Talk

Advanced search

Trans racial vs transgender

(43 Posts)
Gingerkittykat Mon 09-Sep-19 21:30:57

Black actor

White actor accused of taking BAME place on scheme to help get people from these communities into the theatre.

*But he says he has experienced much of the same racism and struggles many people of colour have, and identifies as being of mixed heritage.

He says the criticism he has faced has led him to contemplate suicide.*

Does this sound familiar? Trans people have always known they identifies as opposite sex yet want society to accept it. The BAME community are rightly telling this man he can not opt in because some kind of wishy washy feeling that is where he belongs. Bonus points for being suicidal when you don't get your own way.

BarbaraStrozzi Mon 09-Sep-19 21:51:53

He's the Rachel Dolzeal of British theatre.

StinkyHouse85 Tue 10-Sep-19 00:23:10

I have some sympathy with the guy. He does naturally look mixed race - it's not like Rachel Dolezal or a trans person who has altered their appearance - and I believe he will have suffered racism due to others mistaken beliefs about his race based on the way he looks.

I am white but some people mistakenly think I am East Asian or mixed race due to my features. I was bullied horribly for this at school from the age of 5 and the school refused to do anything to stop it because I wasn't actually Asian (thanks for that crappy primary school hmm). You could say why was I bothered because I am not actually Chinese but I was so young and I just remember crying a lot. I wouldn't personally identify as BAME though myself or take a place intended for someone who was, although that's easy for me to say as someone who is now successful and reasonably well-off who doesn't desperately need those kind of opportunities.

If anything this reminds me of the affirmative action scheme they have in Brazil where a panel will decide if you look black enough to benefit. It doesn't matter what your heritage actually is. If you look black you will probably have suffered from the racism that the scheme intends to make up for. There's a fascinating episode of the Rough Translation podcast covering this here which I would highly recommend: www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=542840797&t=1568070898413

MargueritaBlue Tue 10-Sep-19 00:35:42

I have some sympathy with the guy. He does naturally look mixed race

I have as well. There are photos of him and his brother where they both look mixed race, but, I also think he has played up to it.

There are photos of him where his skin is much lighter than in that interview. Also I'm not terribly impressed by his adopting an African sounding name. On the whole whilst I can accept his appearance may have caused him some problems I don't think this grant was intended for the situation he is in.

Goosefoot Tue 10-Sep-19 02:02:10

I have doubts about his sincerity. Sincerity isn't everything, but I do think it counts for something when looking at someones actions in a case like this.

I do think that it's very easy for special programs and such directed to various identity groups to have, I'm not sure what you'd call it, maybe difficulties in execution. That the kinds of categories or identities they look at often don't have clean edges is one of the difficulties.

fiveleftfeet Tue 10-Sep-19 02:31:50

His story is very different to Rachel Doziel's. Rachel lied. He didn't. He's always been open about his Irish parents. The acting company who have him the award knew this.

But - a third of his DNA is West African.

His story is really interesting IMO and poses all sorts of questions about race and identity.

This article is good:

www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/07/anthony-lennon-theatre-director-accused-of-passing-as-black-interview-simon-hattenstone

Fallingirl Tue 10-Sep-19 02:33:45

Another issue with both trans racial and trans gender is representation.

As a society we need to normalise e.g seeing that politicians can be female, and that theatre actors can be BAME.

I don’t really know much about theater, or whether this guy looks BAME, but if it still seems unusual when we see a bame actor on stage, then it is not only a matter of giving individual actors a helping hand, but also a matter of normalising acting as something people of all colours and origins may do. For that reason alone, it is just wrong to self-identify into a position not meant for you.

You can’t be what you can’t see, and all that.

fiveleftfeet Tue 10-Sep-19 02:36:55

Gingerkittykat I think your OP is shockingly unkind.

This man's story is only similar to the trans cult in a very superficial way. His is a complex story with nuance and no attempts to deceive. Please read the Guardian article I linked.

Mocking him being suicidal is outrageously callous IMO. There is no coercion here like with TRAs "believe me or I'll kill myself" type stuff - none of that.

fiveleftfeet Tue 10-Sep-19 02:37:52

it is just wrong to self-identify into a position not meant for you

But he didn't do that. Did you read the Guardian article?

MiniMum97 Tue 10-Sep-19 02:45:22

Surely the reasons that there are awards and jobs specifically directed at BAME is that these people are underrepresented due to prejudice which is due to the way they look. If Anthony looks mixed race then he will have experienced as much prejudice and racism as anyone else who appears mixed race so is therefore just as much entitled to the award/job as any other BAME person surely?

OutComeTheWolves Tue 10-Sep-19 03:23:52

I have a huge amount of sympathy with the guy and as far as I'm aware he has always been open about having white parents.

What I don't understand is why when the story first came out the mainstream media completely ignored how nuanced the situation is and instead chose to make him a laughing stock. I can usually understand why the newspapers go for a particular angle (ie to keep someone in power/to promote societal divisions) but the reporting at the time just seemed like a take down of someone with a very interesting story who had already been through a lot.

OutComeTheWolves Tue 10-Sep-19 03:27:22

That's not to say that I think he was right to take up funding and places allocated to BAME actors. Just that his situation is far more complex than 'white man identifies as black'.

Goosefoot Tue 10-Sep-19 03:54:52

I'm not sure, if he has recent African ancestry, if that means he doesn't "count". Is it really all about how you look, because that seems a bit off somehow.

Pota2 Tue 10-Sep-19 05:52:00

Seriously, the more cases like this the better in my view. Trans racialism exposes this for the utter farce it is. Keep them coming.

It’s MUCH more complex to determine race than sex because of mixed race, racial variations etc, lack of knowledge about background. It is extremely easy to determine sex in 99.9% of cases, you can’t be half male and half female, and even if you were adopted at birth and nobody knew who your parents were, it would still be clear as day what your sex was. Yet, despite the actual complexity with race, we accept that you can’t self-ID based on a feeling. So why in the name of actual living fuck do we have highly educated people making imbecilic statements that if you feel female, it must mean that you actually are female despite having a male body???

So in my view, I hope we get more and more of these cases so that the hypocrisy is exposed. Maybe a test case... I am hoping that in the future, people will look back at this period and see it as a temporary loss of sanity.

VictoriaSpongeAndTea Tue 10-Sep-19 08:17:52

I think he crossed the line in terms of deception when he changed his name.

The main fault here is the people that selected him for the award when there are genuine BAME directors they could have selected. It's interesting how those with privledge will think someone they think is like them who is subject to some discrimination has suffered more and is still more deserving of support than those who have suffered greater discrimination

Juells Tue 10-Sep-19 08:18:20

Without a DNA test I don't see how you'd prove that he wasn't entitled to be on the course. Who can say that he's actually 'white'? That photo of him and his brother certainly makes it look like they're mixed race.

LetsSplashMummy Tue 10-Sep-19 08:36:28

Race is different as there are more shades of grey. My mum could count as mixed race as she is 1/4 Afro Caribbean, but looks simply Mediterranean and hasn't experienced racism. My uncle on the other hand, has a lot more of his grandad's features and has had racist abuse.

Other than trusting people, how do you know who has experienced racism or discrimination- or is it just on your family tree, so my mum is as eligible as my uncle?

Sex is different, binary, and easy to establish what category people fall into. Therefore discrimination is more closely aligned to what people are biologically.

DJLippy Tue 10-Sep-19 09:29:29

I think that having a black family also has an impact on how racism and discrimination affects you.

Whilst it's awful to experience racism first hand I'd imagine seeing or hearing of the abuse that your mum was subjected to would be painful. Imagine as a child being out with a parent when they are subjected to discrimination. How would that make you feel?

The effects of colonialism cascade down over generations. Imagine how the effects of the slave trade, going back hundreds of years, change your family. That trauma just doesn't go away.

Whilst I think his story is nuanced and he does "pass" as black I think it's wrong to take this place on a scheme reserved for BAME candidates. Its not like there were no other talented people who could have benefited.

MargueritaBlue Tue 10-Sep-19 09:48:49

I think he crossed the line in terms of deception when he changed his name

Anthony David Lennon did not reflect who he was, he thought, so he became Soweto Alkebulan Ekundayo: Soweto because his friend and mentor Paul Kinch had a son calledSoweto (now a celebrated saxophonist); Alkebulan because it is said to be the earliest name for Africa; Ekundayo because he liked the sound of the Yoruban name, and discovered it meant “weeping becomes joy”

I think the name change is very questionable- particularly the appropriation of "Soweto"

The vast majority of people do not think of the son of saxophonist they have probably never heard of. Soweto is a symbol of apartheid and oppression.

Juells Tue 10-Sep-19 09:56:23

It's a difficult one. He looks mixed race, he may be mixed race, he's tried to make himself appear mixed race by changing his name... I don't think it's as clear-cut as Rachel Dolezal.

TheNavigator Tue 10-Sep-19 09:58:24

I found the article fairly sympathetic as well, until the name change, which felt very questionable.

MargueritaBlue Tue 10-Sep-19 10:07:31

On the photos on The Guardian article I thought he looked more like a stereotypical East End hard man or Pete Postlewhaite.

64sNewName Tue 10-Sep-19 10:13:13

That initial name change (inc. “Soweto”) reads to me like the kind of error of judgement a lot of people might have made as young-ish and maybe slightly clueless adults wrestling with issues of identity.

Having read the Guardian piece, I’m finding it a lot more understandable. I found his story quite moving actually.

I don’t think he comes across like another Rachel Dolezal. There was so much outright lying in her story. He really hasn’t done that at all.

fiveleftfeet Tue 10-Sep-19 10:14:01

What I don't understand is why when the story first came out the mainstream media completely ignored how nuanced the situation is and instead chose to make him a laughing stock

Because that's how a lot of the media works, especially the tabloids. Mustn't let the facts get in the way of a good story.

fiveleftfeet Tue 10-Sep-19 10:19:59

Would you not say he looks mixed race here, as a young man?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »