#AmplifyAlbinismAwareness: A Slogan That Will Probably Never Start A Global Movement
Today is International Albinism Awareness Day and people around the world are rioting in the streets to demand justice for the children with albinism who have been kidnapped and slaughtered for the use of their body parts in witchcraft and for their mothers who are stigmatized and attacked... or so I might write in an alternate dimension where people cared as much about these issues as they do about the latest Trending Hashtag Justice gospels.
“Last year when I was pregnant, I was told that I must not look at the albinos because if I do I will get a child with albinism or if I do look at them by mistake I should spit at them to avoid a child with albinism.”
No, the experiences and effects of albinism are being drowned out by More Important and Urgent Concerns right now. As a result, you probably won't be reading much online discussion about black kids with albinism who regularly face discrimination:
“I'm from The Bronx in a predominantly African-American and Hispanic neighborhood. I felt like the odd person out because I’m so fair. My hair is blonde. I have light eyes and nystagmus [a condition where the eyes move involuntarily back and forth]. I was targeted and made fun of for the way I looked. 'Who's this white girl with black features?' People would call me 'Casper' and 'Snow White,' and say, 'Why are you so white? You look weird.' Making friends was a struggle.”
“The Caucasians treated me like a pariah, and the black kids could be just as unaccepting. One terrible afternoon I walked outside of my immediate neighbourhood, and a boy who couldn't have been more than eight ran up to me screaming, 'Get out of here, white boy!' Do you know how hard it is to convince an eight-year-old you're black when you have pale skin, light hair, and hazel eyes? It was impossible. I was 12, and the confrontation made me question my ethnicity.”
Nor will very many people be considering the immense medical and socioeconomic challenges that people with albinism face:
“The lack of melanin in albinism predisposes individuals to skin damage, skin cancer, and visual impairment at an early age. Children with albinism, especially in low- and middle-income countries, do not always have access to sun protection or glasses, increasing their risk of skin and eye damage, and making it difficult to follow school lessons. Thus, school dropout is high among children with albinism. According to Standing Voice, an international non-governmental organisation based in Tanzania, only half of children with albinism complete primary school and only 10% access secondary school (compared with a national average of around 58% in 2017). Low levels of education translate into lower chances of employment later in life and expose people with albinism to enduring poverty.”
The fact of the matter is that these stories will very likely never find any sustained footing in the world, because they interfere with the thrilling Good Black vs White Evil framing of racialist narratives which have come to dominate the sociopolitical landscape. Pale-skinned people who are discriminated against & persecuted primarily by brown-skinned people? No, no, this just won't do. Issues like these actually require critical thinking and difficult conversations rather than groupthink and enraged chanting – and this is just too much to ask of people who are busy rolling their eyes at disagreement, scrolling their Social Media feeds all day, and posting hashtag slogans to bring about #Justice!
Always remember: we must not move our attention away from #TheNarrative for any reason which does not feed #TheNarrative, because we must remain in #Solidarity with its #Demands. Other injustices and struggles are peripheral matters at most, and unworthy distractions at worst. Pay them no mind.