Op-Ed: I Don’t See Color, I Have a Serious Disability

It’s been all over the news lately – #BlackLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter, #WhiteLivesMatterToo. People are arguing left and right that they don’t see color, or that color doesn’t matter, or that we should appreciate and serve communities of color. Well, let me tell you – none of it makes sense to me. Because I don’t see color. I have a serious disability.

I live life with achromatopsia, also known as total color blindness. Achromatopsia is exceedingly rare, thought to affect 1 in every 40,000 births. Achromatopsia causes me to experience monochromatism (I see in grayscale), hemeralopia (I cannot see in bright light), photophobia (pain caused by bright light), and nystagmus (involuntary eye movement). Achromatopsia is not well understood. It can be classified using a group of symptoms, but there is no complete cure. It might be genetic, or it might be random. We’re just not sure.

My daily life is difficult. Reading can only be accomplished in low-light with red or violet colored lenses over my eyes. Being outside in the sun causes me physical pain. And can you imagine not being able to see color? My wife tried to explain to me how she loves the color of my eyes, but I don’t know what the fuck brown is.

On that end, I’m also not sure I understand what racism is. You fuckers with 20/20 vision look at someone else, have functioning retinas, and you decide that’s why you hate each other? You couldn’t pick something like sports team associations or annoying nasally voices? You fucking went with skin color?

You’re all idiots. You need to start using your eyes to identify the real reasons we should hate other people. Height, wearing ironic socks, and monogrammed purses are all valid reasons to want to kick the shit out of a person. Also, they are things I can identify with my 20/200 vision.

The ability to see color is a precious gift. Or so I’ve been told. I don’t know what color is. The point is, you shouldn’t be wasting your ability to hate people based on visual cues on something as stupid as skin color. Maybe we could all agree to hate people who wear knock-off Costco Birkenstocks or something. I dunno. Something truly heinous.

My name is Timothy Ang. I have achromatopsia. And I don’t see color.