Forget everything you’ve ever seen or read in pop culture about albinism. Every “Albino” you’ve met is a lie. Hollywood treats albinism as a mystical and mythical experience. As if this condition were beyond the human experience. This popular idea is creating real harm.
Imagine any other scenario in which Hollywood or popular authors antagonized someone for the color of their skin. Whether your skin is dark, or light, or lacks pigment all together; mistreating someone for their skin tone is wrong and unethical. You might think that it’s funny to call someone “Casper” or “Powder” but these names are hurtful. They represent albinism as a mythical rather than real condition. Although rare albinism affects all species and that includes humans.
The association of albinism as magic or mystical is the cause of hundreds of murders that take place in multiple states in Africa. [Visit Under the Same Sun to read the Report.] Perhaps you feel removed from this and think awareness is unnecessary in the United States. My newborn son was chased in a mall in America and called names like “demon” and “devil spawn.” Adults stopped us to pray for the soul of our “evil” child. That is in the “modern” world.
Hate is a side effect of ignorance and Awareness is the only cure. In pop culture every single reference treats people with albinism as outcasts, magical, mythical, to be avoided at all costs. “Albino” is used as a derogative, as if the worst thing you could be is a person that lacks the ability to produce melanin. It is absurd to relate albinism to characters like “Powder.”
The persistent ideas portrayed and accepted by our educated society allow the continued persecution and attacks against anyone with albinism. Most have no idea about the harmful affects of the sun or the visual impairment that often pairs with albinism. Not everyone with albinism is blind, but most have a visual impairment.
Do you imagine a hermit afraid of the outdoors when you think of albinism? We do have hats and sunblock. The truth is that people with albinism are exactly like people with out it. With safety precautions and a little adaptation almost anything is possible.
Thank you for joining us. Thank you for allowing us to educate and spread awareness. Perhaps if we can broaden a few minds, other families will not be attacked. Maybe we can stop the mutilation and murder of people with albinism by raising our voices against it. For more in the series for National Disability Month/Meet The Blind please visit the Special Needs Page.