ALBINO – FACT AND FICTION
Being an albino is not easy. In many places people who are albino are brutally murdered because people think they are evil or that their body parts can be used for magic. Being albino is not magic and it is not evil. Being albino is completely normal and natural.
WHAT IS ALBINISM?
All people get their skin colour from a protein called melanin. People with very dark skin produce a lot, people with very light skin produce less. Melanin protects the skin from the sun, which is why people with pale skin get sunburnt. People who are albino have slightly different genetic material. Because of this, they don’t make melanin, and their skin, hair and eyes do not have colour.
DIFFERENCE IS NORMAL
Being different does not mean something has gone wrong. Having a lot of difference is good for people. It means that our genetic material is strong. Blue eyes, brown eyes, curly hair, straight hair, tall, short. All of these differences we see between people are normal, and so is being an albino.
BEING ALBINO IS NOT A DISEASE
Being albino does not mean you have a disease. A disease is something you catch that makes you sick. People who are albino are simply born with slightly different genetic material. People are born albino when their mother and father together pass on the genetic material that means they do not make melanin. The mother and father can have coloured skin and still pass on the genetic material.
Because they do not have any sun protection from melanin people who are albino need to be very careful in the sun. They can easily get burnt and some can develop skin cancer because of getting burnt too often. They may also need to wear glasses. You cannot ‘catch’ albinism from someone who is albino.
PEOPLE WHO ARE ALBINO DO NOT HAVE SPECIAL POWERS
There have been many people who are albinos killed because it is thought their body parts have magic powers. Being albino means your body does not produce melanin. This is simply because their genetic material is slightly different to other people who do produce melanin. This does not make them magic.
PEOPLE WHO ARE ALBINO ARE JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE
Having the genetic material that causes someone to be an albino changes the colour of the skin, but everything else is the same. People who are albino are normal people. They can go to school, work in normal jobs and live normal lives. They can also get married and have children. If the person they marry is not an albino they may have children who are not albino. People who are albino are just like everyone else, and like everyone else they have a right to live happy lives.