Why you should care
Because there’s little consensus here.
Last week we asked, “Is it more acceptable to be transgender than transracial?” You answered. Here are some reader responses and perspectives, with editing for clarity. Check back tomorrow for our next question. Every Wednesday, we’re shelving the PC to debate controversial hot topics in the lead-up to our next TV show, Third Rail With OZY, launching on PBS this fall.
I don’t really have a problem with transgender or transracial. Why would anyone? Live and let live and stop looking for excuses to hate. There is no reason to hate other people who have done absolutely nothing to harm you.
Acceptance is the key word. You can seldom hide being mixed race. Transgender can go unnoticed. Neither is a threat.
I believe that it depends on which part of the country one’s in. On the coasts and maybe a few Midwest metropolitan cities, being either is [not surprising]. However, in certain parts of the country, being transgender [will] get you killed, while being transracial is looked upon as being maybe disgusting, but accepted.
Donald Lee Burton
Either is OK with me. Being a good person is about being a good person, period.
It has always been my understanding that biologists, geneticists and anthropologists all agree that race is a social historical construct. That does not mean that it is individually mutable or easily changed.
In her piece, Professor Ellison does not develop the comparison between transracialism and transgenderism. I realize the limitations of the form, but transgender people have elected significant unalterable surgery, major drug regimes and extensive counseling to achieve the appearance of a gender different from that of their chromosomes. This would appear strongly distinguishable from the “fluidity” claimed by Dolezal. It would have been interesting for Professor Ellison to draw out the differences between Dolezal and the long practice of a small number of African-Americans to passant blanc (pardon my French). In my understanding, in most cases the person passing as white must cut off all ties to family and community to succeed in being accepted as white.
To answer your question from a South American angle, I live in an Andean country, where the first slaves were the native peoples. Two of my friends have decided to be Indian. They grew up mestizo — which means mixed — technically, having a French last name and being from North America, I surely am mestizo, having some indigenous ancestry mixed in there half a dozen generations ago …. and deciding to wear the native costume and self-identify as Ecuadorian First Nation race.
The one is a politician and has achieved great things for the indigenous people in the legislature, in lawmaking, as a national minister and as a leader. The other is my comadre (her son is our godson), and she is an educator, has also gotten her law degree in order to fight for her people and has run a school for indigenous children at the market, overcoming constant attacks and undermining to continue giving these poorest-of-the-poor children a superior quality bilingual education.
An Ecuadorian genealogist, when our national population was about 10 million (now over 14), said: “Ecuador has a population of 10 million mestizos, 6 million of whom consider themselves ’white’ and 4 million of whom consider themselves ’indigenous.’” And a genealogist should know! We’re all mixed ancestry, and these transrace ladies have chosen to address our racism problems from the more difficult side!
Transracial is not a thing.
(A) Transracial is more accepted than (B) Transgender. As my generation dies out, it (A) will become less and less important to people. (B) is a much newer and far less in the press. Christine Jorgensen was an “oddity” who caused sensational journalism in her time but soon faded to third- or fourth-page items.
If (B) is genetically determined, then this has to be publicized, just as the surgeon in California processed 28 individuals’ brains in a blind test. [In that test], if the brain part was large, the individual liked or was attracted to women; if it was small, they were attracted to men. Sexual physical body parts, male or female, were inconsequential in either case.
I have not read any statistics on what part of the population is transgender (B). I don’t know the breakdown by type or sex. I feel compassion for those who have to change their physicality to find peace.
If we can reference the Bible, these (A and B) have been part of the human race forever. Historical accounts from then till now recount the conditions and the preferences.