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Celebrating Albinism




Monday, August 09, 2010
[Photo Sources:  HuffingtonPost.com, Facebook.com, Tumblr]
Okay, this is cool.  When I learned today about Diandra Forrest, an up and coming African-American Brown Girl supermodel with Albinism (she's with Elite!), the first thing I thought was how uniquely beautiful this girl is.  And then, of course, I got that tingly feeling I get when I get excited about something and started thinking about how the subject matter is an absolute perfect fit for OneBrownGirl.com®.  In fact, there is no better example of Brown not being about skin color (but being more about cultural identity and pride) than a beautiful Brown Girl with Albinism.  Holla.
Albinism, as you probably know, is a relatively rare condition in humans (approximately 1 in 20,000), animals, and even plants where a person doesn't have the usual amount of pigment or color in their skin causing a pale white appearance and mostly blue, and otherwise brownish or red/pink appearing eyes.  (Since the iris has so little color, the eyes appear pink or red because the blood vessels inside of the eye (on the retina) show through the iris.  [Kidshealth.org]  Now I've seen a number of people with Albinism in my lifetime in passing and never really thought too much about it other than it's a really cool and unusual look, but never anything negative.  So I was alarmed and surprised to learn about the blatant discrimination and killings (!!!!) of people with Albinism based merely on skin color.  Oh wait.  I'm not surprised, am I?  (What was I thinking?)  I'm just alarmed.  Click here and check out a compelling video about a Brown Girl with Albinism and her life in South Africa.  You won't believe it.  And then check out the video below about a Tanzanian refuge for Albinos trying to escape being killed for their body parts.  Yes.  I said killed for their body parts.  One arm or one leg can get $1,000.  You see, the tradition of creating potions out of the limbs of people with Albinism is common with some witchdoctors in parts of Tanzania.  Lordy.  I swear, no matter where you go in the world, there is some superstition that needs to be put to rest...immediately and permanently. Check this out:
Wild, isn't it?  Did you know about this?!!?!?
Anyway, for the sake of clarification and for more info, you must know that Albinism not only affects animals (look at Momma and Baby kangaroo below) and plants, but people from any and all cultural backgrounds like Chinese supermodel Connie Chiu pictured above and in the supermodel link.  And no matter the cultural background, many people with Albinism have different types of vision sensitivity and vision defects in common and Wiki even says that the lack of skin pigmentation makes those with Albinism more susceptible to sunburn and skin cancers.  Scientifically, it makes sense to me.  It is also interesting to note that most forms of albinism are the result of the biological inheritance of genetically recessive...genes...passed from both parents of an individual, though some rare forms are inherited from only one parent.  [More from Wiki]
No matter the cause or the result, people with Albinism simply add another unique perspective to the human race and give me something else to celebrate too.  =)  


P.S.  I had absolutely no idea that the word Albino might be considered derogatory by some.  Did you?!?!?  As you know, I like to celebrate and not get people angry.  I revised this post taking out all references to Albino after I sent Diandra a link to this post and she posted this on her Facebook page:  "I am NOT an "ALBINO" nor do I care to be addressed as that "ALBINO MODEL" I mean c'mon on the real people address their cats, dogs, even their pet mice by a given name and I'm being addressed as THAT ALBINO? I mean really! I cannot speak 4 anyone but myself but I wud appreciate being shown at LEAST the same amount of respect that is being shown to ur pet!"  Lesson learned.  We have since exchanged emails and Diandra is on board with the OBG movement!  Without dialogue, nothing changes. =)

3 comments:

Sharmooz on: August 27, 2010 at 8:03 PM said...

Very interesting and educational story. WOW

Joyce and Jeff on: March 11, 2011 at 7:39 PM said...

Excellent post and thank you for the correction. So few people are open to " oh hey...my bad".

I really appreciate your take on the beauty of Albinism. Thanks!
Mom to an Asian child with Albinism.

OneBrownGirl.com® on: March 12, 2011 at 8:06 AM said...

Thanks, Joyce and Jeff! I never mind correcting myself; you can't care if you want to learn.

It is, however, interesting to note that not everyone is offended by use of the word Albino. I found this out after spending time on the Albinism page on Facebook and writing a similar article about the beauty of Albinism on BlogHer.com. But now that I've learned a way to be inoffensive, I'm sticking to it. =)

 

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