If a Person Lacks Melanin Does It Make Them Less Black?

I went to my old primary school today to vote. As I walked out, there were a group of boys kicking a football around. They must have been between the ages of 10 and 14. One of the boys was Albino. You could clearly tell he was black, with his 4c hair standing tall. He just lacked melanin. There must have been some sort of argument or something between him and another boy because as I walked passed I heard the words, “Shut up man! Where’s your skin colour?” I had to stop and just turn around. He repeated it again, “But where is your skin colour though?” I had to just double check whose mouth it was coming from. A boy who looked mixed race was the one who so strongly said those words. I had to refrain myself from just telling that boy a piece of my mind. How dare he? How dare he use the lack of pigmentation in the boys skin as an insult?



What got to me most was the fact that the Albino boy clearly had more African in him than the one insulting him. I am so used to insults based on colour between black people being something along the lines of; “you’re too black”, “you’re yellow” or “you’re not black, you’re white”. All of which relate to being different shades of black, or even being so light that you are deemed “white”. But this was different. He wasn’t being discriminated against because he was either too black or too white. He was being discriminated against because he was neither black nor white. According to this young man, he had no skin colour at all.

I wonder how that young man felt. If everything in the world has colour (so long as it reflects light), and everyone in the world has a colour, yet you have no colour, what does that make you? Not human? I continued walking, so I don’t even know if he had a comeback to that insult. I wish I had said something though. I really wish I had just educated those kids.

This reminded me of a video my boyfriend and I filmed last year (our views have grown since then) entitled “What is Black?”. In this video we discuss our different perceptions of what it takes to be black. We mention being somewhat mixed with other races, or just coming out light skinned. One thing we didn’t discuss is Albinism, which I think is a big topic to touch on.

If a person lacks melanin does it make them less black?

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