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AIBU to find the idea of trans-racial ridiculous.....

(131 Posts)
CastlesBlown Thu 18-Jun-15 14:35:53

but support the idea of trans-gender? I just read this article

And the arguments for trans-gender appear to support trans-racial, despite that being the very opposite of what it aims to do.

I feel SO confused!!!!!

eyebags63 Thu 18-Jun-15 14:37:16

Trans-racial...... it is utter bollocks in the case of Rachel Dolezal at least.

toomuchtooold Thu 18-Jun-15 15:02:56

I find it really interesting. I have a couple of transsexual friends and I've always stuck up for them and supported their right to define their own gender. And back in the day when Germaine Greer started having a problem with transsexual women, based on them not having experienced the oppression that goes along with being a woman in a patriarchy, I found it a really depressing way to think about female/feminine identity. What you are is what you say you are, I thought, and Germaine can go and define her status as a woman purely in terms of the oppression she's faced but I find that too depressing and exclusive.

But. Then comes Rachel Dolezal basically trying to claim the same thing for race. Because of her upbringing, her adopted family, she feels like part of her heritage is African-American and she can claim an identity on the basis of that. And my gut feeling is no way, no. You can't claim to be black just because you feel black, because you have more of a contact to black culture than white, because you feel more comfortable - no.

I don't know what the difference is, other than perhaps that I'm a white woman, so I feel like I can allow people into the woman club but not the black people club. But yes, the idea of trans-racial makes me uncomfortable in a way that transsexual or transgendered doesn't.

toomuchtooold Thu 18-Jun-15 15:07:38

Yes that article was a bit of a red herring I thought. Rachel Dolezal hid her background and gained financially from her deception, so if trans-racial is A Thing, she's not a poster girl for it. But that doesn't get at why transgender is OK and trans-racial not.

CastlesBlown Thu 18-Jun-15 15:15:46

I think my issue is that, as far as I can tell the justification for trans-gender works for trans-racial. I find the later ridiculous there for isn't the former?

manicinsomniac Thu 18-Jun-15 15:17:26

Never heard of it but it sounds ridiculous to me. Your race is not something you 'feel' , it's something you 'are'.

Mind you. I'm starting to feel that way about gender too. I used to be very pro transgender rights etc but it's actually mn that has changed my mind on that one.

Now I'm not even sure I subscribe to the whole gender and sex being different things tbh.

DragonWithAGirlTattoo Thu 18-Jun-15 15:17:47

Putting aside RD - why cant you be trans-racial if you can be trans-gender?

Both are identical, you feel you are in the wrong body for some reason, and your gender is as fixed as your ethnic background really

WorriedMutha Thu 18-Jun-15 15:20:21

I don't buy into any sentence that begins with I identify as....

Lottapianos Thu 18-Jun-15 15:29:14

Hmm. Its a really interesting issue. My own personal situation has some similarities - I grew up in Ireland, raised by 2 Irish parents, 100% Irish biologically. But I've been living in Britain for the past 15 years and this feels like home in a way that Ireland never did. I identify as British now, am a British citizen and describe myself as British to anyone who asks. I guess my race hasn't changed in that I've always been white but the ethnic group I identify with has.

I'm intrigued by the Rachel Dolezal case and I honestly don't know how to feel about it. I'm also intrigued by Bruce / Caitlin Jenner - I'm a feminist who believes that gender is a social construct and that nurture influences us more than nature does and trans people call all of that into question! I'm extremely sympathetic - I think everyone should be able to live a life where they feel they are their true selves -but if I'm honest, I don't really 'get it' as such.

Mistigri Thu 18-Jun-15 15:31:22

Race is very largely a social and cultural construct, so I see no reason why an ostensibly "white" person could not grow up identifying as black in certain circumstances.

Whether it's true of RD I have no opinion, but I think if you can accept the idea of transgender then it's illogical not to accept the idea of trans-race, especially as the definition of black is from a genetic point of view very unsatisfactory (human beings are a genetically very uniform species).

LurkingHusband Thu 18-Jun-15 15:35:18

The problem is, if we aren't allowed to self identify, then who do we give the job to ? At the risk of invoking Godwin, there is a precedent for this kind of thing, only I'm not sure we'd all like to go there.

Mistigri Thu 18-Jun-15 15:43:47

But in that case, who do we "allow" to identify as black?

Imagine a "white" child of two ostensibly white parents, growing up a white community. Then you discover that the child has a black grandparent (perfectly possible in the lottery that is genetic inheritance) . Is the child still white or is s/he black? What if the black ancestor is not a grand parent, but a great great grandparent? When do descendants stop being black and start being white?

Go back far enough and every single one of us posting on this tbread has an African ancestor, and some of the "white" people posting on is thread may have a much more recent black ancestry without knowing it.

mommyof23kids Thu 18-Jun-15 15:43:57

We all start out as female in the womb. Very early on our gender is fluid, and sometimes it does not develop into strictly xy or yy. The processes needed to turn a single cell into a fully formed baby are so complex, unpredictable things happen all the time.
But no matter what kind of crazy stuff is going on the genetic material given by your parents is fixed. The embryo can only work with what its got.

DragonWithAGirlTattoo Thu 18-Jun-15 15:47:12

but if your body has decided you are a male, but you feel female, is that not the same as your body has decided you are black/white, but you feel white/black as somewhere in your genetic history there will be some of that?

I am in no way an expert, but if someone said to me that they feel they are in the wrong race, or the wrong sex, thats fine - its not for me to judge or ridicule them

StrawberryMouse Thu 18-Jun-15 15:49:09

Both are self-identification. I feel that if one is accepted, the other has to be too.

lalalonglegs Thu 18-Jun-15 15:57:25

Hmm, the article seemed to be saying: "Rachel's situation is not exactly the same as mine therefore it lacks validity." I was hoping to learn why being trans-racial is so different from being transgender but I'm still waiting...

scallopsrgreat Thu 18-Jun-15 15:59:41

Transracial doesn’t mean what Rachel Dolezal thinks it means

The term Transracial has been co-opted for this story.

Mrsjayy Thu 18-Jun-15 16:06:05

That Rachel woman lied about her heritage made up a black parent decieved people and even imo blacked up then tried to wiggle out of her delusions with phsyco babble she is a twat. Imo

LurkingHusband Thu 18-Jun-15 16:09:07


But in that case, who do we "allow" to identify as black?

Exactly ! Given that Black has no basis in science. There's no "black" gene. Unlike gender which other PP have pointed out is deterministic.

I knew we were headed for trouble with this in the 1980s, when I had a spirited debate with an NUS official, first day at Uni. I had deliberately left the "Ethnic Origin" section blank. He pointed it out ("Oh, you forgot to fill this in.") and I replied it wasn't an accident. (I refuse to fill them out, as I believe we're all human.)

Anyway, we had a pleasant debate, where I mentioned that despite being whiter than persil (I hate the sun), my Grandfather (whose parents were born in Croydon) was born in Darjeeling and called himself "Indian" before "British". So would he have been entitled to tick the "Asian sub continent" box ? And moreover, if he had, would anyone have been entitled to "correct" it ???????

It's this last point which is the crux of the matter. Who ticks the boxes ? Do we tick our own, or do we get them ticked. Bearing in mind there are people who can read this thread, and remember when they saw signs "White waiting room only","No dogs, no blacks, no Irish".

Anyway, as long as whatever box is ticked, people are treated the same, is there really an issue ?

Besides, every human beings ethnic origin is "African" anyway.

workhouse Thu 18-Jun-15 16:09:09

I suppose it boils down to whether you go along with the 'female ' brain and the 'male' brain theory being true or not, and then if you do, do you think the same about different races.

I personally think that it is a bit of a dangerous route to go down.

BreakingDad77 Thu 18-Jun-15 16:11:48

I do find it interesting the white person identifying as black, (pictures all those white kids thinking they Snoop dog/Dr Dre)

I remember one of those "Who do you think you are" type programs and this visually and culturally obviously black guy was actually ethnically Eastern European as he had only one generation of African genes.

Which to me makes it all seem silly, what next black brain vs white brain?!

Mrsjayy Thu 18-Jun-15 16:13:53

Maybe she thought she wouldnt be accepted into a culture she was interested involved in so she concocted her persona and she now believes it her reaction to being caught out as having white parents was 1 of oh shit

knowsaymuhfuh Thu 18-Jun-15 16:15:59

A black trans woman doesn't think it equates, because of having experienced male privilege but not white privilege.

If anything that's exactly what you'd expect because they do equate.

As a (what is now being identified as transracial) person myself, I have heard every slur in the book, and it's all ok to be 'phobic, rude and insulting to people like me, from both sides. I am glad that we might finally get some recognition.

Sizolidarity to my sister, frankly.

LurkingHusband Thu 18-Jun-15 16:21:01


I remember one of those "Who do you think you are" type programs and this visually and culturally obviously black guy was actually ethnically Eastern European as he had only one generation of African genes.

I believe Richard Dawkins cited that as a good example where people get themselves in knots about "race" - a concept he [rightly IMHO] rubbishes at a biological level in The Ancestors Tale - which I recommend to anyone with an interest in genetics, evolution, biology, or Chaucer grin. It's in "The Grasshoppers Tale".

DragonWithAGirlTattoo Thu 18-Jun-15 16:22:22

hey there KnowSay.... i dont think i know (personally) anyone who is TransRacial, and i imagine RD has done a lot of harm to the 'cause'

Its not ok to by phobic or rude or insulting to anyone really for any reason at all, even if it turns out (i am not trying to be insulting here, so please forgive me if it comes across that way) its 'all in your head' - i dont personally care, whether its 'in your head', or because of your biology - you feel closer to tranracial, then thats how i will treat you (just like the way i treat everyone else!)

I might not understand your reason behind and how you feel - but its enough for me that you do. (i hope this doesnt read as patronising or insulting as that is really not my intention)

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