OK, rhetorical question but you have to wonder about asshats who make these comments and have no clue (even with phones possessing the library of Congress in them) what this kid’s gone through.
Then, again, maybe he needs to man up and quit whining.
Aviral Chauhan, 19, was born in India before moving to America and had no idea he had the rare condition until he spotted a white patch on his eyelid aged 11.
It soon spread to elbows and knees, and then turned almost all of the skin on his face and body white by the time he was aged 13.
Aviral, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, US, admitted he struggled growing up as people would make comments asking if he was adopted or albino.
However he has since learned to ignore ‘trolls’ accusing him of cultural appropriation – where a person from a different culture adopts a certain culture’s practices as their own – after he realized he ‘doesn’t have to prove his identity to anyone’.
The business student said: ‘It started with a few small white spots when I was 11, but suddenly the vitiligo went crazy and I would barely recognize myself in pictures from just a few months earlier.
‘There was a time when I didn’t look the same for any two days – my skin would change dramatically overnight.
‘Classmates in high school would ask questions when I didn’t really understand it myself, and I often heard other adults asking my parents about me when they thought I couldn’t hear.
‘I might look white, but my family and culture are still Indian and I try my best to stay true to my identity.’
Aviral was born in Kanpur and moved to America in 2008 with his brother Advyay, 11, mother Mohini, 39, and father Jitendra, 44.
He started to develop vitiligo aged 11.
The long-term condition causes pale white patches to develop on the skin due to the lack of a pigment called melanin.
Until the age of 11, Aviral looked similar to his brother – but soon after, his skin changed dramatically due to the hereditary condition.
He said over that period of around 18 months, he would develop white patches almost overnight.
He said: ‘At first, it was quite hard to understand what was going on, and I was pretty self-conscious.
‘Middle school was not a fun experience.
‘I would look at photos from just a few months earlier and look like a completely different person.’
Despite occasional comments and questions from peers, he told how the hardest thing to deal with as he grew up was comments from adults to his parents.
He said: ‘It would be questions like, “Is he adopted?” or “is he albino?” That was pretty tough to hear as a teenager.
‘Or people would say to my parents “You’re so lucky he’s white” thinking they were complimenting me, because it was seen as desirable to have a child with a lighter skin tone in Indian culture.
‘But my family didn’t see it that way – all it did was disconnect me further from my identity.’