Hemlock: The impatient albino.
Miss Cerebus: I don't think Mr Dragon's affliction is a joking matter.
Hemlock: I thought it was rather humorous myself. A spy network run by a bloodless freak who can't stand light or cold.
Genetic defects are rarely ever brought up in fiction, but when they are, albinism — or in some cases leucism — is typically the most common. Albinism is a genetic condition that results in little or no production of melanin, the compound responsible for hair, skin, and eye colors in many species. In fiction, this usually manifests as very pale or stark white skin and hair paired with red or purple eyes. Because this phenotype is highly unusual, it is oftentimes viewed with great suspicion.
As such, most of the time these characters are social pariahs among their own people. At best, and especially if they occupy some high rank of authority, they'll be regarded with no small measure of fear by all. If not, they'll probably just be ignored or left to their own devices, which they might just prefer. At worst, though, they'll be actively shunned, exiled, abused, or subject to any other manner of horrific fate.
The exact reason for this discrimination may vary from setting to setting. In many cases, the ostracization of an albino character will be linked to the supernatural and/or magical. In fact, among the many subgenres of fantasy and horror, one might go so far as to expect a character's albinism is directly related to any magical or supernatural abilities they possess, if they have any or it's not just the result of being a victim of said activities. In other works, the actual supernatural and magical aspects will be stripped down to simple myth and superstition, making the character an innocent victim of both.
Visually, albinism is very striking, and the introduction of one usually establishes that the character is of some plot importance even before they are properly introduced. Albinism, and the impact it has on others' treatment of someone with the condition, may be a source of the character's motivations.
Compare White Hair, Black Heart, Undeathly Pallor, White and Red and Eerie All Over, and Red Eyes, Take Warningnote ; these visual associations with evil may contribute to the ostracization. Relatedly, meta-examples may play up albinistic traits as a villain's Red Right Hand; this form of the trope is common among The Morlocks, for example. In more realistic depictions of albinism, which tends to go hand in hand with vision problems and sun-sensitive skin, such a villain may also be an Evil Cripple with Four Eyes, Zero Soul. See also Mystical White Hair for white hair being associated with special powers. If an albinistic animal is depicted as uniquely formidable or aggressive, expect a Moby Schtick.
For another disability that's often treated as an oddity, see Little People Are Surreal.
NOTE: When writing examples regarding an albino character being an outcast, remember to include that the reason (or at least major reason) is because of their albinism.
- Shiro from Deadman Wonderland is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, which is somewhat unsettling because she is in a extremely dangerous prison, and she acts like she is Ganta's friend even though he has no memory of her. And it later turns out she is also the man in red who murdered Ganta's class. At first it seems that she has a Split Personality but it later turns out she is actually a Death Seeker who wants Ganta to kill her.
- Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Inverted. Bell's snow-white hair and red eyes remind others of the cute, but dangerous almiraj (a rabbit with a horn on its head) monsters that inhabit the middle floors of the dungeon — this adds to his "pure" and "rabbit-like" appearance that others find endearing and cute, while Hestia, who is head over heels for him, considers them part of his "cool looks".
- Kimba the White Lion: Kimba is the main character whose white fur makes him distinct from the rest of the cast. However in one episode he is outright bullied by other lions for having white fur. Being a white lion, he most likely has leucism instead of albinism.
- Mekakucity Actors: Tsukihiko was an outcast in his village due to his albinism and called a "monster", which results in him falling in love with the medusa Azami and building a house for her. While she initially tries to push him away, she gradually reciprocates and eventually proposes marriage to him when she discovers that the villagers beat him up whenever he goes back to the village for building supplies.
- My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!: Sophia is a social pariah because of her white hair and bright red eyes, and many people call her evil or cursed despite being a young girl. Her brother Nicol claims she's harassed for it due to "foolish superstitions" and because people envy their family. Catarina, however, thinks she's beautiful and can't help but quote romance novels around her, endearing her to both Sophia and her brother early on.
- Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Setsuna Sakurazaki is half Demon, and yet — being a member of the Uzoku/crow tribe — somehow has white wings. She was ostracized and exiled from her home and family due to her features, which they saw as an ill omen, and Evangeline speculates that she hides her red eyes and white hair with contacts and hair dye because of it.
- Overlord: The acting chief of the Red Eye Lizard Folk tribe is a dorky but cute female albino lizardwoman named Crusch Lulu. She believes herself to be ugly because of her albinism, but Zaryusu instantly falls in love with her when he first sees her.
- Spirou and Fantasio: The Master of the Black Hosts is an African albino. He was treated horribly by everyone from the moment he was born because of it, ultimately leading him to take revenge the moment he had the power to do so.
- Spider-Man villain Tombstone, is an Albino African American who was regularly bullied in his youth due to his Albinism.
- Minor Bronze Age Batman villain Klaus Kristin a.k.a the Snowman is an albino. Originally, he is a famous and popular Olympic skiier, but he comes to see himself as a freak (this is mainly due to him being part yeti, but his albinism serves to highlight his difference from other people). Batman ends up defeating him by shining a bright light in his eyes which he can't stand to look at.
- Ra's Al-Ghul has the often-forgotten Dusan al Ghul, who had the good fortune to be born the son Ra's craved... only to be rejected as his heir because his father believed albinism meant the boy was crippled and worthless. Dusan nonetheless spent his entire life faithfully serving his sire in an attempt to gain his love, sacrificing his life to this end. A grief-stricken Ra's tragically understands how loyal and devoted to him Dusan was when it's too late.
- In Marvel Comics' Micronauts comic, Acroyear's twin brother Shaitan was born with albinism and sided with the villain Baron Karza partly because of how the rest of his race shunned him.
- Parodied and Zigzagged in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. First discussed and lampshaded amongst the Namekians that the cause of a worldwide drought on Namek was due to a race of "flithy and evil" Albino Namekians, which were all killed off in a great war. Later it's revealed that the real cause of the drought was Guru's own selfishness in drinking all of Namek's water, and he shifted the blame onto the Albino Namekians. Realizing they had slaughtered an entire race of what were most likely innocent people, the Namekians promptly rip Guru to pieces.
- Eyes of the Devil is a Warriors fic where an albino kit is ostracized by ThunderClan. When his pink eyes open, his mother rejects him as the downfall of the Clan.
- Gray Whirlpool Series: Corrin's albinism is frequently referenced by other characters, often to mock her and prey on her low self-esteem.
- Under the Bridge: Widget was born albino and missing an arm, and was dropped from an overpass by Monterey Jack when she was a baby. She was "reared" by an abusive street mother who called her "Li'l Freako" and used her to get handouts before ODing, after which Widget had to fend for herself on the streets, building her own artificial limb.
- Kamikakushi has a preteen Senju Tobirama being relentlessly ostracized and isolated by his own cousins because they're scared of his red eyes. It's even worse with strangers, as he remembers more than a few priests throwing him holy water for looking like a youkai.
- The Heat has an albino DEA agent who is generally antagonistic towards the protagonists and is even noted as looking "evil as fuck" by the Cowboy Cop. As it turns out, he's not The Mole, but he is a misogynistic asshole according to his partner (who turns out to be the villain of the film).
- Me, Myself & Irene: Both the audience and the main characters are led to believe that Casper/Whitey is a very creepy albino man who may have murdered his family. In reality, he's a nice if clingy guy whose family moved to Arizona, and he couldn't go with because of the harsh environment.
- In Mowgli, Bhoot is an albino wolf runt who gets bullied and called a freak who "came out wrong" by the other wolves. He and Mowgli become best friends because they both have difficulties finding their place in the pack. He's surprisingly cheerful despite his status.
- The Omega Man: The Family is a collection of "survivors" of the Artificial Plague that destroyed the world, who's exposure to said plague turned them albino. In addition to not being able to physically withstand any strong lights, it's mentioned the plague will still kill them eventually, and the few completely uninfected survivors also think of them as things that should not be.
- Powder sticks out like a sore thumb. He gets picked on in school and has electrical powers, too.
- Subverted for Laughs in The Princess Bride. After Wesley is captured by Prince Humperdink and imprisoned in the pit of despair, he's met by an Albino who at first speaks in a high-pitch raspy voice. He then clears his throat and starts talking like a normal human being.
- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark (2019): Sarah Bellows was persecuted by her own family and locked away from the world because she was born albino. In life, she was a hero who tried to save the town from her family, as their mill operations were poisoning the water supply. Sarah's family successfully convinced the townspeople that Sarah was a witch who was responsible for the deaths of several children, making them see her as evil and burning her at the stake. As a spirit, Sarah embraces everything her family thought her to be, and terrorizes the town in the present.
- A missionary sent to evangelize a remote African tribe is summoned by the furious chieftain, as his wife has just given birth to an albino child. The priest reassures him that he has nothing to do with it and it's simply an accident of nature, like the one black lamb in the chief's flock of sheep. The chief looks around and whispers "OK, I shut up about the baby and you shut up about the sheep."
- Alara Unbroken: To the Nacatl, Ajani's albinism is a symbol of bad luck (called "white as death"); as a result he spent much of his youth an outcast.
- Bailey School Kids: In Aliens Don't Wear Braces, the kids believe Mrs. Zork is an alien from a planet without color, as when they first meet her, her skin and hair are pure white and her clothes are monochrome. Over the course of the book, the town gradually appears to lose its color, while Mrs. Zork gets more and more colorful, leading the kids to believe that she's stealing the town's color and bringing it back to her home planet.
- Children of the Red King: Billy is continually passed over for adoption, implied to be because of his albinism, and the villain manipulates him into evil by claiming he'll help him find a family.
- The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness: Dark was rejected by his clan for his albinism; as a result, he lives alone in the mountains with his also albino pet raven, Ark.
- The Da Vinci Code: Silas's father was an alcoholic thug who abused his son because of his appearance, forcing Silas to run away from home as a teenager and turn to crime to survive. He's not a hitman because of his albinism, but it's understandable that his treatment might lead to some unsavory career choices.
- In the The Dark Is Rising novel The Grey King, Bran Davies is an albino living in Wales. The people who live in the area are afraid of him because of his white hair, odd looking eyes and pale skin, and consider him to be a freak.
- Domina: Artemis Butler sometimes gets referred to as "freakish" due being an albino. This is mostly in his flashback chapters, however. By the time of the story proper, the city has had a Bio-Augmentation device for fifteen years, so red eyes and white skin are very low on the list of weird things in the city.
- In a Dragonlance short story, there is an albino silver dragon. A knight thinks it is a white dragon and slays the creature. After realizing he just slaughtered a being of pure good purely on appearance, the knight decides to care for the dragon's baby.
- Dreamsnake: North's pathologic hatred of healers is because they could never do anything about his albinism or gigantism, traits that he hated about himself.
- In The Dunwich Horror, hideous Wilbur Whateley's mother is a mentally-ill albino woman, and this is one of the things that contributes to his family being ostracized by the rest of Dunwich.
- Subverted with Elric of Melniboné. Yes, he's an albino, and yes, he's a creepy practitioner of black magic with only the barest semblance of morals... but that's perfectly normal in the culture he was raised in, and Elric is if anything unusually nice in comparison to his normally-pigmented relatives.
- In The Impossible Virgin, a Modesty Blaise novel, one of the villain's subordinates is Lisa Brunel, an albino woman. The villain has manipulated her from a young age to make her into a useful tool, and encouraged her to think of herself as an unlovable freak as one of his techniques for keeping her socially isolated.
- Jedi Academy Trilogy: In I, Jedi the albino Shistavenen female Caet Shrovl relates that she was poorly treated by her people on their home world for her condition. As she believed the Empire caused this through an experiment which they performed on her mother, she grew to loathe them for it and joined a pirate group which despised the Imperials.
- Kane story "Reflections on the Winter of My Soul" has Evingolis. Although the lord of the manor is proud to have secured him as his minstrel, most people in the manor dislike him and treat him with distrust, not only because of his looks but also his aloof manner and strange songs in even stranger languages. And they are right, since he is a vicious werewolf whose aim is to kill all humans in the manor.
- Known Space: The planet We Made It is primarily populated by albinistic people due to a founder effect from the original colonists. The protagonist, Beowulf "Bey" Shaeffer, is the victim of discrimination on Earth, where he isn't allowed to have children because of his "genetic flaw".
- Moby-Dick is an albinistic sperm whale, but he's not so much consciously evil as he is an Animal Nemesis. The narrator, Ishmael, extensively discusses the fact that purely white things — such as albinos or white whales — are deeply unsettling even though white is the color of good. In fact, it's suggested this psychological factor drove Ahab to hate the whale even before Moby-Dick took his leg.
- Robin Of Sherwood: Maid Marian is an albino; she hides in Sherwood Forest with a group of outcasts because other people believed she was a witch because of her appearance.
- The School for Good and Evil: Anadil has albinism and is at the School for Evil in a world where Beauty Equals Goodness applies. Her appearance is considered to be on the same level as that of girls with green skin or one giant eye. In the climax, she temporarily becomes beautiful and her white hair changes to brown, while her red eyes turn green.
- The School Mouse: The mouse protagonist crosses paths with an albino mouse. She's initially terrified by him, believing him to be the ghost of her dead friend because of his white fur, but they quickly clear up the confusion and he turns out to be quite nice.
- The Shahnameh Zal is born an albino. His father abandons him on the mountainside, but the Simurgh, a wise and kindhearted (and semi-divine) bird finds him and raises him as his own. Zal eventually leaves the Simurgh to find his place in the human world, and to find his father.
- Lampshaded in R. L. Stine's Snowman: the title character points out several times that, despite his own questionable actions and sanity, he can't be an evil albino because he has white hair and dark brown/black eyes. Having grown up with white hair, he apparently got used to explaining what eye colors albinos actually have a long time ago.
- Alluded to in A Song of Ice and Fire: When the Starks find a litter of direwolf puppies in A Game of Thrones, there are three males and two females — one for each legitimate Stark sibling. The illegitimate son Jon finds a sixth albino one, which he adopts himself since he compares its albinism to his own feelings of being an outcast.
- In Sophie And The Albino Camel, the hero is an albino camel called Chobbal. Chobbal experiences rejection by his own mother for his albinism, leading to a young African boy raising him instead.
- Temeraire: The dragon Lien's family line and breed is basically the equivalent of Chinese royalty, but in a culture where white is associated with death and bad luck, albinos are basically treated as walking bad luck charms. If it wasn't for Yongxing accepting her as his companion, she would probably have been alone all her life.
- The Witcher: Geralt has white hair due to the alchemical processes that made him a witcher; more than once it's aroused suspicion of him as a mutant even before he's known as a (none too popular themselves) witcher.
- In Black Lightning, one of the main villains is Tobias Whale, an African-American albino crime boss whose albinism made him an outcast for much of his life.
- Carnivàle: in one episode, Gecko shudders at the mention of an albino and says he hates them. Gecko himself is a man with reptilian skin who works in a traveling carnival, which shows how low he considers them.
- 1960s UK cop series Gideons Way had an episode called "The White Rat", featuring a gang led by an albino called Mickey who claimed his appearance had prevented him from becoming a children's doctor.
- The Man in the High Castle: Discussed by The Marshall, a Nazi bounty hunter operating in the Neutral Zone, while an albino boy shines his shoes. It would appear it's possible to be too white in the American Reich.
- On Star Trek: Discovery, Voq, son of none is an albino Klingon who is treated as a freak of nature and shunned by the great houses.
- Samuel Aboah from The X-Files episode "Teliko". He was a Burkinabe immigrant who lacked a pituitary gland and harvested them from other African or African-American men to restore his skin tone. He is compared unfavourably to a vampire-like creature from West African folklore (the eponymous Teliko) by a Burkinabe ambassador. He is depicted as a merciless killer with a seemingly inhuman ability to squeeze into small spaces.
- In some central and eastern African countries (like Tanzania and Malawi, which have the world's highest albinism rates outside of a few Native American communities and South Pacific islands), a fringe folk belief attributes magical properties to albinistic body parts. This has put albinos in those regions at risk for abduction and mutilation by wannabe witch doctors who aim to make their bodies into amulets and potions. Meanwhile in Zimbabwe, some men believe that sex with an albino woman can cure HIV/AIDS, leading to rape and subsequent HIV infection.
- There are a few Urban Legends that present albinos as spooky or dangerous. In particular, Weird NJ has catalogued a few urban legends that center around or include albinos, such as albinos supposedly attacking people on a desolate road in Neptune, a similar story featuring the famous Clinton Road in West Milford, and even a whole albino village in Clifton!
- Inverted, on the other hand, by the Guna people of Panama. They hold albinos in high regard and task them with defending the moon from a dragon during lunar eclipses.
- Ars Magica 5th Edition: Albinism is one of the options for the "Disfigured" flaw, which substantially penalizes dice rolls related to appearance and getting respect from people. An Embarrassing Nickname is also suggested.
- Exalted: The Dune People were a race of albinos born into slavery, and society treated them as animals. Upon breaking free, they became the monsters the rest of humanity saw them as, turning into murderous cannibals that want anyone non-Dune Person dead.
- Freedom City's Atlas of Earth Prime has Whitestone, a Tanzanian albino superhero who fights the prejudices and superstition his home country has regarding albinism.
- Ravenloft: One of Carnival's sample scenarios involves helping an innocent young albino girl find refuge from prejudice among other human oddities.
- The Lizardmen invert this. Albinism is seen as a sign that the Old Ones have marked the lizard for a life of greatness. Albinism could be taken as an upgrade to a single hero character in 6th edition, and the special character Gor-Rok is an albino.
- In Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, albinism is one of the mutations that can be inflicted by exposure to the Ruinous Powers of Chaos. It can also be a perfectly ordinary congenital condition, but superstitious peasants and Witch Finders aren't likely to appreciate the distinction.
- Crusader Kings III. Albinism is an inheritable genetic trait, which causes a -10 general opinion of the character in non-albinos (everyone thinks they're creepy). However, it also grants +15 dread (everyone thinks they're creepy), meaning an albino ruler (or dynasty) can be viable based on the adage that if one cannot be loved, one should be feared.
- Dominus Ghaul from Destiny 2 was nearly abandoned to die from exposure as a baby for being born albino and sickly, with the implication that this contributes a lot to his insecurities and obsession with Might Makes Right. His albinism isn't commented on much outside the backstory, but observant players can note that he's never seen outside during daylight in cutscenes or gameplay.
- Fallout 4: Most creatures in the Wasteland have albino variants that, for some reason, are considerably deadlier. This trend started in Fallout 3's Broken Steel DLC with the albino radscorpion, which strangely enough gains health in direct sunlight.
- Fate/Grand Order: The ostracizing of Lavinia Whateley from the Puritans in Salem is in part due to her rather sickly albino appearance that is shared by the rest of her family.
- The Stowaway, one of your party members in Pyre, is a young albino girl who was cast into the Downside literally just for being different. Her albinism and odd outlook on life (implied to be a result of autism) caused the corrupt nobility of the Commonwealth to deem her an annoying freak and exile her out of spite.
- Telltale's Game of Thrones: Sylvi's village saw her white hair as a bad omen, and her mother left her in the forest to die as a baby, but her brother recovered her and left the village with her.
- Total War: Warhammer. Inverted. Lizardmen see albinism as a favorable mark from the Old Ones, and those with the trait, such as Gor-Rok, are believed to be destined for greatness.
- Family Guy always portrays its albinos as creepy and offputting. Taken Up to Eleven in the cutaway gag PBS Presents: Albino Children Are Normal.
Host: So aside from not being able to go into the sun, you're completely normal?
Albino Kid: [with Creepy Monotone] Yes. The moon is my sun. I like to kill beetles. Beetles are teachers. I sleep with a fork.
- King of the Hill: When Peggy gets a letter from a former student of hers who's currently in prison for murder, she tries to think of which student she had that could've become a killer, remarking, "I think he might've had wavy blond hair," before adding disdainfully, "Or was he that albino boy?"
- The Simpsons:
- In the "Treehouse of Horror VIII" segment "The Homega Man", Homer mistakes real-life albino musicians the Winter Brothers for flesh-eating mutants and runs them over.
Homer: Die, you chalk-faced goons!
- In "The Crepes of Wrath", Homer has a shocked reaction to learning he'll be hosting an Albanian exchange student:
Homer: You mean all white with pink eyes?
- In the "Treehouse of Horror VIII" segment "The Homega Man", Homer mistakes real-life albino musicians the Winter Brothers for flesh-eating mutants and runs them over.
- The Venture Bros.: Pete White self-identifies as a freak and an outcast because of his albinism, and occasionally other characters tease him about it. However, since the setting is rife with victims of Freak Lab Accidents and Mutants, Pete's claim to freakishness is dubious. Whenever he indulges in self-pity over it, his friends remind him that albinism is not especially rare, nor does it really diminish his life (except by making him comically Prone to Sunburn).