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Teenager Accused Of Cultural Appropriation After His Skin Colour Changed

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Teenager Accused Of Cultural Appropriation After His Skin Colour Changed

A teenager in the US was accused of cultural appropriation after his skin colour changed. Watch here:

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Aviral Chauhan was born in India and had no idea he had vitiligo until he spotted a white patch on his eye lid, aged 11.

It soon spread to his elbows and knees, and then turned almost all of the skin on his face and body white by the time he was aged 13.

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Now the 19-year-old is unrecognisable from childhood photos, and has even been accused of 'cultural appropriation' when celebrating Hindu holidays with his family.

Aviral, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, said: "It was annoying that people were questioning me and making accusations - it's literally my own culture.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

"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."

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Vitiligo is a condition which causes pale white patches to develop on the skin due to a lack of pigment, called melanin.

Until the age of 11, Aviral looked similar to his brother - but soon after, his skin changed dramatically due to the hereditary condition.

He said over that period of around 18 months, he would develop white patches almost overnight.

He 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.

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"There was a time when I didn't look the same for any two days - my skin would change dramatically overnight.

Credit: SWNS
Credit: SWNS

"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."

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While comments from classmates could be hurtful, it was what adults said to his parents which he found hardest to take.

He recalled: "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."

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Aviral said he was recently accused of 'cultural appropriation' when he posted photos of himself in traditional Indian clothes on social media.

He said: "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."

Nowadays though, Aviral 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."

Featured Image Credit: SWNS

Topics: Interesting, Community, Health, India

Jake Massey
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