Jim Peterson; teacher and performer

Meet James Peterson; an associate professor at Berkley.

James has a degree in Music from the Berkley College of Music, is a member of three-time Boston Music Award–winning R & B band Eye 2 Eye, and has performed with the gospel group Color Blind, Lalah Hathaway, Bob Moses, NAJEE, and Tavares.

Jim wrote that he sees his albinism as a source of empowerment, and that people with albinism can thrive and exceed at anything they do.

Jim is right. It’s true that the only limits are the ones we put on ourselves.

“I first got a guitar when I was about seven years old, and for a number of years I tinkered around with it. My mother would always remark that I should hang onto it, because in her mind I picked things up very quickly. . . She was a big music fan.

” . . . funk music, just like other styles, is really a language, or a dialect. It’s a certain kind of rhythm interpretation. Once students realize they can do a lot to become a better player by just focusing on their rhythm, it just opens doors and they get really excited. That makes it easier for me to teach the deeper harmonic theory, because they’ve got that rhythmical base.”

“I stress accountability, focus, and discipline with my students; I tell them they have to decide what they want to achieve and set standards for themselves that I’m going to challenge them to meet. Make sure you’re doing it every day.”

“It’s really important to be versatile. The more prepared you are, the less time you have to waste getting prepared for the gig. If you don’t do that, then you’re not going to get paid, and you probably won’t get called back.”

Check out Jim’s Facebook page to see he is up to.

Beautiful albinism fashion show

DRC Africa

DRC Congo. Click to enlarge

 

A fashion show was performed in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo in October. It was titled “Proudly Albino,” and was meant to showcase the beauty of albinism and to combat the negative stereotypes and discrimination we face in that part of the world.

 

 

The story was reported as a photo essay by Eduardo Soteras, and presented by Ruvarashe Beta, travel writer.

albino models

Click on the above links for 17 more astounding photos

 

The myth is still alive

I was just sent a You Tube video titled Yakub’s Book of Tricknology. It depicts a badly drawn cartoon of a Black man in a white robe. He has an overly large head. The voice is computer generated.

This character goes on for four or five minutes telling his “albino” children how to take over the world and dominate brown and black people. I was sent the video because it had the word “albinetic” in it. This is in reference to White people, not true albinos.

In explaining this video to the person who sent it to me I pulled out my dusty old copy of The Isis Papers by Francis Welsing. I explained the essence of her explanation regarding why Whites are so intent on domination and supremacy.

For those of you who are not familiar with The Isis Papers and Dr Welsing’s theory, it goes, in a nutshell, like this.

Long ago and far away in a place called Africa, all the villages got together and decided to kick out all the albino white mutants. (Nothing is said regarding why this was done or when.) Thus started the migration of the cast out albinos. They went North where the sun wasn’t so harsh.

On the way they interbred and changed into Caucasians. Their hair, lips, and noses got thin. They turned evil and decided to take revenge on all black and brown people for rejecting them. They tried to love themselves but they couldn’t because their own Black mothers and fathers rejected them.

Albinos (Whites) were created when Adam and Eve ate the poisoned fruit. Adam and Eve were black Africans but their cursed children were mutant albinos. Albinos therefore represent original sin.

According to Dr Welsing there is no difference microscopically in the skin of a White person and what she continually calls albino mutants.

I have always had questions about these African villagers who decided to get rid of their albino relatives, friends and children. How old were these albinos? Did people banish their spouses and parents? Did mothers give up their babies? Were long time friendships dissolved? There must have been a huge conference regarding this banishment if all these villagers got together to agree on this action. Too many questions have gone unanswered. Such is the context of fantasy and fairy tale.

It must have been at lest 20 years since I first told people of the stupidity of this theory. But just like most Whites give reasons for why they think Black people are black, (they blamed it on syphilis) some Black people give reasons as to why they think White people are white, they blame it on albinos.

It’s just the way one group of people shows contempt for another. IMHO both sides need to get a grip.

Why do we always have to be the bad guys?

A few days ago I wrote an opinion . .okay, it was a rant, on a site called the Black Science Fiction Society. I brought up the topic of albinism in science fiction and fantasy. They decided to feature it for a while so I am passing it on to you. Here it is.

Here is something that has caused me consternation for a very long time. Albinos in the media have always been seen as other than human. We have been given red demonic eyes, stark white unruly hair and skin that resembles a corpse or a powdered doughnut.

In fact, we have been portrayed as vampires, aliens, an even underground cannibal brainless brutes. Although I do know some brainless brutes with albinism, this is by no means the norm for people like me.

Believe me; if I had the power to make my eyes glow and make people step out in front of trucks, I certainly would. But I can’t do that so breathe easy.

If you have ever seen Village of the Damned, The Time Machine, The Omega Man, or read a Marvel comic you know what I mean. If you’ve seen End of Days (I know that guy) read The Famished Road or Sent For You Yesterday, you are all too familiar with the albino as some otherworldly freak. I’m not even going to talk about Powder. ugh.

There are people who actually think we are witches or magic.Sometimes this is rather funny. I met a man who thought I was a witch and offered to save my soul. But sometimes it can be downright dangerous. People in parts of Africa have been hacking up albino children collecting their body parts for sale. They have had to put children in safe camps for their protection.

But I digress.

There was a man who contacted me about an albino character he wanted to create for a game. I suggested he give the character long blond dreads. That was a long time ago and I haven’t heard anything.

So what would happen if there were a character in a comic book that was just a person with albinism? No superhuman powers, not out to conquer the universe. It would be just like putting an evil dwarf in your story who wasn’t evil.

It’s all about using disability and difference, as a metaphor for “the other”.

I’m not going to offer any answers here since I don’t have any myself. How do you portray a person with albinism in the comics? Why would you put them in the story? How would you draw them? I’ll let you figure that out. I just thought I’d give you some food for thought.

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I got some interesting responses as to how to include a character with albinism into a story. That was nice of them, but I was trying to throw some hints for them  regarding writing such a character.

Maybe we can start seeing some super heroes with albinism instead of super villains or mutants. Just sayin.

Yet another definition

I was sitting with a writer/artist friend the other day in a diner. We were having lunch and discussing the projects we are both working on. We have known each other for a number of years through the writer’s club we both belong to. But neither of us has had the chance to really learn about each other on a one-to-one basis.

We were talking about our childhoods, and we seemed to have many things in common: such as abusive parents. She asked me if my family were such ogres because of my albinism. I said, “No.” They were just ogres and did not need excuses to be so. She then made a statement that was yet another weird belief that people have about albinism. One I had never heard before. And I thought I had heard them all.

She regarded me and said that she thought albinos were people with white hair, lashes, and eyebrows. I could make no sense of that statement. Why on Earth would someone think that? What did that mean? Saying albinos are people with white hair is like saying dogs stand 13 inches high. How do you respond to that?

I pondered it for a day before I realized what she had just revealed to me. In her world, albinos were included among White people. No one else existed. What she thought, and what she was likely taught was that people with albinism had “normal” skin: normal meaning Caucasian; but had white hair. That leaves out any and all dark-skinned races.

By making this statement she revealed the world many people in America live in. It’s a narrow world; a fenced in world; a world where Whites are the norm and everyone else is considered “other.”

The woman who made this statement is not Caucasian. But like all of us, she has been bombarded by media images of blond-haired, blue-eyed people, and told that this is what most people look like. In fact, Blond-haired, blue-eyed people are not only a minority, they are the result of a recessive gene.

I wonder if anyone has done a paper or a study on this type of misconception. I would love to see this analyzed.