2011-10-05

How do you spot an albino?

When I tell people I am albino their response is almost always: "Noooooo, you're not."

While I understand that I look nothing like what people think an albino should look like, the fact that people will question me before they will question their own knowledge is still stupefying. What is it that they think they know about albinism? They watched Powder? They saw the Da Vinci Code and maybe James Bond? Or observed their pet rabbits red eyes?

Unfortunately, I am unlikely to turn into a rainbow any time soon. My eyes are not red because human eyes are different from a rabbit's. My eyes are not white because it just doesn't work like that. I am not a big, bulky, homicidal, perverted giant because, well, I am just not. I also do not suck brains out, a la X-Files.

People think they know, but they know shit.

Albinism effects your eyes, your ability to produce melanin, your brain and, for some unfortunates, your metabolism. Most people with albinism have quite poor vision. Poor enough to not be able to pass the vision test for a driver's licence. Some people with albinism will have white or translucent hair, my brother does, mine has darkened into a golden blond over the years. Some have reddish hair. My eyebrows, eyelashes and other intimate collections of hair are translucent, but for some people they're darker.  Most people with albinism will have blue or grey eyes, sometimes with a purplish tint. Some people with albinism will tan a little, some will burn so badly they develop blisters if they spend an hour in the sun without sun screen.

So, how do you spot an albino?


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