|An Albino-American squirrel eats a brown nut|
Cooper doesn't mind the term "albino," but thinks it carries too many negative connotations thanks to Hollywood's portrayals of albino people as evil freaks.
"Albino-American is kind of nice too," he said, "although I guess we're not really an ethnic group. We should be, though." He went to point out that albinism is nothing to fear and is not contagious. "You cannot catch albinism," he said, "no matter how hard you try."
Albinism, or "hypopigmentation," is not a laughing matter, says Cooper. It's a genetic disorder that has no cure. "I'm not aware of any 5K runs to help fight albinism, are you?" he asked rhetorically. While it's not a fatal disorder, it does make it difficult for albino animals to blend in with their surroundings. "The up side, though," chuckled Cooper, "is that we're more visible to drivers at night."
|Albino-American Anderson Cooper|
Some people are shocked by his pink eyes when they first see them, but Cooper just gives his award-winning smile and tells them to "think pink."
Most people, he says, do not have a problem with his eyes. "They match the rest of me," he says, "which is so obviously lacking any pigmentation that my pink eyes just seem more normal, if you will."
"Didn't everyone already suspect that Anderson was an albino?" asked one of the reporters at the press conference. "I mean, come on," she said, "it's just so obvious. Right?"