Sadly, bullying is part of plenty of kids’ lives‘— even for a kid who’d go on to play basketball for Texas Christian University.
“Where I came up from, you had to have thick skin. It didn’t matter who you were. You were going to meet somebody mean. You had to take it. I just brushed it off. It’s nothing but words. Of course, words can hurt. But when you’ve been through and seen things, real-life experiences, words can do nothing to you,” Jaylen Fisher told the Star-Telegram, an interview where he opened up about what it’s like living with albinism.
The talented sophomore out of Tennessee wasn’t open to the media freshman year, but in his second year, he’s fair game. He’s a rising star on the team who’s been leading in assists and averaging 11 points a game, but would rather speak on what makes him different and embracing it.
Fisher didn’t realize he wasn’t like anyone else until he started to hang out with other kids. After people repeatedly asked him about his skin, he decided to ask his mother.
“This is just how God made you,” was her response. And with that Fisher has found strength in his uniqueness.
Other than limiting the amount of melanin in a person’s skin, albinism can also make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure and cause possible vision problems. But the 6’2″ guard says the only symptoms he has are his pale skin and white hair—so despite being Black, some people assume he’s white. He remembers during an AAU game when a player on the opposing team made a comment about him being albino and it just made him want to go even harder once the ball was tipped out.
The Tennessee native knows that with his talents come a bigger platform to bring awareness to his condition and he knows how hard it’ll be to just play ball, but he gets it. “How can you miss a black guy who is blond?”