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  #41  
Old 13 June 2015, 10:16 PM
Ellestar Ellestar is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Little Pink Pill View Post
During the years Dolezal lived representing herself as a black woman, she took on the barriers of the race to which she had transitioned. Everyone saw her as black, blacks, whites, and bigots alike. Now she is taking on the significant stigma of being caught in her pretense.
She didn't take on the barriers though, because she always had her safety net. And the stigma she's taking on now is because she wrongfully appropriated others' culture.

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Isn't that a technology issue? Until recent hormone therapy and plastic surgery techniques, a transgender person often stuck out in a crowd. A masculine looking biological man dressed as a woman was unlikely to be allowed to teach in a school for girls, become a midwife, or marry the man she loved.
It's not a technology issue because race isn't an actual thing. It's a social construct. You can change a person's biology in certain ways, but you cannot change their heritage, which is the issue.

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We may well reach the point where we can cosmetically transition from black to white. As I pointed out above, a male who has transitioned cannot take on the history of sexual oppression that is inextricably linked to being female, nor can a biological woman take on the history of privilege that is inextricably linked to being male.
The issue, though, is that sex and gender isn't a social construct, it's a biological reality that can be changed at physical levels and transitioned to.

And changing from Black to White isn't going to change a person's heritage of oppression. I'd pretty much guarantee you that people would find a way to discriminate against "transracial Whites" in pretty much the same way they discriminate against Blacks now.

So, no, there is no such thing as being transracial.

I'll even say for myself, when I grew up in Texas, I had a lot of Mexican Americans as friends. I love Mexican culture. I love the food, I love the language, and the traditions. I hate the way they can be discriminated against and would stand with them at every opportunity. There were times where I wished that culture was mine. But it's not because it's based on history and heritage. It's not something I can have.

If I was transgender, I could potentially have a different body, a different sex because it's more than heritage. It's physical.
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  #42  
Old 13 June 2015, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Little Pink Pill View Post
As I pointed out above, a male who has transitioned cannot take on the history of sexual oppression that is inextricably linked to being female, nor can a biological woman take on the history of privilege that is inextricably linked to being male.
Are you suggesting that transwomen weren't raised in an environment that included sexism? Because of course they were. We all were. They heard exactly the same things said about girls as the other girls did. They listened as the boys around them said 'You throw like a girl' as an insult and they saw how depictions of doctors and lawyers and scientists were usually men, and they saw the TV adverts for cleaning products that seemed to portray a world where women were all stay-at-home-mums, and while they took all this in they identified with the girls and not the boys. Sexism doesn't only wound the intended targets. It's more like a canister of tear gas than a bullet. When I was a little girl I used to play with boys who sometimes made sexist remarks that weren't 'intended' for me because I was their friend. But it still affected me.

And if by some wonder most transwomen were never affected by the same sexism that targets cisgender girls, why should the indicator of femininity be how much crap you get for being female? Am I less of a woman than somebody who lives in a more conservative society? Will I get an extra stamp on my certified Ladycard if I go out now and get catcalled?

Sorry about the rant.

As for the OP, I feel that the 'But transgender people!' argument has little weight partly because there's no evidence than transracial identity just pops up naturally in the same way that transgender identity does.

I feel weirdly sorry for this woman. What she's done is a terrible breach of trust that may have a detrimental impact on the organisation, but in trying to imagine why anybody would balance on a wobbly stack of lies like that I keep coming back to the feeling that she must have a desire to be accepted that goes beyond all sense of what is appropriate. She reminds me in some ways of a woman who became the leader of a group of 9/11 survivors who fabricated her entire experience of escaping the collapse of one of the towers. What drives a person to reject their own background so completely that they appropriate another identity that isn't remotely like their own? The articles mentions an adopted brother who is black. I wonder if she identified with him more than her parents and somehow that got warped into a plan to invent a new racial background for herself? I suppose we can never know unless she spills the beans herself.

I wish people would stop commenting that she doesn't even look black. It's not only wrong, it comes across as a bit smug. It's like saying that everybody must have been stupid not to see the 'obvious' when the lie actually wasn't evident at all just from her appearance. She could easily look like a mix-raced person who identifies as black, even though it turns out she's not. It's not as if only a white woman could ever use a shade of make-up/tanner that makes her look like she's been Tango'd.
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  #43  
Old 14 June 2015, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Blatherskite View Post
Are you suggesting that transwomen weren't raised in an environment that included sexism?
I most certainly am not.
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We all were.
Yes, I am aware of that. We were all also raised in an environment that included racism, but I am not going to flip the coin and insult you by suggesting that you don't understand the difference between being raised with racism around you and bring raised with racism directly or indirectly targeted at you.

I would also never suggest that transgender people don't deal with a lion's share of sexism. I would never discount the pain and rebounding repercussions of both racism and sexism on individuals, communities, and cultures.

I am merely taking a question that I think was first asked flippantly on the Internet by people taking a niggle at liberals, and hashing it out with thoughtful Snopesters.

So far many of the arguments made about transgender people can be easily applied to theoretical transracial people. That doesn't mean transracial people exist, but it wasn't that long ago that the idea of transgender people wasn't taken seriously, either, so I'm going to be cautious about dismissing the idea.
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  #44  
Old 14 June 2015, 05:28 AM
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That post came off harsh, Blatherskite, I'm sorry. I was a little offended at the idea of how callous and ignorant I would have to be to not recognize that sexism affects transgender people. But it's a message board, and you have every right to ask me to clarify.

I agree with you that we don't have much evidence, and it's all theoretical.
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  #45  
Old 14 June 2015, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ellestar View Post
So, no, there is no such thing as being transracial.

I'll even say for myself, when I grew up in Texas, I had a lot of Mexican Americans as friends. I love Mexican culture. I love the food, I love the language, and the traditions. I hate the way they can be discriminated against and would stand with them at every opportunity. There were times where I wished that culture was mine. But it's not because it's based on history and heritage. It's not something I can have.
Aside from the specific case in the OP, which involves not only an attempt at changing cultures but also significant deception, plus accusations of serious misbehavior which apparently never happened:

Are you saying that you think no one can ever, under any circumstances, be adopted into a different culture as an adult? that, say, a person who at the age of 20 or 25 marries a person of a different culture, or forms a different type of relationship (sisterly, or grandsonlike, or whatever) that results in that person being accepted into a family of a different culture; and who then lives in that culture for the next fifty years or longer -- can never be considered part of that culture, and must be living in it only as an outsider and interloper?
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  #46  
Old 14 June 2015, 02:03 PM
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Wouldn't that depend on the culture? We seem to expect people from every nation, background and culture to assimilate into the North American culture when they emigrate here, is there that same expectation I wonder if people move to a country where historically things have been less of a melting pot. Perhaps someone like Ganzfeld can speak to how easily or if ever someone who is not Japanese by birth is considered part of the culture.
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  #47  
Old 14 June 2015, 02:19 PM
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Is it really a dichotomy, though: either become fully a member of the culture, or forever remain an outsider/interloper? Can't there be something in between?

It's not that clear cut in the US, really. Even a century ago, immigrants to the US didn't necessarily assimilate immediately. Many of them lived in ethnically defined neighborhoods for decades, attending churches and schools that followed those neighborhood boundaries.
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  #48  
Old 14 June 2015, 04:11 PM
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I wouldn't presume to speak for Ellestar, but I think the point she was making was that no matter how immersed in Mexican culture she could be, from a race/ethnicity standpoint, she could never claim to be Latina and would always experience the culture as a white, non-Latina, person immersed in Mexican culture, not as a Mexican-American.
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  #49  
Old 14 June 2015, 04:12 PM
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That's the middle ground I was attempting to describe.
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  #50  
Old 14 June 2015, 04:17 PM
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Well, I think there has to be something in between, if only because genuinely changing cultures isn't something that's going to happen instantly.

And some people are going to stay in between indefinitely, whether by choice or by inability to learn the new culture well enough; as well as perhaps in some cultures which have a very homogeneous physical appearance and place a high importance on it.

But I was responding to what looked to me like the theory that nobody can ever assimilate into another culture, and that it's always wrong to try to do so.

ETA: and people of Mexican heritage come in all sorts of colors.
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  #51  
Old 14 June 2015, 05:07 PM
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I don't think assimilation into a culture has anything to do with being "transracial." I never said that people of Mexican heritage have a particular ethnicity. My point was that being immersed in a culture (or assimilated) can't change one's race or ethnicity. So assimilating into Mexican culture could never make a person who wasn't Latina, Latina, no matter how immersed and authentic their experience.
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  #52  
Old 14 June 2015, 05:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Pink Pill View Post
I most certainly am not. Yes, I am aware of that. We were all also raised in an environment that included racism, but I am not going to flip the coin and insult you by suggesting that you don't understand the difference between being raised with racism around you and bring raised with racism directly or indirectly targeted at you.
Thanks for the clarification, but my response is the same to this comparison. Transgender girls are the subjects of sexism, not just observers of it.

To use your racism comparison, it would be more like being raised with racism around you while appearing white but actually being mixed race.

This is why I don't think 'appearing white' should even be an issue here. The only thing that matters is that she lied about experiences she didn't have by inventing her racial background.
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  #53  
Old 14 June 2015, 05:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erwins View Post
My point was that being immersed in a culture (or assimilated) can't change one's race or ethnicity. So assimilating into Mexican culture could never make a person who wasn't Latina, Latina, no matter how immersed and authentic their experience.
How would you define the difference between ethnicity and culture?
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  #54  
Old 14 June 2015, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Blatherskite View Post
Thanks for the clarification, but my response is the same to this comparison. Transgender girls are the subjects of sexism, not just observers of it.
But are they the subjects of sexism because they are actually perceived as being girls? Or are they the subjects of prejudice and sexism too of course because they are being perceived as males who want to be girls? Either way it's still not the same experience.
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  #55  
Old 14 June 2015, 06:05 PM
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Ethnicity includes ancestry.
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  #56  
Old 14 June 2015, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Blatherskite View Post
This is why I don't think 'appearing white' should even be an issue here. The only thing that matters is that she lied about experiences she didn't have by inventing her racial background.
Yeah, I hate that aspect of the reaction. I've even seen someone comment on her Czech last name. I have a biracial friend with a very Czech last name. It seems incredibly obvious to me how a black person would wind up with a European last name, and the ways include a direct link to slavery (being given or assuming an owner's last name). I've also had a coworker who was African American, but was often not identified as such by others.
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  #57  
Old 14 June 2015, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Blatherskite View Post
Thanks for the clarification, but my response is the same to this comparison. Transgender girls are the subjects of sexism, not just observers of it.
Goodness gracious. Am I being that cryptic? Did you miss this part?
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Originally Posted by Little Pink Pill View Post
I would also never suggest that transgender people don't deal with a lion's share of sexism.
I agree with you Blatherskite. I agreed before this thread began, and I agree with you now. No one is arguing with you on that point, including me.


Ellestar, I'm sorry I missed your earlier post.

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Originally Posted by Ellestar View Post
The issue, though, is that sex and gender isn't a social construct, it's a biological reality that can be changed at physical levels and transitioned to.
That is true, to a degree. I do believe some of what we identify as feminine or masculine is a social construct (makeup, clothing, jobs, toys, colors, mannerisms, and social behavior, to name a few). But I agree with you that it isn't a perfect analogy.

It isn't a preposterous one, though. When people are raised from day one in an unhealthy, destructive social construct, where even their birth certificate identifies which cultural echelon they have been born into, is it absurd to postulate that an individual growing up in a mixed family might have a deeply rooted psychological rejection of their superficially imposed identity? We can call race artificial, we can KNOW it's artificial, but the fact that so many people in our world refuse to act like it is affects us all to some degree, and it is lodged so far into our personal identities that when one of us breaks out of the construction, it makes the news.

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I'd pretty much guarantee you that people would find a way to discriminate against "transracial Whites" in pretty much the same way they discriminate against Blacks now.
Agreed, if they could tell. And whether or not they could is where it becomes a matter of technology.
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  #58  
Old 15 June 2015, 12:42 AM
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Ezra Dolezal told BuzzFeed News that his adopted sister warned him to not tell anyone in Spokane that she wasn’t really black as she started a new life for herself.

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...Ezra said he felt it was a “slap in the face” to African-Americans for his sister to co-opt their struggles when she grew up white, in a nice house, with a good education.
“She puts dark makeup on her face and says she black,” he said. “It’s basically blackface,” he said.
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  #59  
Old 15 June 2015, 05:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Sue View Post
But are they the subjects of sexism because they are actually perceived as being girls? Or are they the subjects of prejudice and sexism too of course because they are being perceived as males who want to be girls? Either way it's still not the same experience.
It might be worse, actually.
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Originally Posted by erwins View Post
I don't think assimilation into a culture has anything to do with being "transracial."
I wish I could start the conversation over without using that term. The imperfections in the analogy are, I think, getting in the way of something valid.

So can I frame it a different way?

Is it possible to imprint on someone else's culture? To genuinely feel like you belong to a different group than your race or ethnicity, or even personal experience, would dictate?

I can imagine it happening on a smaller scale, a child wishing they could be a part of a different family on the block, or a person who grows up, marries rich, and pretends they never came from more humble beginnings. Could that become a compelling psychological need that makes you pretend and lie your whole life to fit in, because you have so completely rejected the culture to which you're supposed to belong?

Last edited by Little Pink Pill; 15 June 2015 at 05:35 AM. Reason: Clarity
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  #60  
Old 15 June 2015, 06:17 AM
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I think anyone who's spent time in an African American school or neighborhood has known someone on the various spectra of what the urban dictionary mocks as having "racial identity disorders". The OP may be an extreme case but it's easy for me to see how it can happen. I don't think we need to draw analogies to other people experiencing something familiar. Just as each transgender case is unique, so it is for other people who don't feel comfortable with their own genetic, ethnic, or cultural background. (Therefore any analogy with any other experience is going to be imperfect.) The only reason to compare is to understand, not to pass judgement.

A lot of the accusations (not here but in the media and social media), honestly, do sound exactly as ignorant as those who accuse transgender people of using it to get into the other gender's bathroom.
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