— By Chimezie from Nigeria
Why should you pity me simply because I lack Melanin? Why look at me with that discriminatory countenance? Why on earth would you even contrive my Albinism for disability?
I and other People with Albinism have been victims of society’s stratification; a sort of construct studied under social sciences. Society looks down on us and believes that our light skins are signs of weakness, conferring us with a disabled status. A toga the society would gleefully adorn on us covering our mouths from speaking up, pushing further inside to continue that frightful cower.
Apunanwu, Onye Ocha, Ocha, Nwoke Ocha, Oyinbo pepper, Afin, Orisha, Ebo, Obobo, Bature, Anasara. . . from East to West, South to North, the names are endless. The taunts, pranks and snide remarks… Hateful and wicked… It leaves deep and unforgetable scars.
In Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya and other parts of East and Central Africa, we are haunted and hunted like prized gazelles. For what? To chop our bodies into bits and use us for rituals for money making, good luck charms etc., I weep when I watch, read and hear of these tales but yet I say strongly: No pity please. After all, in English, an adage goes thus “person wey dey cry dey see road.” Even in the midst of my tears, I am still sane.
While I weep for the fate that have befallen many over there and the acceptance of such dastardly acts by their society, I am more petrified by the situation back home.
You see in 2014, I tried to apply for the Graduate Internship Scheme, YOUWIN, organized by the Federal government. Whilst filling out my application, I got to a spot tagged “any form of disability?”. Guess what; “albinism” was number 7 on the list. I was devastated, I stopped forth with. I have been betrayed by my own government who branded me an invalid because I lack pigmentation. But again: No pity please!
Socialization is said to be the best way by which culture can be transmitted from one epoch to another. Culture is the total sum of our way of life and social perception plays a major role in the formation of culture. Today, I’m saddened by the many misconstrued perceptions, the subtle yet very strong hunts for Albinos in East Africa; I’m disappointed in the discriminatory stance of the Nigeria society towards people living with Albinism, emboldened by the fact that there are Albinos out there who are smashing records, breaking down doors and doing the extraordinary things; even in the midst of daunting challenges.
I stand to announce the #Albinism_Not_Disability campaign and hope you join me by taking a picture with the hashtag written on a piece of paper and sharing with your networks on various social media platforms.
I look forward to your support, but I must warn you; it’s not a pity party and all you very piteous and pitiful people, are not invited. It’s a party of like minds who believe that we are as endowed and gifted, blessed and perhaps cursed as the man with a huge dose of Melanin. So, No pities please
Join me in standing against discrimination and harassment of the Albinos.