It can indicate their country of origin and their culture, and it can also indicate their lived experiences of oppression and discrimination. If skin color significantly affects a person’s identity and lived experiences, then how doAfrican-Americans with albinism (white skin) identify? How are they treated?Where do they fit in within the skin color inequality structure?
First-hand reports from African-Americans with albinism are similar to those of other white- and light-skinned children with dark-skinned parents, likemixed children with dominant white-skin genes: they are constantly asked if they were adopted, or if their parents are actually theirbaby-sitters, for example.
An albino African-American woman named Natalie Devora who grew up in Oakland, California told NPR, “Everyone was brown, and then there was me. I’m a white-skinned black woman … If we were out doing something as simple as buying shoes, it would be, ‘Whose child is that?’ ‘Are you baby-sitting that child?’ My older brother would joke, ‘Someone left you on the doorstep and rang the doorbell and left.’” Can you imagine how confusing and hurtful that could be for a young child to hear?
African Children With Albinism Are Often Bullied For Their Skin Color
Some African-Americans with albinism try to overcompensate for their lack of pigment to “prove their blackness,” but end up feeling frustrated and confused. “Color does matter, unfortunately,” said Devora’s 20-year-old daughter, who is black. “People with albinism arein the middle of it because everyone around them is asking them what color they are and where they fit in.” Unfortunately, without a more structured supportive community, many folks of dark-skinned heritages born with albinism are left feeling like outsiders in their own communities.