Albinism is NOT a Race
By Joma K. Leonard
If you are a person with albinism, (PWA) you’ve heard the question before so many times. You know, the question that bothers some and others accept. The question (esp. blacks) throw around about as much as they throw around the N-word. The question that sparks debate among PWA regarding what’s right, and what’s wrong. “Are you albino?” Yeah, that question.
Now if you’re a PWA and you don’t mind being acknowledged as “albino” instead of “an albino”, more power to you. I refuse, and there are a few reasons why. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard acquaintances of mine describe me as “he’s albino” before “he’s cool, funny, etc.” The content of my character as an individual is totally overlooked by a mere label that barely defines me accurately. I’m well aware the people who ask this question mean no disrespect often times, however knowing there’s still a wide misconception on what albinism truly is makes me speak my mind.
Albinism is genetic as we all know within our own community. Many races and ethnic backgrounds have PWA among them. We exist in just about every corner of the world. Some of us are in the medical field, some are models, youtube sensations, professional tweeters, high school dropouts who turned into productive members of society, mothers, fathers, spouses, and many other things. We have our own sense of individuality; either we’ve adapted to society or we’ve been walking our own path. Albinism is more common in animals; most commonly the rat. Why would we even accept albino in a racial context knowing this?
Maybe because it’s been a part of what PWA deal with since childhood. A lot of us have been raised to say yes to the question, “are you albino?” Maybe some of us are so fed up with being bothered by people we just say whatever to get them to leave us alone. maybe because it’s always been this way. It doesn’t have to be. It isn’t for me. Sure, I’m a PWA but albinism is not my race; nor does it describe who I am. I have my own answer to that question. What’s yours?