What if you’re Black, but you’re invisible to other Black people. “We are Black too” – Suffering and living with albinism and vitiligo.
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In this video I will address terms used by many content creators that are used to describe caucasian people.
Primarily the words “Albino” and “Albinoid”.
I will also address why this is offensive, as well as explain why we shouldn’t call people that suffer with albinism “albinos”.
What Is Albinism?
Albinism is an inherited genetic condition that reduces the amount of melanin pigment formed in the skin, hair and/or eyes. Albinism occurs in all racial and ethnic groups throughout the world. In the U.S., approximately one in 18,000 to 20,000 people has some type of albinism. In other parts of the world, the occurrence can be as high as one in 3,000. Most children with albinism are born to parents whose hair and eye color are typical for their ethnic backgrounds.
A common myth is that people with albinism have red eyes. Although lighting conditions can allow the blood vessels at the back of the eye to be seen, which can cause the eyes to look reddish or violet, most people with albinism have blue eyes, and some have hazel or brown eyes. There are different types of albinism and the amount of pigment in the eyes varies. However, vision problems are associated with albinism.
Because most people with albinism have fair complexions, it’s important to avoid sun damage to the skin and eyes by taking precautions such as wearing sunscreen or sunblock, hats, sunglasses and sun-protective clothing. People that suffer with albinism are more susceptible to getting skin cancer.
All people with albinism are at great risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of sun-exposed skin, and Black people with albinism in sub-Saharan Africa are at about a 1000-fold higher risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma of the skin than the general population.
In Black people that suffer with albinism, skin cancer tends to run an aggressive course and is likely to reoccur after treatment.
Never Say Albino
For many people the term “albino” brings to mind images of a person or animal with a pale complexion and pink eyes. The term “albinism,” by contrast, is less commonplace or recognizable to people who may not know a person with the condition. We all know that words can be powerful, so how do you say that someone is an “albino” without being disrespectful?
Although there are many people with albinism who are at peace with the term albino, when dealing with any condition, it is best to put the person first. For instance, say, “a person with albinism” rather than “an albino”. The rationale for this person-centered language is to do just that: put the person ahead of the condition. When a person is referred to as an albino, he or she is essentially being reduced to and defined by nothing more than their condition. It’s as though the world looks at that person and sees only the condition. In this way, it can feel like a dehumanizing label.
To most in the albinism community, the term “person with albinism” will always be a kinder, gentler, less shocking term. Regardless of the context, the word albino can sometimes be an ugly, jolting word to many, especially when heard unexpectedly. However, if you’re ever unsure, just ask. Every person with albinism will have personal experiences and opinions about the label. They may have albinism, but above all else, they are people. They just happen to have the condition of albinism.
Vitiligo is a disease that causes loss of skin color in patches. The discolored areas usually get bigger with time. The condition can affect the skin on any part of the body. It can also affect hair and the inside of the mouth.
Normally, the color of hair and skin is determined by melanin. Vitiligo occurs when cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning. Vitiligo affects people of all skin types, but it may be more noticeable in people with darker skin. The condition is not life-threatening or contagious.
Social Stigmas And Myths
Vitiligo is not a disease that can be spread through close contact or touch. This skin condition is simply a faulty autoimmune response that destroys your pigment (color) producing cells. There is usually nothing harmful or life-threatening with this condition, as most of the symptoms of Vitiligo are just external patches.
VITILIGO CANNOT BE SPREAD FROM ONE PERSON TO ANOTHER.
People with vitiligo face a lot of social stigma due to their skin condition, this can also lead to a lot of internal struggles. People in this vulnerable state are often taken advantage of by non-medical rogues who try to make money off of them.
The Forgotten Black People
People with albinism are at risk of isolation because the condition is often misunderstood. Social stigmatization can occur, especially within the Black community, where the race or paternity of a person with albinism may be questioned.
Watch this video, and please leave a comment below.