Little kids are taught colors very early in life. Apples are red. The sky is blue. Grass is green. When Kit Hudson got to kindergarten and couldn’t distinguish between the colors, his teachers thought he had a learning disability.
Once he was brought to the eye doctor, they discovered something.
Hudson is monochromatically color blind. He was born three months premature, and the part of his brain responsible for deciphering color did not develop completely. He sees everything in black and white.
“It’s just a rare degenerative disease. I am a lot more fortunate than many people who were born as early as I was,” Hudson said.
According to Hudson, most people don’t realize how much the world relies on color. Whenever he buys new clothes, he sends pictures of them to friends and family, and then writes the colors on the tags so he can properly match his outfits.
When working with costumes in the theater department, it’s important that they all separate their clothing by color in the bins for Kit to wash so nothing goes wrong.
Angela Brande, an assistant professor in the theater department, loves working with Hudson.
“Well you don’t notice at first and then you mistakenly say will you grab the green shirt from the table and bring it over here. Then he looks at you forgivingly because he’s waiting for something other than color direction. Luckily he’s very patient with me. It makes you realize how much of your life depends on seeing color,” Brande said.
Though there is a surgery available to allow Hudson to see color, he has decided to opt out, stating that it could take away his entire ability to see.
While in college, Hudson had a procedure performed on his eyes that could have potentially helped, but there was no way of knowing whether what he was seeing was actually color.
“They told me what I saw was most likely not color. It was still absolutely fascinating because it allowed me to more accurately guess a color, but I still got a lot wrong,” he said. “Long story short, my guess is that I probably didn't actually see color, the surgery just helped my brain with shades, and it eventually reverted back to where it is now.”
In recent years, a pair of sunglasses has been developed and released that allows color blind people to see in the correct shades.
These do not work for Hudson.
“I’ve actually tried them before. For people who are partially color blind, it can help them see new colors. My mind can’t comprehend that color. They don’t do anything for me, but it’s hard to miss something you never had,” Hudson said.
Junior Katy Albert, another member of the theater department, says Hudson does not let it affect his demeanor.
“He pokes fun at himself. Once we lined up a bunch of markers and he was trying to
guess what colors they were,” Albert said.
Albert also recalled a time when Hudson wore a pair of green gloves with a blue sweatshirt and was “exasperated” when he learned that they did not match.
Though Hudson cannot comprehend color, his depth perception is impaired and he requires accommodations that most people don’t even think of, there are some benefits.
“It makes my night vision way better for some reason. In the middle of the night, as long as there’s like a little bit of light, I can look across a field and see things. It’s the world’s most underwhelming super power,” Hudson said.
Brande likes the challenge of finding different ways to describe things for Hudson.
“When he was first interested, he was very apologetic and seemed as though he was going to be somewhat difficult to work with and we would have trouble finding something for him to do, but it’s just about finding a different way to describe things. With Kit, it’s talking about shades,” Brande said.
Hudson appreciates the fact that he has a conversation starter, and doesn’t mind when people ask questions.
“I look at it positively. You deal with it, play with the hand you’re dealt. It only impacts you negatively if you let it,” Hudson said.