Feeling black vs feeling female

(215 Posts)
CherryPicking Mon 14-Dec-15 12:25:36

Rachel Dolezal caused huge offence by claiming to be of African American descent. Not questioning why that's offensive, but if she sincerely identifies with black culture more than her own, how is she different from a man who 'feels' female? Why should the second example be less offensive to members of the oppressed group in question? Not saying I'm in any way offended by men who 'feel' female or identify as trans but just wondering why I'm more accepting of that then I would be someone like RD? Is it social conditioning or is there another reason?

UntilTheCowsComeHome Mon 14-Dec-15 12:34:57

I think with her it was because she used her supposed black heritage to gain position.

CherryPicking Mon 14-Dec-15 12:37:50

I guess so. I suppose Caitlyn Jenner already had the status and power...

Arfarfanarf Mon 14-Dec-15 12:41:53

Maybe the difference is the lies?
If a man claimed to have been born a woman, claimed to have given birth and used that to secure employment within an organisation that works with mothers and spoke publicly about his birth experience, including episiotomy and how he breastfed his children for 2 years then that deception would be unacceptable.

Because really thats what this woman did.

Which is different from someone being born one thing and transitioning to another.

MaidOfStars Mon 14-Dec-15 12:50:40

Skin colour is not a social construct. Gender is. You cannot legitmately claim to be black if you are not black, IMO. You can legitimately claim to be female, whatever your biology.

The equivalent to "feeling black" is "feeling like a biological woman", not "feeling female".

On the other hand, I have no idea what it might mean to feel "black" when your biology is "not black". I don't want to judge her on how she feels - she is entitled to that and it may be as innate a feeling as, for example, a biological man feeling female. I don't know where her feeling comes from and I don't know what causes it.

I guess there is a suspicion that she may have abused the concept of skin colour to gain power.

JessicasRabbit Mon 14-Dec-15 12:53:45

I think there's less consciousness of misogyny than there is of racism. There's also the residual "female brain" thing, where there is no equivalent for race (as far as I know).
That, and a general poor understanding of "invisible" biology (ie anything under the skin).

GirlOverboard Mon 14-Dec-15 12:54:30

Because a transgender man or woman has been born into the wrong body. It's a result of biology messing up, like when people are born intersex or conjoined or without any legs. Whereas Rachel Dolezal wasn't born into the wrong body. She has white parents and was born into a white body. They're two entirely different things.

It's like when people say 'if a man is allowed to identify as a woman then why can't a human being identify as a polar bear'. It's just a really bloody stupid comparison.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 14-Dec-15 12:55:43

I agree OP.
Skin color may not be a social construct, but race certainly is.

I don't see anyone can "feel" something they never have been, and which the person who is black, or who is a female may well not feel either. (Many MN Threads have determined that women don't feel like women, they just are).

Anyone who claims this is IMO suffering from some sort of dysmorphia.

TheHouseOnTheLane Mon 14-Dec-15 12:56:31

Re "used her skin colour to gain social position" is that different to a man dressed as a woman "fooling" a beauty pageant?

I know she was a professional woman...with an important job....but why is it worse to do what she did when compared to men who "pass" as women and perhaps win beauty comps etc?

CassieBearRawr Mon 14-Dec-15 12:57:02

I always find it weird how people focus really heavily on mtf transitions but not ftm. They both exist!

Agree with maid, its about social constructs vs biology.

TheHouseOnTheLane Mon 14-Dec-15 12:57:38

Girl well...one could argue that she WAS born into the wrong body...she wanted a black one and she got white.

Same as Jenner whatshername wanted a woman's body but got a man's.

TheHouseOnTheLane Mon 14-Dec-15 12:58:53

I don't understand how gender is a social construct but skin colour not?

I'm not very bright perhaps but could you please explain it more?

MaidOfStars Mon 14-Dec-15 12:59:43

Because a transgender man or woman has been born into the wrong body

How so? The counter argument is that the societally-determined gender "confines" of the body they've been born into are too prospective.

And how do you know what RD feels? If a man can be born with a "female feeling/brain", why can a white person not be born with a "black feeling/brain"?

CassieBearRawr Mon 14-Dec-15 12:59:50

@House A better comparison is the one @arf gave.

MaidOfStars Mon 14-Dec-15 13:00:41

^Devil's advocate - debate - etc. Not necessarily my own POVs.

VagueIdeas Mon 14-Dec-15 13:03:01

I read this interview with her yesterday. I find the whole thing fascinating, but ultimately I feel quite sorry for her. She had an abusive reality and it seems like she wanted to reinvent herself and be accepted within the black community where she lived.

www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/13/rachel-dolezal-i-wasnt-identifying-as-black-to-upset-people-i-was-being-me

Totally agree that RD identifying as black is essentially the same as a male identifying as female. "Black" and "female" are not feelings, there are physiological/genetic facts.

MaidOfStars Mon 14-Dec-15 13:03:35

I don't understand how gender is a social construct but skin colour not?

There is nothing innate about "female" or "male". They are societally-constructed roles for human beings born with either ovaries or testicles (respectively).

We teach biological girls to be female, and biological boys to be male. There is no reason why biological girls could not be taught to be male, nor biological boys to be female. Or, as I prefer it, why we have to teach them to be either in the first fucking place.

Skin colour is a biological fact of your corporeal self.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Mon 14-Dec-15 13:03:51

a transgender man or woman has been born into the wrong body. It's a result of biology messing up, like when people are born intersex or conjoined or without any legs

That's an accepted narrative but one without any scientific merit. There is no conclusive evidence for male and female brains as distinct from male and female bodies/hormones/life experiences.

Skin colour isn't a social construct but race is. My son looks white as Rachel dolezal but in the US would have the right to be considered black because he belongs to a minority (by virtue of his parentage). However he has white privilege as he looks white. (I say in the US because the race discussion is different there)
Rachel dolezal gave an interview in the guardian today which resonates so strongly with trans narrative and queer theory/genderism. I see no difference between her sense of identifying as black and a trans person identifying with a different gender.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Mon 14-Dec-15 13:05:49

Maidofstars- small correction. Female and male simply mean sexed bodies. It's feminine and masculine roles that are taught. Nobody can be taught to be female or male.

BarbarianMum Mon 14-Dec-15 13:06:29

<<You cannot legitmately claim to be black if you are not black, IMO.>>

What is 'being black' thoug? I have a friend whose parents are both mixed race. They have black skin. Her siblings have black skin. Her skin is white. My friend identifies as black - who the hell am I or anyone else to say 'No, sorry, not enough melatonin.'

TheHouseOnTheLane Mon 14-Dec-15 13:08:45

Maid is there not some argument that black people are also taught "how to be black"? THere are after all many cultural norms and traditions associated with non white people from all cultures. Related to dress, hair, music, food...language....

TheHouseOnTheLane Mon 14-Dec-15 13:09:34

Barbarian that is a very good point. And what about cases where twins are born...one with white skin and one with black....to two black parents.

itsbetterthanabox Mon 14-Dec-15 13:10:33

Maidofstars there is something innate about being male or female. It simply means having genitals that either male of female. Gender- being a man or woman is a social construct.
Skin colour is the same as being male or female. It's your biology.
There are certain behaviours we expect those of different races to perform same as with gender. This is of course stereotyping and wrong but it's exactly the same.

GirlOverboard Mon 14-Dec-15 13:11:19

Girl well...one could argue that she WAS born into the wrong body...she wanted a black one and she got white.

Same as Jenner whatshername wanted a woman's body but got a man's.

I don't think that transgender people want to be the opposite sex, it's that they are the opposite sex. They just want the outside to match how they feel on the inside.

I want to be a size six, 5'10, Brazilian supermodel. It doesn't mean that I was born into the wrong body. Neither was Rachel Dolezal.

itsbetterthanabox Mon 14-Dec-15 13:13:34

Girloverboard how is it that they are the opposite sex? When their body is the sex it is. What is being a woman/man?

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