Greetings, Internet users! I hope everyone’s summers are going well (and on the off chance my blog reaches anyone in the Southern hemisphere, I hope your winter is going well!). Since I pretentiously consider myself intelligent enough to sound off on all of the world’s latest hot topics, I’ve got another one for you. I am a little late with this one, but have any of you heard of a woman named Rachel Dolezal? In case you haven’t, she is a now ex-NAACP leader who is white, but who has been living as a black woman for years; she has changed her hair and skin color to “look African-American”, she has lied on official documents, and she has fooled the NAACP and the world. Apparently, word got out about her actually being white by a family member who finally told someone the truth, and now she is claiming to be “trans-racial”. Now this is a somewhat debated issue because a lot of people are wondering if that is okay.
In a society that is finally learning more about the transgender community with the introduction of Caitlyn Jenner and the new slew of TLC shows, many people are seeing Dolezal’s “trans-racial” fantasy as possibly another branch of this complex identity crisis. “If you can be born a man, but feel as if you are a woman”, people are wondering, “then why can’t you be born white, but feel like you’re black?” Here’s why not.
The bottom line is race contributes to who you are, but it does not contribute to how you are. Race brings with it a culture and a background, but not a way of living. Gender has practically everything to do with your identity and how you live your life. It affects legal documents, the bathroom you use, and largely what you wear and the way you carry yourself, as well as countless other little things that you wouldn’t even notice unless they were taken away from you. Race, however, has practically nothing to do with how you live your life. It makes you look different and gives you a culturally diverse background apart from other races, but it does not affect your daily life. In fact, arguing that race plays a role in how you act is buying into racial stereotypes. Some people of [insert race here] may act like [insert behavioral type here], but not all do. So feeling like you must be black (or white or Asian or Latino or infinite other races) because of a way that you act or a way that you are is actually indulging in racial stereotypes that do nothing to break down the barriers of race that Rachel Dolezal tried to get through.
Hopefully, I have made this clear enough. Claiming to be “trans-racial” and that “trans-racial lives matter” (quoth Dolezal’s Twitter before it was suspended) is actually rather insulting to the transgender community, which is full of people who have gone through extremely tough situations and long, emotionally grueling internal struggles to figure out who they are and why they can’t live life as those people. It is perfectly okay to maybe wish you were a different race for whatever reason, but that does not mean that you adopt that race, because doing so is in fact, counter-intuitively, racist. Racial stereotypes have nothing to do with actual race and how that does (or does not) affect one’s identity.
Submitted with undying love for,
that fact that Rachel Dolezal’s Twitter account was suspended, Queen Caitlyn, and sounding off on anything and everything I can apparently,
I remain Madilyn Jayne Turken