Albinism: Caught Between Dark and Light

Part 1: African-American fraternal twin brothers separated only by skin color.
3:00 | 08/27/10

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Transcript for Albinism: Caught Between Dark and Light
Our groundbreaking story about children born with albinism touched millions of you and generated a flood of concern.

ELIZABETH VARGAS, ABC NEWS
(OC) In a culture where beauty can determine everything from who loves you to who hires you, what hope do these children have for a normal life? Tonight, you'll see as Juju Chang brings us an amazing new chapter in the lives of people born too light.

KENYEN FLOWERS
My name is Kenyen Flowers. I'm 10 years old and I live in Illinois.

KHARI FLOWERS
And I'm his twin brother, Khari.

JUJU CHANG
(VO) You can just imagine the great surprise that met Kenyen and Khari's birth. They are fraternal twins, born only 25 minutes apart. But Kenyen has albinism, so in many ways, it separates him from his brother by an eternity.

KENYEN FLOWERS
My family's skin color, probably like chocolate. To me, when people say what color are you is, I say banana and vanilla mixed, bavilla.

JUJU CHANG
(OC) Would you ever wanna be brown?

KENYEN FLOWERS
I don't know if I look good in brown. I don't really know.

JUJU CHANG
(VO) Kenyen says he remembers clearly the first time he noticed the vanilla-chocolate difference between him and his family.

KENYEN FLOWERS
I was with my mom when she was carrying me. I saw my arm. I, I was holding onto her.

JUJU CHANG
(OC) And what did you think?

KENYEN FLOWERS
Wow.

JUJU CHANG
(VO) A typical response when anyone sees Kenyan with his family for the first time. Because of his albinism, Kenyan's body produces little or no pigment in the skin, eyes and hair. Two recessive genes are the culprits, one from each parent. Albinism cuts across the animal kingdom, and in humans is found in every ethnicity in every corner of the world. For the Flowers family, they're constantly reminded that one of them is not quite like the others.

GLENN FLOWERS, KENYEN'S FATHER
When Kenyen, I think he was maybe 2, we were in a store and he picked up a toy he wanted. I said no toys. I put it back. There was an older lady shopping, watching me. And then I see security coming. And this lady's like, 'This black man is trying to take this little white boy outside." The security guy come up, he's like, 'Put the little boy down." I'm like, 'This is my son." 'Well, you got proof he's your son?" 'No, that's my wife, there's my other son. You touch me, you leave me alone, or I'm gonna tear this whole store apart."

KENYEN FLOWERS
When people ask questions like, are you really his brother? It makes me feel nauseous. Like, I don't think I wanna answer to that, 'cause I'm, I am his brother. It's that I'm lighter and then they, and they don't understand it.

CHILD, MALE
Come on, boys.

KHARI FLOWERS
I heard people call him albino, a freak, idiot, retard, all kind of names. When I hear those name, I just fight back and say, what happens if you were him?

JUJU CHANG (VO) In spite of their differences, or perhaps because of them, Kenyen and Khari have a unique bond.

KENYEN FLOWERS Hey. He's awesome, cool, good brother to have. And, and the most of all, he's the best.

KHARI FLOWERS
Kenyen and I are like, as close as glue on paper. Sometimes, I think he's the second part of my heart.

JUJU CHANG
(VO) At just 10 years old, these boys have already learned about the importance of looks and the shortage of tolerance. Kenyen's albinism does set him apart from most 10-year-olds because he's legally blind.

KENYEN FLOWERS
I kind of wish I could see better 'cause I can't see people from far away, 'cause I think they just disappeared.

JUJU CHANG
(VO) Khari has become his brother's keeper because of it.

KHARI FLOWERS
Usually, when he follows me into the park, I have to watch him in the street and also when he's at school. Crying, I had to go see what's wrong and, and whoever hurt his feelings, here comes me.

STUDENTS, GROUP
I pledge allegiance to the flag.

JUJU CHANG
(VO) Kenyen is the first student with albinism to ever attend his elementary school.

TEACHER, FEMALE
Who knows how to spell (inaudible) now?

JUJU CHANG
(VO) To help things along, the school purchased special equipment to help him see the material.

TEACHER
Make sure you indent all of your work, your very first sentence.

JUJU CHANG
(VO) He also has an aide by his side the whole day to make sure he absorbs the lesson plan. Altogether, there are eight specialists who work with Kenyen over the course of a week. But once recess comes around, the divide between the Flowers brothers becomes more dramatic. Khari, the athlete, is outside playing football. Kenyen's vision makes sports tough, so he and his friends have completely different plans, lunch bunch.

KENYEN'S FRIEND, FEMALE
It's a thing where we just talk, and it's like, more quieter than there. It's just - sometimes where we talk.

KENYEN'S FRIEND
It's like...

KENYEN FLOWERS
The very small things.

KENYEN'S FRIEND
...we eat lunch together.

KENYEN FLOWERS
Confessional with food.

KENYEN'S FRIEND
It's fun.

KENYEN FLOWERS
What are we gonna talk about?

JUJU CHANG
(VO) The most popular topic these days, Kenyen's racial identity.

KENYEN'S FRIEND
About albinism, have you ever, like, what have you said to them, like, why are you white instead of black? What have you, like, said to them?

KENYEN FLOWERS
It's because I have albinism. I can tell you about it, but just don't call me white again, 'cause I am not. I'm black. Some people call me pale, which I'm not.

KENYEN'S FRIEND
And I know, with you, Kenyen, you may look like - look like white, but almost like you, you look in the shadow and at your skin, it might almost look like, almost like a little bit, almost like a regular person's skin a bit. But...

KENYEN'S FRIEND
He is a regular person, though.

JUJU CHANG
(VO) Finding acceptance with friends is hard. But there's something else Kenyen finds even more challenging.

KENYEN FLOWERS
Having a love life for me, it's hard. Really hard and harsh. I like girls and they said, I don't like you, I just like you as a friend. Maybe they just think I'm not cute enough, which I am, but they just don't see it. They'd rather see some guy who's big, gigantic strong, who play - rather plays football, instead of just a kid with albinism and takes Tae Kwon Do. It's really heartbreaking.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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