Thursday, July 23, 2015

Transgender, Transracial, Trans….species?

I find it a bit ironic that many of the same people who have celebrated the change that has come over Bruce Jenner are now attacking the racial identity of Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who claimed to be black. This strikes me as hypocritical.

I agree. Although her name is Caitlyn now, and that has to be a hard path for anyone to take. Gender and racial identity are both fluid, and can change over time.

So, to be clear, you're saying that anyone can choose both their gender and their race at any time it suits them, and the choice is "fluid", meaning they can go back and forth whenever they feel differently. If applying for a job or applying for college, a white male can "identify" as a black woman when checking boxes on the application, and the interviewer/application committee must act on that information, rather than their own eyes and the candidate's genetic code? That is your stance?

Almost. But it has to be a decision that a person has made some commitment to. It is fluid in that it can change over times (perhaps over years) and would of course have a person living their choice. So, absolutely a person born a white male could identify, and live, as a back woman. But this is not an easy path. The chances of being murdered are much greater for a transgendered person than they are for a person fighting the most deadly war the earth has ever seen.

Of course, race and gender are social constructs. Even sex, which is a biological distinction, is also a continuum.

Race and Gender are genetic. They are not social constructs. Every single cell in your body carries your genetic code. Believing something you are not does not change that. Surgery does not change that. The way you behave is a social construct, and you can behave in a way that defies that construct, but that  does not change your genetic code. Ms. Jenner can have all types of surgery done, and still, any tissue sample you send to the lab will come back with the same result: white male.

I find it interesting that you believe that someone can only say they are transgender or transracial if they make a "commitment".  Based on whose standards? If you don't feel they have made enough of a commitment, then they are a fraud? And who's to say that they must "live their choice" for it to be real to them?  And why couldn't someone change their gender or racial identity on a daily basis? Why should time have to be a factor, and why do you claim that the path must be difficult?

You are certainly placing a lot of societal restrictions on a person. Or, are you saying that there is a "proper" way to become transgender or transracial, and if you don't do it "correctly", then you aren't really transgender or transracial?

If race is not a social construct what is it? If a person has a white parent and a black parent, what "race" are they? No, race does not exist except in your mind. Gender is similar, and is completely a social construct. Believing that you are a woman does indeed make you a woman. That, in fact, defines how trans people live.

The trans people I know have struggled with identifying with a gender, and have made a commitment to the other. This is often a horrible struggle, and not one that they would want to repeat.

But, I could see that one might be able to slide from one gender to another more easily, if one were in a supportive environment. You convinced me!

Your politically correct psycho-babble confuses me. While a blending of racial backgrounds certainly provides people with an ability to define themselves as mixed, or to lean in one or the other direction, your gender is your gender. You can surgically alter yourself, but you cannot change your genetics. In the same way, believing you are another species does not make it so.

But, back to the original question. Since there is no "rule" as to how you decide to self-identify, and you can "slide" back and forth, you would say that an entire corporation of white men could decide to identify as black women in order to qualify for federal funding as a diverse, minority-owned business, right?

I think so. But I also believe in the spirit of special support for those groups that are under-represented. So, I think the criteria would have to change for what is needed to get such help. It is not enough that one is a now a "black woman," but that one has lived a life as a "black woman." A lifetime (or more) of lost opportunity, and to make sure that it stops in this generation, is what we hope to correct for with such special programs.

This is how bad ideas and government over reach get started. Now the programs that were intended to help poor minorities will have to be modified and overseen by a bureaucrat who will determine the quality of their blackness, or their woman-ness. Are you really black enough to qualify for our program? Have you suffered enough to be eligible. Have you been (fill-in-the-blank) long enough that we feel you are deserving.

How about this instead: everybody is equal. No favoritism should be shown by the government to any individual over another. Poor people need temporary assistance, regardless of other variables. No other favoritism allowed. Now, go and convince young people to stay in school, avoid unwanted pregnancies, make smarter decisions, and take responsibilities for your own actions. That happens through education - and better education happens through charters, vouchers, and parental choice.

If you agree that your race and gender are "fluid", then all race-based or gender-based assistance is mute. 

Hey, you may have just hit on the plan to eliminate racism in this country, and start putting a dent in the debt at the same time. Any one can be any race or gender,  so there there really are no races or genders (which you have already argued is true), so we can eliminate all of the programs and agencies that deal with these issues.  Bravo!!

Remember, you just convinced me that it isn't your blackness, redness, or whiteness that one would measure, but one's need. That may be impossible to measure perfectly, but we have to try. Otherwise, we won't be able to make the country a just place to live.

You can't just proclaim everyone equal, and it would be so. We still have hundreds of years of institutionalized racism, let alone wealth that gets handed down on racial lines, to overcome. And we know that we all have implicit biases.

So, back to the general issue: I have no problem with anyone self-identifying with a specific race or gender. If that person tried to take advantage of an undeserved need, then I would have an issue with that. But I only have heard about Rachel Dolezal doing good. And Caitlyn Jenner doesn't seem to be doing anyone any harm.

You're still on a collision course with yourself. Now, you're making a judgement that the person can change their race or gender only if they do good. Who is going to be the judge of that standard?

Don't you see that if there is no race and no gender (or if you can change either at a whim), then you cannot have benefits based on race or gender?

At least we agree that one's needs should be the basis of aid. Whatever the past held,  the future of governmental programs should be based on quantifiable measures of need, and your color or gender shouldn't matter.

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