No one likes to feel different. All throughout our lives, we see or hear about people being teased over their appearance. It’s easier to poke fun at the unknown than to simply ask why someone appears to look little more unique than others.
That’s how many people with albinism feel every day. Their stark blond hair and extremely fair skin might make them stand out in a sea of normalcy, sometimes for the worst. But what many people with albinism really need is for folks like you and me to understand, moreso than anything else, is that they get it. They know they are different.
Albinism (aka being “albino”) occurs when the melanin in the skin, hair, and eyes becomes defective. The cause of albinism is unknown, but many doctors say genetics are to blame. People with albinism can have very light-colored hair and eyes. Or others suffering from the condition could present pinkish-red eyes and hair color that almost appears clear.
So, now that we know a little more about albinism, let’s check out 9 things people with albinism can understand that us “normal-looking” folks don’t usually consider.
1. Some People With Albinism Have Disabilities
When suffering from albinism, it’s common to develop vision issues. Because the melanin in the eye is missing or lacking in people with this disorder, a sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and rapid eye movements are all possible symptoms of albinism.
2. They Get It. They’re “Different.”
The colorless skin, the pale hair, the dark eyes. That simple description could make someone think we’re talking about a comic book character. People with albinism have to look at themselves every day. They don’t need the uncomfortable comments and stares from others.
3. Anyone Can Be A Person With Albinism
Albinism doesn’t discriminate. Jamaicans are just as prone to it as the Chinese. Anyone can develop the condition. No one is off limits!
4. They Wish The Media Would Stop Vilifying Them
Many times, when we see a person with albinism in entertainment or the media, they’re often being portrayed as a villain or bad guy. Why? Everyone wants to see themselves portrayed in the media in a good light. It wont happen if we continue to treat folks with albinism like they’re criminals in the making.
5. They’re Not Contagious
No, if an individual with albinism shakes your hand, your hair will not turn platinum blond. You cannot catch albinism by kissing a person with the disorder. Interaction with albinism poses no health threat whatsoever.
6. In Some Parts of The World, They Are Endangered
Unfortunately, in parts of Africa albinism is believed to bring luck and good health to people amongst some of the native people. Ruthless thugs have been known to kill and slaughter albino children because their body parts are believed to be very valuable.
7. They Face Depression, Too
Just imagine, people constantly staring at you — sometimes with curiosity, other times with disgust. So many people do not realize that people with albinism are just as normal as anyone else. It’s not uncommon to find an albino person alone and isolated. They are not only questioned by strangers, but they question themselves, constantly asking “Why me?” It would drive anyone mad.
8. They’re Normal, Too
Even though many tend to be very isolated, they’re also very human. They become doctors, nurses, engineers, parents, teachers, college professors. Albinism is not a debilitating disease. People with it can still live a normal, healthy life — just like anyone else.
9. Many Hate The Word “Albino”
For many people with albinism, the word “albino” can come off as condescending and insulting. Play your cards safe and watch your choice of words when talking to a person with albinism.