‘Doctors Were Confused About It’: Why This Toddler is Turning Heads

March 15, 2018 Last Updated: March 15, 2018

A boy born with a bright white streak in his hair is turning heads when he leaves the house.

Josiah Barnes, 2, has a light patch in the middle of his jet black afro, and has become one of around 40 people in his family to inherit the rare ‘birthmark’.

His mother, Latrece Barnes, who also has the distinctive trait, is constantly asked whether she’s dyed his tresses.

“The doctors were confused about it with me and my twin because it was new and my mom doesn’t have it. They ran tests to make sure it wasn’t a skin disease and they found that it wasn’t,” Barnes said.

Josiah Barnes was born with a white patch of hair known as a Mallen Streak. (SWNS)

Josiah was born via C-section, so she couldn’t see him right away, but she remembers the nurse saying, “He has the streak, he has the streak.”

“I had prayed for him to have it because it is so unique and it connects us to who we are,” said Barnes. “Growing up it is hard because kids tease you. They joke about it and used to call us ‘skunk’.

“As you get older you realize it is good to be different.”

Barnes, 34, from Atlanta, Georgia, said her great-great gran also had the white streak, as do approximately 40 of her relatives including her twin sister and her 13-year-old daughter.

She added, “I have had cousins who dyed theirs because they didn’t want it, but I love mine and definitely embrace it now.”

Josiah Barnes mother Latrece (right) with sister Laterra. (SWNS)

The family say the hereditary feature is caused by a “kiss from an angel” and brings good luck.

The bleached effect, known as the Mallen Streak, is caused by the condition poliosis, which is characterized by a lack of pigment in the hair.

Josiah is at least the fifth generation in his family to inherit the streak, which not everyone in the family has. Some of those in the family who inherited the streak also have white patches of skin which look similar to vitiligo on their knees.