No, You Can’t Be #transracial

by Alice Lawton

Civil rights activist and Spokane NAACP president Rachel Dolezal has been revealed to be white—despite identifying as a Black woman, according to her parents.

Lawrence and Ruthanne Dolezal provided the media with pictures of her birth certificate and personal photos of Dolezal when she was younger, that paint a very different image of what Dolezal actually looks like. The Dolezals say they are of European descent—Dolezal, however, says otherwise. She identifies as Black and says Lawrence is simply her stepfather and that her father is actually a Black man. 

Some people claim Dolezal is transracial—that since she identifies as a Black woman, she is one. Under the Twitter hashtag #transracial, numerous people have inflated transgender identity with transracial identity—a false and harmful dichotomy.

Many are disparaging the idea that someone could be transracial and if they claims to be, they have to be willing to take on all the baggage that comes with being a person of color. 

Why does this analogy fail? Tumblr user Temperamentalaquarius summed it up perfectly:

You want the privileges of being black, without ever fighting for them—you want to reap something you never sowed. Moreover, you base your idea of race on a horrifically static group of stereotypes and try to imitate them, not realizing that these things that have been deemed the norm for the black community come from years of living a certain way, and, even so, is not shared by the entire race. …

Gender, on the other hand is incredibly fluid and personal. You do not decide to ‘be’ transgender because you want to wear a dress, or pants (because, heads up, clothes are not explicitly gendered).  You don’t ‘become’ transgender because you desperately want to be a full time parent or an engineer, because once again, for those in the cheap seats, that shit has nothing to do with gender.  You have, at some point in your life, realized that you are not defined by your genitals/chromosomes/secondary sex characteristics, and despite all odds, you are not as you have previously been defined. … 

It is not about changing your image, it is about you becoming your image. You are not trying to ‘invade’ brother or sisterhood, you just want to be who you are, and you deserve the support of every person alive in that endeavor.  So before you decide to open your fucking mouth and say some dumb shit, including but not limited to ‘being transgender and transracial are the same’ remember to not ever belittle the need to be by comparing it to the desire to take.”


Why White Gay Men And Black Women Are Not “Kindred Spirits”

What It Feels Like For A Girl (Of Color) 

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