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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

COLOR INITIATIVE 12 & 13: People with Albinism and Their Place in the Sun

Albinism worldwide

By Clark Boyd ⋅ July 28, 2009 ⋅ Post a comment

"Albinos" in much of sub-Saharan Africa are in danger. People with albinism lack the pigment melanin in their eyes, skin, and hair. It’s a genetic defect, but in much of Africa, it’s also reason for extreme, and deadly, prejudice. Phillip Martin has been reporting for our program on race and color around the world. This is the first of two stories Martin prepared on the growing threat to albinos. As one interviewee told him:
I can tell you that throughout the whole area of Africa, beliefs exist that people with albinism are cursed, that the mother had sex with the white man, that she had sex with a European ghost, that these people are evil, that they’re possessed, that they’re substandard, that the disease is contagious. There’s a host of myths that prevail for hundreds of years for people with albinism in large parts of Africa.

Listen to Part 1:
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To see more photos from Tanzania, click here.

In part two of Phillip Martin’s series on albinism worldwide, he surveys global efforts to show albinos in a more favorable light. Martin interviews Rick Guidotti, a fashion photographer who, in 1999, photographed a young albino woman named Christine (at left) for a Life Magazine photo essay entitled “Redifining Beauty.” Guidotti remembers:
“She walked into my studio with her head down, shoulders hunched, eyes down as well, one word answers, no eye contact. This kid had zero self esteem because of being teased her entire life because of her albinism. So I thought, well I’m going to photograph her in respect to the way I would photograph anyone, Cindy or Claudia. So the lights went on, the music the fan. I grabbed a mirror, and was like, ‘Christine look.’ This kid looked in the mirror, and for the first time, saw a beautiful girl.”

Listen to Part 2:
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To see more of Rick Guidotti’s pictures, click here, or visit Rick’s website, Positive Exposure.

The Color Initiative is funded by the Ford Foundation, with additional resources provided by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and the Funding Exchange (Paul Robeson Fund).

WGBH , PRI and BBC Announce a World-Wide Reporting Initiative Focused on Color

WGBH Radio, Public Radio International and the BBC have announced the launch of “The Color Initiative”, a landmark journalism project that will examine complex global issues of politics, culture, history and society through the framework of human perceptions and experiences related to color. Once complete, this on-going project will air on The World, broadcasting on WGBH 89.7, Mon-Fri at 4pm and 7pm. Feature Color Initiative stories reported from around the globe will be produced by Lifted Veils Productions, a Boston-based non-profit radio journalism organization dedicated to exploring issues that divide society. Former NPR supervising senior editor and NPR’s former Race Relations Correspondent, Phillip Martin, will serve as lead correspondent. He is also the Executive Producer of Lifted Veils Productions. Anthony Brooks, The World’s former senior producer and former national correspondent for NPR, is the Color Initiative series editor. The World’s Executive Producer is Bob Ferrante. The project is made possible by a grant from the Ford Foundation and the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities. “The establishment of an international editorial beat dedicated to covering color worldwide is the first of its kind, and places The World in a unique position in public radio in the United States and Britain,” says Marita Rivero, General Manager for WGBH Radio and Television. Among the topics that will be explored by the Color Initiative are: • COLOR AND IMMIGRATION: A FOUR PART SERIES • IRAQ’S WAR DEAD, AMERICA’S RESPONSE AND THE ROLE OF COLOR • CASTE, COLOR AND EDUCATION IN INDIA The first report in the year-long project looks at the on-going marketing campaign by Benetton, which mixes business with socially conscious messages focusing on diversity of all sorts, including color. Those messages are now coming up against growing anti-immigrant realities in Europe, including the dominant presence of the Northern League in the very Italian city where Benetton is headquartered: Treviso. That report airs in early November. About The World Winner of the 2006 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for Broadcast News, The World with anchor Lisa Mullins has been bringing daily international news to local audiences for the past 10 years. Monday through Friday at 4pm on WGBH 89.7, the international staff of The World presents a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. The World is the first international radio news program developed specifically for an American audience, giving listeners an upbeat and informed take on the day's events. Co-produced by WGBH, the BBC World Service, and Public Radio International, The World is heard on more than 200 public radio stations across the country. About WGBH Listener-supported WGBH 89.7 is Boston's NPR® arts and culture station. Bringing you the best for more than 50 years, 89.7 serves its wide-ranging audience with a menu of classical music, NPR news, jazz, blues, folk, and spoken-word programs. The station is an active participant in New England's vibrant music community, presenting more than 300 performances every year, including live broadcasts and remote recordings from such diverse venues as Tanglewood, the Lowell Folk Festival, the Newport Jazz Festival, and WGBH's own studios. WGBH 89.7 can be heard online anywhere in the world at, and can be heard on Nantucket at WNCK 89.5.