News

Teenager with rare skin condition accused of ‘cultural appropriation’

Aviral is now unrecognisable from childhood photos and has been accused of “cultural appropriation” when celebrating Hindu holidays with his family.

Aviral Chauhan is now unrecognisable from childhood photos

A teen with a rare condition watched as his skin change colour to nearly completely white.

Aviral Chauhan, 19, was born in India before moving to America and had no idea he had vitiligo until he spotted a white patch on his eye lid, 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.

Now he is unrecognisable from childhood photos, and has been accused of “cultural appropriation” when celebrating Hindu holidays with his family.

But Aviral, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, said he now ignores comments from “trolls” – after he realised he “doesn’t have to prove his identity to anyone”.



Aviral Chauhan (right), before his skin pigment began to change, and his dad Jitendra
(

Image:

Aviral Chauhan / SWNS)




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 recognise 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, India, and moved to America in 2008 with his brother Advyay, 11, mum Mohini, 39, and dad Jitendra, 44.



Aviral Chauhan saw his skin change colour regularly
(

Image:

Aviral Chauhan / SWNS)




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 pigment called melanin.

Until the age of 11, he looked similar to his brother – but soon after, his skin changed dramatically because of the hereditary condition.

Over a 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 at first.



Aviral Chauhan (left) and dad Jitendra
(

Image:

Aviral Chauhan / SWNS)






A younger Aviral before his skin started changing
(

Image:

Aviral Chauhan / SWNS)




“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, the hardest thing to deal with was the comments from others 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.”



Aviral Chauha with his dad Jitendra, and mum Mohini
(

Image:

Aviral Chauhan / SWNS)




When Aviral joined high school at around the age of 16, he began to embrace his much-changed appearance.

He said his supportive friendship group would “have his back” when he faced comments from peers.

Aviral said his family practice a “good blend of Indian and American cultures” – and although they don’t worship every day, they celebrate Hindu holidays such as Diwali.



A younger Aviral Chauhan with his mother Mohini
(

Image:

Aviral Chauhan / SWNS)






Aviral Chauhan, who was born in India, has been accused of “cultural appropriation”
(

Image:

Aviral Chauhan / SWNS)




But he was recently accused of ‘cultural appropriation’ – where a person from a different culture adopts a certain culture’s practices as their own – when he posted photos of himself in traditional Indian clothes on social media.

He explained: “It was annoying that people were questioning me and making accusations – it’s literally my own culture.

“I don’t necessarily go out of my way to tell people I’m Indian, but I would never pretend I’m not, because it’s who I am.”



Aviral Chauhan, 19, who was born in India, had no idea he had vitiligo until he spotted a white patch on his eye
(

Image:

Aviral Chauhan / SWNS)




Aviral said despite comments from others, he feels confident in his own skin thanks to the support of friends and family.

He said: “I might look a little different, but I can’t name a time where anyone I care about has made me feel bad about my appearance.

“My family and friends have always been supportive of me and helped me get to a place where I truly feel happy in my own skin.”











Most Related Links :
todayuknews Governmental News Finance News

Source link

Back to top button
Native News Post