Monday, December 27, 2010
My quick thoughts on MTV's True Life: I am an Albino"
For once, my "man, fuck this shit!" meter wasn't as high as it usually gets with mainstream shows about Albinism. I don't watch MTV True Life series often, so I couldn't tell you if its approach is typical of other episodes, but I appreciated the large amount of airtime the three were given to explain themselves, and not a voice-over explaining what Albinism is in a medical-kinda-a-way (it eventually does later in the show). I connected strongly with the guy who went to the convention and his initial nervousness about being with so many other folks with Albinism. Overall it was as good as it can get from a commercial/MTV lens. It could have been worse.
This is the second time I've seen a white female concern herself about "passing," a topic I heard mostly among African Americans, which I find REALLL ironic. She also brings up the notion of being called "An Albino" versus "Someone with Albinism" and the implications it has on her esteem. IMO, we're screwed if you take it that way. I've been on some message boards and folks can really get into this particular topic. There may be some valid language and social identity politics at play, but as a Latino, I cannot see such discussions anywhere related in the same vein as ethnic groups going on about "Latino vs. Latin@" or "Black v. African American". In the end, uses of such terms are contextual. And, moving fluidly among these names is an act against the Eurocentric approach of rigid categorizations and psycho/social/identity segregation. I often play with the negative connotations when interacting with people, just to fuck with them a little... so no matter how I present myself, I keep in control of the naming at all times.. (oops, I gave away a secret).
I also found the lunchroom discussion quite fascinating as the African American male told Zack (the African American with Albinism) that he was shocked, and the white dudes were all "I just saw you as who you were man" SOOO much to be said right there about how this exemplifies the continued stagnation of how fucked up race issues are in 2010... As a Latino with Albinism/Albino Latino/Latino Albino (ha!), I had my share of acceptance and rejection by whites, blacks, and Latinos... too bad this wasn't explored more to show intra-group issues, and cross-group issues, and how it takes social anomalies to bring this out.
In all, its a decent episode, not the best... and not everyone has such a great ending to their lives as these folks do. Again, this calls for more exposure of Albinism, and a heightened complexity of understanding the identities of "others," which I doubt we'll see about Albinos again anytime soon.