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Albinism

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Albinism is a condition where one has little or no pigmentation (particularly melanin, the main pigment present in skin, hair and eyes). In animals, this results in white, or nearly white, skin, fur, feathers, etc, and red eyes. In humans, it generally results in white skin, hair, and blue eyes (with patches of red in the blue in the irises of a few). Generally, all other physical and mental features and abilities remain, save for sensitivity to the sun and visual problems, often extending to legal blindness in humans.[2]

The occurrence of albinism varies with race, with it being by far the most common in black people.[3] It rarely occurs in wild animals and birds, though the incidence varies from species to species and is difficult to quantify. Most animals with albinism tend to have poor rates of survival, due to their weak eyesight and lack of natural camouflage. Snowflake the gorilla, who was kept at Barcelona Zoo for 37 years after being captured in the wild, is a notable example of spontaneous albinism.[4] In domestic animals, albinism has often been encouraged through selective breeding as a desirable trait, especially for small pets such as mice, rats and ferrets. Albino mice and rats are also frequently used in animal testing. Leucism is a condition in animals, sometimes referred to inaccurately as partial albinism, in which various pigments (not just melanin) are reduced in the skin and hair, though not completely absent, leaving the animal with a pale or patchy appearance, but usually a normal eye colour rather than red or pink.

There are bizarre connotations about albinism among humans. In the West, there is the "evil albino" stereotype, such as H. G. Wells' Morlocks, the mutants in The Omega Man[5], an albino Klingon, horned albino gorilla-of-sorts [6], albino gunmen,[7] the fanatical monk in Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, and maybe Pris.[8] In some African nations, notably Tanzania, people with albinism are subject to horrific abuse: children may be put out in the sun to "brown up"—which is extremely dangerous and can lead to severe burns—and some people characterize people with albinism as non-humans. In some cases, they have even been hunted and mutilated or murdered for their body parts.

Some cultures, however, are more positive. For example, the Cuna of Panama, where albinism occurs in 1 of 200 people,[9]regarded people with albinism as one of the 8 races of humanity. Cuna children with the condition were given the task of shooting arrows at the jaguar-spirit anytime it tried to devour the Moon—so far it seems to have worked. This made sense insofar as they were considered children of the moon. Some suppose that Noah had albinism,[10] which is why the main organization for people with albinism is the National Organization of Albinism and Hypopigmentation. Another[11] albino character in a story (i.e. Star Terk™) who is more recent, more albino, and more benevolent is Jhamel, a kind-hearted blind telepath who helped Captain Archer and Commander Shran when the Romulans were up to no good.[12]

One thing seems to be apparent. When it comes to music, people with albinism seem to punch well above their weight class. For sure there are better bluesmen, rockers, and rappers than Johnny, Edgar, and Yellowman, but not 35 000 of them.

At least one albino affectionately refers to non-albinos as "pigmentos."

Murder[edit]

In Sub-Saharan Africa, Albino children are sometimes murdered to supply ingredients to the black market for magic spells used in some of the region's folk medicines. In 2014 and 2015 this practice started drawing international attention, eventually leading to military intervention on the part of government's in the region, particularly, Malawi. [13]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. but rather Mem NahadrWikipedia's W.svg
  2. Garth Mullins says he has about 8% vision.
  3. Oculocutaneous albinism
  4. See the Wikipedia article on Snowflake (gorilla).
  5. Omega Man - Trial or omega man trailer
  6. Mugato attacks Captain Kirk
  7. albinocode.com
  8. Blade Runner clip
  9. if I remember the Mullins's radio program correctly
  10. http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/boe/boe110.htm FRAGMENT OF THE BOOK OF NOAH
  11. I'd say "Another fictional albino," but for some reason I don't feel like being too adversarial to those who'd insist that Moses was real, or legendary, or mythic, or whatever and not just fictional, nor do I want to demean the following character who is a better example. Also note that the Book of Enoch doesn't seem to be in the Protestant nor Catholic canon, and thus one can't use, say, the KJV to assert that Christians believe that Moses was an albino, and thus lumping him with the next character might also be problematic: i.e. his being fictional being put aside, the KJV-types can deny he was an albino. "Of course Moses wasn't a 'fictional albino character' they might say, "no where in the KJV does it say he was albino!"
  12. Note for normal people non-trekkies: Andor is one of the founding members of the UFP (United Federation of Planets). Andorians generally have blue skin, platinum blonde hair, and antennae, and seem to be cold tolerant. Their planet (or big satellite of a planet) also seems to have an albino group of people, possibly a different race or sub-species—"sub" as in divergent from, not inferior to, referred to as the Aenar, who seem even more cold-tolerant (Jhamel understands that there are places where water naturally exist in a liquid state). While they are blind, in typical Star Trek/sci-fi/sci-fantasy fashion, their other abilities are greatly enhanced, in this case, to the point of being telepathic.
  13. Albinos in Malawi Face Violence Fueled By Superstition NBC News.