Black With Albinism: Embracing the Exotic

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Brandi M. Green writes at Clutch magazine that she likens her condition to being biracial, but it's even more complicated.

I recently had an epiphany: I need to embrace the exotic. I’ve spent so many years trying to resist that dirty little word …

I say this because I have albinism, which is a genetic condition that causes a lack of pigment in the hair, skin, and eyes. To further complicate things, I am a black woman with albinism; one cannot exist without the other. When I say I’m exotic, I am not intending to “other” myself, but I simply recognize that I’m not going to fit into the nice and neat racial/ethnic boxes that people have tried to place me in my entire life.

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I often liken my experience as a black woman with albinism to being biracial. I say this because my identity causes tension and is ambiguous to some. Of course, it is not the same and albinism is complicated due to the dual social and biological nature of the condition. In addition, people with albinism also have low vision, which is caused by the lack of pigment in the eyes. Though mostly viewed through a biological lens, albinism has social implications as well. Growing up, I endured the stares while I was with my parents, the teasing, questions of “what color I am” etc. I constantly felt the pressure to make people feel at ease about my identity. I needed to make them feel comfortable with me, even though I wasn’t fully comfortable with me.

Read Brandi M. Green's entire piece at Clutch magazine.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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