A Critical Analysis of N. Blankenberg's Article: "That Rare and Random Tribe: Albino Identity in South Africa"

Essay by WopUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2006

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The Blankenberg article was a response to what was considered a mythic, rather than medical, issue afflicting a surprisingly large proportion of the African community. Albinism of black Africans is particularly damaging in South Africa, being that South Africa was arguably hardest hit by racism during the colonial era. Apartheid gave credence according to skin color, and in all cases, authority came in the color white. It follows then, that the purpose of the article is to reflect on the assimilation, or lack there of, for the black albino pre and post apartheid. Blankenberg attempts to demystify the life of an albino and expose what postulations a fair skinned black African may have to live with. In so doing, Blankenberg clearly aspires to resolve feelings of isolation suffered by most albinos. Although the author does not clearly state her intention in the essay, the position taken on the issue suggests her desire to nullify the existence of racial classification or at the very least expose its weakness.

As Blankenberg writes, "whether for good or for bad, race, and racialism exist in discourse and exist in experience" (42). To clarify, she defines racialism as biological characteristics that are the structure of various social relations resulting in different social collectives and racism is the product of applying judgments to a collective group of people with similar physical characteristics (10). As the product of a union between an Albino colored man and a white woman, she knows first hand the hardships of those who suffer from the genetic disorder. The essay, as a result, sheds light on the emotional impact racism by both blacks and whites has on an albino, who consequently, feels rejected by both racialism and racism. Her concern is not only justified by how physically desolate a black albino...