Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Raising a Child with Albinism Book Cover

On my way home from Kingston on Monday I listened to a strangely fascinating piece on CBC radio. The researcher and narrator was an albino, one of a tiny percentage of the population without what we might think of as normal skin, hair, and eye pigmentation. He explored what it is like to be in such a small minority in a number of ways including the reaction of his own parents upon his birth. He is much loved but they saw his albinism as a handicap, compounded by compromised eyesight, and chose not to have other children.

The narrator discovered that in parts of Africa albinos fear for their lives because they are coveted by shamans who want their blood and body parts to use in rituals. He interviewed a photographer who did a shoot with a young woman whose sense of worth was nearly destroyed by feeling that she was a social outcast. He convinced her that she is beautiful and watched her transformation as he photographed her like any other model.

He also floated the speculation which goes back decades that Noah of the bible was an albino, because of a verse in the apocryphal book of Enoch describing the patriarch as having "a body white as snow, hair white as wool and eyes that are like the rays of the sun." The organization for those who live with albinism is called NOAH --The National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation. There is a mouthful!

Folks, I'm old enough to remember well the musicians Edgar and Johnny Winter, both albinos who were required to attend "special ed" classes in school because they were different. Free Ride is a classic and Frankenstein, and...but I digress.

Different. We don't do well with those who are different, and religion has done its fair share of ostracizing those who don't fit into norms. But we are followers of the Christ who seemed to be able to see and hear those who were not "normal" and to help them accept themselves as children of God.I suppose we spend a lifetime learning to see others through Jesus' eyes.




IanD said...

I'd like to say that - from my work perspective, anyway - kids seem great with difference these days. My school has a large LLS population and no-one blinks when it comes to interacting on the yard, in the gym, etc. I am lucky to work where I do.

Secondly ... those Winter boys can play. Johnny's not in the greatest health these days (and he sure can't play like he used to) but if you're an aspiring guitarist, go pick up hs debut album and let your tutelage begin. Jaw dropping, dude.

Laurie said...

The Winter boys! Yea! Great music. At a daycare I worked at we had an
albino. All the other kids thought she was a fairy princess! and wanted to be her.

Judy said...

We still have a long way to go, especially in the church, to accept "differences" and warmly welcome all...atheists have a good argument against us at times....