“Colorless in a Rainbow:” An African American Female with Albinism in the Hawaii Public School System

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Kimetta R. Hairston

Keywords

Critical Race Theory, African-American, Albinism

Abstract

Culture, ethnicity and ability: these are just three attributes that encompass the life of a female African-American student living with albinism and attending a local Hawaii public school. From February 2003 – April 2004, through personal and family interviews, a personal journal and autobiography, field notes, observations at home, school and in extracurricular activities, the personal perceptions and experiences of what it is like living with albinism and being African-American  surfaced for this student.  This article addresses identity issues regarding race, gender and ability, and discusses two theories:  Critical race theory (CRT) and disability theory to answer the questions, who and what defines this female’s identity?

Utilizing the lens of critical race theory and disability theorists, the following case study will examine issues related to being an African-American female student with albinism in Hawaii.  The complexities of issues that make up Taylour’s life include:  1. The societal definition of her race andthe implications of stereotypes and name-calling that reflect these views; 2. The issue of how society defines her disability, which often excludes blindness, but focuses on albinism and finally; 3.  Self-identity and personal reflection and how Taylour relates to being African-American and having albinism. 

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