Who would normally be the 'anti-bigots'
Anyone who used to read my blog is obviously aware that I have not written any blog post for a few years now. Work and family life have just gotten in the way. I honestly did not think that I would write a blog post anytime soon. However I have become so frustrated over this issue I just felt compelled to do so. I might be the one in the wrong but until a full discussion is had on the topic it is impossible to say so really I am just searching for a serious response.
The issue I am talking about is the recent internet sensation of Rachel Dolezal or more broadly transethnicity and the responses to it.
The issue for anyone not already familiar with it surrounds Rachel Dolezal who was born white but for the last 10-15 years has lived as a black women, from the picture it is clear you would not be able to tell at all. She simply looks like a young black women. Another part of the story was that she held a prominent position within the NAACP.
Many people rushed to her defence to say that if it is okay to change gender then it is okay also to change ethnicity. I agree with that but apparently so many people do not and here comes the controversy.
It is not uncommon for there to be the most absurd responses thrown out on the internet to all manner of issues. However what I have found to be unusual in this instance is that the people making those ridiculous statements are in most cases people I had expected a lot more from. Either because I know them or at the very least know at least partly when they stand ideologically.
Several argumemts have been used against transethnicity however I am very disappointed to say that I have responded to each and every point made in full on various facebook discussions but not a single person has replied to a single point I have made up to this point.
I am going to list each point I have seen raised on the issue and respond to each individually. I would askes anyone who is willing to have a serious discussion to reply to each point. However as my points are not directed at one particular person its possible for you to agree with me on certain points and not others. That is obviously fine, but for the sake of clarity can you also state that you agree with those certain points so i actually know what points are being disputed.
All my points here are on the basis thst everyone supports transgender rights but not all transethnic rights
1. You cannot change your ethnicity because you cannot immerse yourself in the culture fully (or at least only rich people can)
Firstly it is important to state that ethnicity and culture are in no way the same thing and if you also think that then the rest of point 1 is not for you.
If you are to assume they are the same thing then it is possible to immerse yourself in a culure without moving across the globe. This argument is even more ridicilous as the example case is of a black women in America where there is a distinct black culture where blacks and whites live side by side if not completely mixed. I could go on with examples of immigrant communities who have moved on mass. I coule go 10 miles down the road and immerse myself in Somali culture for example.
2. Ethncity is something which has been codified over millenia.
Firstly I do not see why that is a rational reason for not to be able to change their ethnicity, but secondly it is not even true. Ethnicity is not solidly codified it is full of shades of grey exasperated but more and more population shifts and inter ethnic procrestion. Certainly anything other than codified and less so than gender is.
3. Only priveledged white people support it.
This is bizarre because it doesn't actually address the issue it just employs guilt by association. This was the same argument used for a time against gay rights, they used to say it was bourgoise deviation.
4. Priveledged white people invading the space of black people.
This is exactly what the discredited radical feminists have said about privileged mem transitioning to become women and invade their space.
This of course though is incredibly ethnocentric in and of itself. Whilst white people do hold privilege in the western world I do not see what white priveledge exists in say China or Saudi Arabia for example
5. It is a result of deep psychological issues.
I am yet to see anyone provide any evidence for this assertion and i think the onus is on people to provide evidence thst it is because the same argument of deep psychological issues has been used against homosexuality and teansgenderism in the past (and even by some people today)
Though an important point to make for anyone who does believe this and has then mocked Rachel Dolezal. Do you think it is ok to make fun of people with serious mental health problems?
6. It only effects white people because only white people can make their skin darker.
Again this is just bizarre, there are many cases of skin bleaching to make it lighter or whiter. It often ends badly but thst doesnt mean that the desire is not there or that with the right technology in medicine it would not be possible to do safely in the future much like changing gender is now.
It also ignores the glaringly obvious point that there are far more ethnicities beyond simply black and white so it there would be far more other ways to change ethnicity anyway.
7. The role of intersectionalism.
I had not heard the term intersectionslism until a few months ago but it has to be said that these ideas and what is wrong with everything here. The idea that transethnicity is not the same as transgender comes down to we are more oppressed than you and nothing more.
When people came to her defence some transgender intersectionalists pleaded it wasnt the same and if you werent transgender you have to accept that and cannot criticise it because you would never understand their section. Like wise some black intersectionalist lambasted her because gosh this could be a slippery slope to allowing all sections to oppose racism and remove the intersectionalist tinge.
The most worrying thing at all is where is the class perspective gone? How in anyway is this anaylsis classed based, in seems so manu are drinking the jntersectionalist coolaid at the moment that they have been allowed to set the terms and gone are the days of solidarity and independant analysis.
Maybe Rachel Dolezal changed her appearance from white to black because she could not be involved in anti racism campaigns as white because the intersectionalists had previously excluded her for not being the right ethnicity (just a thought)
8. Self determination
Many of the people who have commented on this issue would openly support the right of a nation to self determination all culutural or ethnic lines. Surely that can only truly exist if it includes the right to determine their own ethnicity.
9. Where will this road end?
If you oppose the right for somebody to change or modify
their ethnicity then inevitability this will mean policing ethnicity which is bizarre at best. Many people will identify with more than one ethnic grouping already. Ethnicities in Portugal is quite fluid largely as a result of its history of colonialism which differs from Britains as it involved a lot more inter marriage with the colonised. Also though because the climate changes peoples appearance throughout the year. My mother in law for example who is portuguese and lives in portugal looks white in the white and black in the summer.
Many portuguese people who are considered white in Portugal who come to Britain are then informed they are actually black.
So it is important to allow people to define their own ethnicity because if you attempt to control it surely you have to also control sexuality or disability in the same way snd remove the option of self definition in the same way.
10. You cannot actually change your ethnicity.
Some people have claimed thst whilst you can change your skin colour you cannot change the meletonin levels which is what drtermines skin colour anyway. To this I say so what it doesn't actually mean anything at all. A trans women would still have both XY chromosomes but it doesn't mean they cannot be a women
11. Transgender is different from transethnic.
One person made the argument that birth you are assigned a gender and expected to act is a certain gender role but not assigned an ethnicity at birth - factually incorrect - and not expected to act within a certain ethnicity - again wrong and well simply an enthnocentric view.
12. Rachel Dolezal infiltrated the NAACP
Firstly she was an activist of the NAACP and did nothing to damage it even if a story breaks to the contrary of this, your argument is not based on this. Would you also oppose a trans women joining the Womens Institute or using a female changing room. I suspect not.
Incidentally would the NCAAP was founded by three white people!
Secondly though you are not opposing Rachel Dolezal you are opposing transethnicity in general yet you would not accept anyone else basing thier opinion of immigrants or homosexuality on the basis on one individual.
12. Why are we even having this conversation?
What puzzles me the most is why is this conversation. Why does it matter what someone else does to there own body in a way that effects no one else.
There is a guy who has mutiple tattoos and facial modifications to make himself more feline. It doesnt effect me so i have no problen with it and would defend his right to do so.
Lets me clear if I wanted to turn myself into a goose, and had a way of doing it then i should have ever right to do it. If i then wanted to go for a paddle in the lake with all the other geese i should have the right to do so. Its my body my choice.
But all im seeing is emotive language like 'permanently blacking up' (akin to saying that a trans man is a chick with a permanent strap on) or pseudo scientific theories all in attempt to demonise it in the exact same way as was used to justify racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia at some point or other.
I have never liked it when people say that "well Marx said" or "Lenin wrote" etc as the argument in and of it self but i would like to ask that as many of the people exposing this transethnobia bigotry claim to be marxists how does that square with a materialist approach and a dialectical analysis?
I would like to think there could be a serious disucssion on the subject as sadly that seems lacking. I have made it clear where I stand. I would appreciate if others did by agreeing/dissgreeing with each point individually and adding any additional points if necessary.