'Da Vinci Code' Continues 'Evil Albino' Stereotype
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
May 24, 2006
HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA--Have you heard the latest controversy about the best-selling book and blockbuster movie "The Da Vinci Code"?
It's not about whether Jesus Christ married Mary Magdalene and fathered a child with her. Nor is it about secret societies that used codes to carry hidden messages down through the ages.
No. The controversy is about author Dan Brown's villain of the piece, an albino monk named Silas.
Why does the villain have albinism? Or, perhaps more accurately, considering 90 years of cinematic history, why wouldn't the bad guy be a white-haired, white-skinned hooded character?
It's pretty easy to keep the roles straight, kind of like the heroes with the white hats versus the bandits with the black hats in the old Westerns: Good complexion means "good guy". Every thing else -- scars, acne, birthmarks, and hypopigmentation, -- means "bad guy".
"Dan Brown is only following a long line of idiocy in Hollywood and books that continues to cast albinos as baddies," wrote freelance journalist Rose George for The Guardian. "Over the last thirty years, this lazy stereotyping of a minority that happens to be striking has got worse, not better."
"You wouldn't know this from films, but people with albinism don't have red eyes. They don't glow in the dark. They are not deaf, though sometimes they might wish to be, so they couldn't hear the constant comments about their appearance."
Dermatologist Vail Reese M.D. hosts Skinema.com, a website dedicated to examining the ways people with different skin conditions are portrayed in the movies.
June Waugh, a member of the National Organization of Albinism and Hypopigmentation, wrote on Reese's website that "enough is enough."
"There have been 67 movies since 1960 where the protagonist is an evil albino," Waugh said. "We're not evil. We're not deviants. We're not pathetic like Silas."
"Beyond the pale" (The Guardian)
"Film review: The 'Evil Albino' and blind CGI" by Christina Papamichael (BBC Ouch!)
National Organization for Albinism and Hypopigmentation
"Skinema and The Da Vinci Code" (Skinema.com)