LET'S TALK ABOUT ALBINISM

by - July 10, 2018


Last month, the news broke out that a popular Nollywood actor refused to have anything at all to do with his third child because she was different in terms of her complexion from the other kids he had. The beautiful baby's crime was the fact that she was born as an Albino.  This is something this precious jewel couldn't have avoided. He told his wife to get another father for the child because he was cock sure that the baby girl didn't come out from his loin. For several months, he abandoned both his wife and three children abroad, completely leaving the wife to fend for the kids all by herself while he was still alive. His grouse with his wife was the fact that she birthed an Albino, and in his words, no one in his family was an Albino.  So where did she get that from? He asked.


He requested for a DNA test, which was promptly carried out, and the test result showed that the popular actor was 99.9 percent the father of the child. Even after the test, he refused to accept that result and he told his wife to come over to Nigeria for another DNA test because he was so sure the result was manipulated. It is interesting to note that, during the birth of his previous kids, he didn't request for a DNA test. But because this beautiful Albino baby girl was different from his other kids because of her complexion, he refused to take full responsibility as her father, accusing his wife of being wayward.  Really? One would have thought that with the actor's level of exposure, this sort of thing should have never resulted into a bout of war between his wife and him. But, he disappointed us all with his minute baked knowledge about certain medical conditions.

I was so angry when I heard the news.  It made me sad for a while because a father actually refused his own daughter because she was an Albino. For God's sake, this little angel didn't create herself, so why make her feel bad about her existence. And then, it occurred to me that, the popular actor had acted that way because of his ignorance. He is not the only person guilty of this ignorance, there are so many Africans out there who have this twisted misconceptions about Albinos. Some see them as cursed beings that were punished for the crimes they committed in their past lives, others see them as a good luck charm which will be very effective for money ritual, while some even see them as outcasts.

Few days ago, I went to get something at a grocery store. While I was there, I  couldn't help but to listen to the conversation of a young guy and a lady seated at the store. The guy in his words told the beautiful lady seated beside him not to even think of getting married to a light skinned guy, because she was going to give birth to Albinos. The girl was terrified, and in the usual Nigerian religious spirit, she rebuked the proclamation immediately; binding and casting every spirit of Albinism.  It was really hilarious to watch, because the lady in question was also light skinned, and the well meaning dark skinned guy had automatically assumed that if two light skinned people should get married, their offsprings would be Albinos.

I was irritated by their display of ignorance because getting information about certain issues these days was not a big deal. It's just one click away. So why exactly do people wallow in ignorance and feed other people with this misconceptions? I butted in quickly and told the guy point blank that he was wrong. I explained to him that it could happen to anyone provided the parents have albinism gene. I also asked him if he had never seen two dark skinned couple giving birth to Albino. He replied in affirmative.  So I asked him what his explanation for that was, and he went quiet. It is pertinent to understand the fact that, albinism is no respecter of anyone,anyone can have it irrespective of his or her race.It can only be managed but can never be cured.

So, what exactly is Albinism?

According to Wikipaedia,  Albinism is a condition some people and animals are born with. This condition is caused by a lack of pigment (melanin) in their hair , eyes , and skin. A person or animal with albinism is called an albino.People with albinism can have white or light blonde hair. They can have very pale skin. Their eyes are blue, or rarely pink-ish. People with albinism can have problems such as bad vision and getting sunburnt easily. This is because people with albinism have less pigments in their eyes, skin and hair. Albinism is a hereditary condition. It is usually inherited in a recessive pattern; it means, both parents have to give the albinism gene to a child to cause albinism.Parents pass on pairs of genes to their children. One of the pairs of genes is in charge of making melanin. If both of these genes are flawed, then little or no pigment is made. If only one gene if flawed then pigment can still be made.

If just one parent has the gene and the other parent has a normal pigment gene, their children won't have oculocutaneous albinism. But each child will have a one in two chance of being a "carrier" of an albinism gene. If a child who carries the gene grows up to have a baby with someone who also does, there's a one in four chance that their baby may have albinism. Since most people who carry an albinism gene don't show any signs of the condition, a baby with albinism can be born to parents whose colouring is typical for people of their ethnic group. The most common form of ocular albinism affects only males who have inherited an albinism gene from their mothers. Some females can have a milder form of the condition if they have inherited this gene.(kidshealth)

People born with albinism are human beings just like us. They should never be treated unfairly because of their condition. They rarely have any serious issues related to their condition, expect for their visions and they getting sunburnt because of their lack of melanin. These can be managed, so they are just perfectly normal like everyone. They are not cursed beings, they are not good luck charms for effective money ritual, they do not possess any supernatural element, all these are myths and superstitions that have been passed around for so long. We are all equal before our maker, and no one, absolutely one one should be treated badly because of their pigmentation.

Have you found this article helpful? How do you treat people with albinism?  Do you think they are abnormal?  Share your thoughts with me.

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