February is Black History Month, and we want to hear from YOU!
Black PWAs, we invite you to share your experiences as a Black person with albinism throughout February and beyond. We welcome written submissions, photos, videos, and more!
Please send submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to be featured on NOAH social media and the NOAH website.
“My name is Yasmine Straker. I am twenty years old, I have albinism, and I am Black.
I was seventeen when the latter part of that second sentence started to trouble me. You see, I don’t recall anybody ever truly explaining my Blackness, which is slightly different from that which most other people—like my brother, for instance—experience. This is where I consider my identity fractured, unaware of how to cope with the multitudes I held in such a small body.
Seventeen was different though. Seventeen was crippling fear caused by footage of people who looked like my family members being hurt on the news. Practically a new face and name every week. Seventeen was being burned by the corrosive build-up of Black people not seeing my Blackness for years. Seventeen was these multitudes ricocheting off of one another after traveling parallel for so long. Seventeen was feeling misunderstood by everybody else because nobody knew who I was or how I felt inside.
And it felt like I was being torn in half by two conflicting identities. And if I didn’t choose one and stick with it quick, I was going to explode under the pressure. Because it seemed I couldn’t be Black and simultaneously be fair skinned, blond, and blue-eyed. I never identified with being white but felt like I was lying to people when I said I was Black because I was scared I didn’t look the part. I believed my existence was antithetical because no one had ever explained that it was possible because I existed. And I had nothing to prove to anyone. Ever. So long as I knew who I was, it was okay.
Honestly, this is something that I’m still working on today and probably will be for a while. So, I encourage all parents of Black children with Albinism to explain why lack of pigment doesn’t make them any less Black. And if you’re like me—not so much a kid anymore—and you’re feeling like this, remind yourself of the same. We are a community tied very closely by the color of our skin but we’re also so much more than that. We are the blood that runs through our veins too and no matter how much or how little melanin I have in my body, I will always be Black.” – Yasmine Straker