I grew up being made fun of for my unique appearance. I am affected by ectodermal dysplasia, and as a result am uniquely beautiful. My Mom and Dad, who are awesome by the way, always taught me that people make fun when they don’t understand and that if you make them understand, they won’t make fun. Now is just one of those times when the opportunity presents to educate someone about ectodermal dysplasia and to reinforce the truth that beauty is, in fact, diverse.
Jahmel Binion is Michigan man, also affected by ectodermal dysplasia. Jahmel, too, has been teased all of his life because of his unique appearance. Jahmel recently posted a selfie on Instagram, and soon found himself as the brunt of the joke again. Only this time, it was by none other than Shaquille O’Neal, who posted a split photo of himself next to Jahmel, making fun of Jahmel’s appearance. The photo has been removed from Shaq’s account. Trey Burke and Wacha Flocka Flame are said to have joined in the teasing.
Rather than hang his head in shame, though, Jahmel was inspired to create a “Hug Don’t Judge” campaign against bullying!
I have to applaud Jahmel for keeping his response positive. It takes strength of character to do that. I bet he has awesome parents, too.
I wanted to share with you the interview Jahmel had with Fox news, so you can see him yourself.
The National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasia has extended an open invitation to Mr. Shaquille O’Neal to attend the annual family conference in Columbus, Ohio, so that he can learn about ectodermal dysplasia and meet the people it affects. I hope you’ll lend your support and share the invitation via your social media channels.
I would be remiss not to share a video that the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasia put together that tells more of our collective story.
Please know that my aim in sharing this is not to shame Mr. O’Neal, though his actions were unkind in the very least. Instead, it is my hope– and the hope of the community of men, women, and children that are affected by ectodermal dysplasia, that Mr. O’Neal will learn from his actions and join our efforts to fight cyber bullying. After all, beauty is diverse.