greco had astigmatism" hypothesis to explain his elongated forms). It dismisses artistic creativity and undermines the idea that artists choose to do what they do.

 

And yet ... There are times when I am looking at someone's work and there is a consistent washing-out of certain ranges of the spectrum. Their work seems to be all blues and browns, say, or has bright blues and greens but hardly any reds and even flesh tones are grayish. And then I am curious and would like to ask.

 

Apparently a startlingly high percentage of male humans have some level of color blindness, so it is not the most unlikely possibility. But would it be considered rude?

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I do it to my three year old nephew all the time. Primarily because I know its in his genes, his mother knows it but they're in denial. So when he comes home with a painting with green clouds and yellow grass I tell him that's the most awesome green shaded sky and yellow grass on the planet.

 

I understand it though. There's plenty of colors I can see with my eyes but cannot see in my head to paint. @[email protected]

 

Edit: I realize I now sound mean to a three hear old. @[email protected] color blindedness affected my family strangely. I personally wouldn't directly ask if a person is colorblind but may make remarks on if they're going through a 'blue period' and such. (I point out colors to the three year old so he and his family can recognize that if caught early then they may avoid what happened with his grandfather...though different eras, the Man couldn't dress himself. He only wore blue because it was the only color he could see. Occasionally he'd risk it....terribly,besides the point.)

 

I think it will take some of your awesome linguistical tact, Pingo, to ask someone this. I personally do not think its rude but others may feel differently.

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Apparently a startlingly high percentage of male humans have some level of color blindness, so it is not the most unlikely possibility. But would it be considered rude?

The gene for color vision is on the X chromosome. Unfortunately, us males only get one of those. If that one happens to indicate color blindness...BAM! Down for the count.

 

Color vision is a requirement for my job. Can't see colors? Sorry, can't be in my field.

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just coming out and asking, yeah I am not sure how one could do that in a way that is not rude or condescending or such. I would not mind, if it was someone like you Pingo, asking, because a) I know you well enough to get the feeling you would not deliberately insult someone in that way, and B) you have demonstrated an eye for colour that I respect and if you did ask, I would expect it as part of something that would help me improve my own skill. That said, to someone who didn't think and feel that way towards you, it would sound terribly rude, and be quite upsetting.

 

Of course I know colour blindness is a part of my difficulties (I'm not sure if it is the reason I have such a hard time discerning subtle variances in colour) but I also know mine is not near as severe as many other guys.

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I think it will take some of your awesome linguistical tact, Pingo, to ask someone this.

 

 

My what now? :huh:

 

I don't think there's anything wrong with talking to your nephew that way. When it's a small child you're responsible for and there's some history in the family, it seems to me it's only sensible to keep a gentle eye out for signs.

 

That's a way different situation from asking an adult you're not related to.

 

 

Hmm. I certainly understand the impulse, but I'm not sure there's a way to ask that without coming across as rude. I think no matter how carefully you phrase it, you'll end up sounding snarky. "Wow, nice painting. What are you, colorblind?"

Mmyeahhh, that's what I was concerned about. There is also a certain element of none-of-my-business that crops up. I am interested, but not to the level of making someone uncomfortable.

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I am color blind and it wouldn't bother me but it would likely bother my brother who is also color blind. I'm not sure how one could ask that question and not sound condescending unless the person being asked was well known by you.

 

Painting my Kargir orc army has been tricky since reds and greens look a LOT alike to me and I chose red to be the color of their armor precisely because I pretty much do everythin in blue because I can see blue and easily tell what it is provided it's not being compared to certain shades of purple.

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how_men_and_women_see_colors.jpg

 

Eh, that's just socialization, honestly. Ask any man on these forums; I'm sure we all see far more than seven different colors! Especially given recent discussions about how many different shades of brown it is appropriate to own. A male non-colorblind painter is probably going to have a much finer eye for color than a female non-colorblind tax accountant, say.

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I'd say it's almost up there with the famous, "When is the baby due?". Yes, it's not meant to be harmful, but if you make the wrong assumption then it could be taken badly.

That's a pretty vivid and apt example.

 

I think my thought was ill-considered. There does not seem to be a way to ask someone one is not responsible for if they are color blind without sounding condescending at best, and probably far worse.

 

Thank you folks for saving me from myself. I have no interest in making anyone uncomfortable about their vision. This had best be a not-asked question.

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how_men_and_women_see_colors.jpg

 

Eh, that's just socialization, honestly. Ask any man on these forums; I'm sure we all see far more than seven different colors! Especially given recent discussions about how many different shades of brown it is appropriate to own. A male non-colorblind painter is probably going to have a much finer eye for color than a female non-colorblind tax accountant, say.

As an artistically minded person in a highly technical field, my knowledge of color often discerns my other male colleagues.

 

Here's an interesting article for those teaching younger kids their colors:

 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-johnny-name-colors/

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