What Tennessee's fall trees looked like to people with colorblindness — until now.

'I'm glad to have seen it. I just wish I had seen this all my life.'

There's a powerful new ad showing how Tennessee is helping make the Smoky Mountains a bit more beautiful this fall for those who have colorblindness.

The Tennessee Department of Tourism Development released something special — the rare instance of a state-sponsored video, featuring the experiences of five people, that genuinely tugs at the heartstrings.❤️

Every October and November, the Great Smoky Mountains are draped in gorgeous shades of reds, yellows, and oranges — sights that draw people near and far to the east side of the state. However, for about 13 million Americans with colorblindness (most of whom are men), the Volunteer State's radiant rolling hills appear as duller, brownish versions of their true selves.

"Everybody at work was saying how pretty the colors are," one man, who has colorblindness, says in the video — a joint effort between the state's department of tourist development and marketing agency VML. "You don't know that you're missing it because you never saw it to begin with."

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Paul Collins is a designer. He's also colorblind.

Colorblindness affects about 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women with northern European ancestry, and there are a lot of different types and causes for it. Not everyone who's colorblind is too put out by it, although there are some real ways colorblind people have been overlooked.

But for Collins, as an artist, colorblindness presented some particularly tough challenges.

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Heroes

This comic breaks down the problem with whitewashing race.

"Not seeing color just means defaulting to the regular standard, which is white."

Sometimes people say they're "colorblind" — that they don't see race, and race doesn't matter to them.

While this might be well-intentioned, the idea of colorblindness is problematic. It often becomes a mechanism for ignoring systemic problems with racism, rather than addressing them. And instead of eliminating racism, colorblindness can "erase" the identities of people of color and minority groups.

Kerry Washington summed it up well in a discussion on colorblind racism:

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